By Thomas Kim / Product Manager, Social Technologies, Rio SEO

We all know that seasons are cyclic. To many, the holiday season begins after Halloween and ends after New Year’s Day. However, marketers see cycles within that cycle. And for social media marketers, they too see specific cyclic patterns of social activity – it’s an Inception of cycles!

According to a report by Accenture that analyzed social media tactics for consumer engagement, as well as a related blog post by eConsultancy, it’s clear that there are points throughout the holiday period where you can and should be able to maximize a return on your social media marketing efforts.

Social Media Holidays

There are essentially three peaks of social media activity during the holiday season:

  • Thanksgiving (which includes Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and this year Hanukkah),
  • Christmas (immediately followed by Kwanzaa), and
  • New Years.

social media holidaysAlthough each of the peaks fall within the same holiday season, and they share similar aspects with respect to marketing, there are going to be distinct differences in terms of what is actually driving the increases in social media activity and opportunity.

For instance, as we approach the Thanksgiving weekend, we see a peak in activity between families and friends. They may be traveling for family get-togethers, sharing recipes and images of wonderful meals that will be prepped, and the ridiculous, crazy deals that will be had during the Black Friday and Cyber Saturday/Sunday/Monday weekend.

As we come into Christmas, again we see a lot of social media activity around being with family and friends. However, we also see a surge in activity with discussions over the new gifts we’ve received (or that need to be returned!).

And as we close out the holiday season with the approach to New Year’s Day, we see peaks in activity surrounding retrospectives, along with content buzzing about crazy parties and celebrations to usher in the New Year.

Take a look at Econsultancy’s Five Do’s of the Holiday Season Social Strategy:

  1. Remember the holiday season has three social media traffic peaks.
  2. Running campaigns with a holiday theme is a clear winner.
  3. Don’t ignore the value of having a two-way dialogue.
  4. Retain consumer interest with a variety of relevant content.
  5. Work to engage with target audiences, not everyone.

Points 4 and 5 are key. They scream of good marketing that just makes sense. Know who you’re marketing to, and give them what they want.  If we consider the differences at play in driving social media activity during these three distinct peaks of social and commercial periods, it makes a lot of sense to take into account the nature of content that’s being shared.

Take advantage of the incredible increase in commercial momentum in the retail space coupled with an inherently high social period of the year, and sprinkle in the knowledge of smarter content and sharing technology and you have the makings of solidifying high returns in consumer engagement marketing this holiday season.