Today’s post is by Mike Schmidt, Founder and CEO of Anchor Wave.

In 2013, holiday retail sales neared $6 billion dollars. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but the holiday shopping season is already in full swing. In fact, many marketers began sending out holiday promotions on or before Halloween!

Each year, more and more consumers turn to social networks like Facebook to spot holiday offers and share information around gift purchases. According to Crowdtap, consumers use Facebook during the holiday shopping season in the following ways:

-39.3% have been influenced by Facebook when buying a gift.
-64.8% use social media to find the right gift.
-66.4% tell friends about holiday deals on Facebook.

So how can your organization use Facebook to tap into the holiday shopping trend? Below are a few holiday promotion ideas to consider:

1. Give Away A Big Ticket Item

Recent changes to Facebook’s contest rules have made it easier than ever to run a giveaway promotion. Now you can run contests right on your business timeline and collect entries seamlessly when someone likes your page or post. You can even put a little budget behind a contest to reach a wider network of users. When choosing a holiday prize, consider a product that’s directly tied to or manufactured by your business. This is a great way to generate positive buzz and exposure for a product. Or, you can give away a hot holiday item like a new iPad Air or even a luxurious vacation. Whatever you decide to offer, be sure your contest has a focused call-to-action and goal.

2. Share Helpful Holiday Content

Increase likes and traffic to your Facebook page and website with holiday-themed content that helps users solve a problem or streamline their planning. You can post the content on your website or blog and drive traffic to it from Facebook. Since every business or organization is different, there are many ways to come up with helpful tips and guides. Just remember that audiences love numbered lists, slideshows, and visuals. Here are a few examples:

-Create a list of local charity organizations with links for how to donate.
-Post a gift-guide related to your industry or target audience. Include photos and links.
-Share holiday recipes. Bonus points if they are real recipes that you or your employees cook with each year!
-Publish a top 10 list with tips for staying healthy and minimizing stress during the winter holidays.
-Generate local goodwill by writing about local businesses offering holiday sales or promotions.
-Make a shared Spotify holiday playlist that people can use to entertain guests.

3. Get Cause-Worthy

The holiday season is a wonderful time to give back. Raising funds for a good cause will let customers know that your business cares. Use a Facebook app like Giving or FundRazr to help raise funds for a favorite organization or cause. You can set up an application so that for every “like” your post receives, one dollar will be donated to the dedicated organization. Another way to promote a cause during the holidays is to donate a percentage of every sale to a good cause. You can promote this type of charitable offering using Facebook promoted posts or ads. Donating a portion of sales to a cause can increase your overall conversion rate.

What is your Facebook strategy for the holiday shopping season? Please share your tips in the comments below.

Mike SchmidtMike Schmidt is the Founder and CEO of Anchor Wave, a Tucson, Arizona internet marketing and web design agency. Anchor Wave helps hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses to build websites and realize greater ROI through social media, SEO, and online marketing.

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