By Saurabh Rawat

The biggest holiday weekend of the year is around the corner. As e-commerce giants and small e-commerce businesses are geared up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the online industry will see a surge in discounts, exclusive sales and promotions. Holiday promotions now have their own special days, but these can be quite challenging for business owners. Facebook rules the social media world and if you want to secure sales in the upcoming holiday season, this social media platform has the most robust targeting options and advertising suite.

As social media continues to catch on and online users expand, Facebook becomes essential for a successful holiday season marketing campaign. Here to take the work out of your Facebook marketing campaigns for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we offer 12 amazing Facebook marketing tips that will boost sales and target the audience in new and exciting ways.

1. Focus on Cyber Week: See the Complete Picture

Retail brands need to understand that Black Friday is passé. Now it’s all about the focus on the entire Cyber Week. Long-term promotions on Facebook can yield social media dividends, rather than running specials on only Black Friday or Cuber Monday. Starting promotions early, focusing on Cyber Week and adding more panache to the ad campaigns on Facebook works like a charm. This ensures campaigns are properly planned in advance to avoid unexpected issues. Getting back to the basics ensures Facebook marketing works for your brand. Rather than just testing new audiences during peak seasons, retailers advise identifying top performing audiences and focussing on them, too.

2. Identify Key Marketing Goals: Know Where You’re Headed

Author Lewis Carroll once remarked that if you do not know where you are headed, any path is good enough. But reaching the destination is an altogether different matter! When it comes to the sales you want to attain this Cyber Week, tune in to customers to set realistic goals for the Thanksgiving rush. Consider the analytics to design marketing campaigns that yield maximum dividends, in terms of conversion rates, and knowing what to post when.

Online sales rose by 11.3% in the previous holiday season, according to CNBC. Cashing in on holiday shopping sprees involves branding your Facebook Page so that it tells a compelling story. Study Facebook insights to see which pages get the most clicks, shares, likes and comments? What is the time when posts are most effective? Use Facebook page insights to find out what works for you.

3. Gathering Your Followers: The More, The Merrier

Facebook is home to the highest average order value across social networking channels. With the greatest buying power, customers on this platform are more likely to be influenced to make the purchase. So garnering a positive fan following is a must. Cost efficient strategies to build your presence on this social media channel include creating valuable statuses and tweets to drive fans to Facebook. Apart from social media cross promotion, lead generation tools for the eCommerce business are a must

4. Let Your Page Speak for Itself: Why Is It a Big Deal?

Holiday seasons are the time when your Facebook page should look attractive. Now is the time for that new Facebook cover image. This is because it is quite literally the first thing people see in your Facebook campaign. It’s also where the built-in call to action button is located. Ensure the cover image is clean and the theme reflects the deal being offered. The right vibes are critical. Engaging posts, attractive graphics and a long range of products are not the only ingredients. The recipe for success also lies in cutting down on loading times and pruning out the unnecessary aspects of the web store.

5. Plan Holiday Marketing: Creating a Content Calendar

If you are looking to increase sales this holiday season, you need to study the content calendar in light of the key dates. Don’t limit yourself to just Black Friday or Cyber Monday though. Make sure you consider Small Business Saturday, too. Be one of the first marketing campaigns to unleash in the season when it comes to capturing the holiday mood. Play off all the holidays and be memorable, by creating content that is creative, tested, scheduled. Good timing is equally important.

6. Stress on Strong Visual Elements: When a Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

While planning your marketing campaign, remember that FB is a visual platform. Therefore, you should utilize videos, images and animated GIFs to attract attention. News feeds will reflect holiday content more and more as Black Friday approaches. Use your visual content to stand out in the crowd.

7. Optimize for Instant Gratification: Why Convenience Counts

Services like same-day delivery, one-click checkout or direct selling on Facebook can kickstart your marketing campaign. This is because customers want online shopping to be simple and convenient. From click and collect options to integrated marketing, it’s all about tapping into your audience when they are receptive. Building up and integrate channels to ensure consistent messaging and reminders to make the purchase.

For this, you need to incentivize existing audiences to use promos and offers and refer more customers. New users spend more cash, but they are also difficult to convert. Conversion rates are estimated at 3 percent for fresh audiences as against typical rate of 7 percent, simply because the motive is sales price, not brand loyalty. So, you need to personalize your Facebook marketing BFCM campaign to suit the different types of users from offering incentives to stay to engaging customers in the first place.

Don’t see BFCM as a single weekend. Instead, see it as a chance to build a sales funnel for the products over the long term, boosted by holiday frenzy. Stay within the reach of loyal customers during the holiday whirlwind. Your content needs to educate users about the value offered as soon as the marketing campaign is launched.

From the welcome message to curated Facebook pages, you need to nudge those looking to buy to actually make the purchase.

8. Focusing on Customer Experience: The Important Differentiator

Come Black Friday or Cyber Monday, your Facebook marketing campaign needs to focus on the customer’s experience with the brand. The holiday season offers a chance to showcase unique selling propositions and ensure you don’t get lost in the shuffle. Build excitement around your products and services in not just days, but weeks leading to the sales. The result? Your customers will be more likely to recall and recognize your brand value. Get customers to post about what they purchase. Generate more excitement with a countdown clock. Leverage the holiday season using new and innovative tactics.

9. Make Content Interactive: Sharing Means Caring

Consider e-commerce company Overstock’s unique Facebook strategy. The firm launched a competition for a USD 50 gift card. While offering this, it encouraged buyers to talk about what they would purchase if they won the gift card. This post generates over 3 thousand interactions and 5 hundred shares.

Another way to share and create a purposeful call to action is to notch up engagement levels. Consider American retailer Gilt which offered varying discount codes for various products 5 days before Black Friday. This prompted many to follow their FB page and purchase cut price goods. Additionally, the retailer included a direct link to the site to make the consumer purchase decision journey easier.

10. Focus on the Holiday Spirit: A Unique Approach Makes Products Sell

Your Facebook marketing strategy needs to focus on an original approach to BFCM. Consider Sony Play Station which focused on reminding shoppers to stay safe during the holiday season and announced its upcoming sales. Their unique approach to Black Friday marketing earned them 14 thousand interactions with just these two posts!

Leveraging different content formats like Facebook video or GIFs can make your marketing campaign stand out and increase engagement. So can a unique and different focus from the crowd, which tries to sell discounted goods, instead of really cashing in on the holiday spirit.

11. Tag Your Posts: Harness the Hashtag’s Power

When marketing for BFCM, you need to use focused hashtags along with regular ones. For example, you may use special hashtags like #blackfriday2017, #cybermondaysale and #blackfridaydeals. This enables customers looking for a steal deal to find you. If you are selling products across a wide audience, focus on connecting emotionally through the hashtag, apart from content that evokes sentiments and makes people relate to your brand better.

12. Go Live: Consider a Facebook Live Video or Event

With growing popularity of Facebook’s Live video broadcast feature, you can host a customer appreciation party or a virtual sales celebration through Facebook Live. Generate an event on the business page and invite fans and followers to share it. Facebook is launching an international ad campaign for its Live Video feature everywhere. Celebs and media outlets are high on Facebook Live. So, if you want to join the holiday fun and capitalize on it too, the best option is Facebook Live marketing that energizes your brand and revitalizes your sales.