New data from Canada Post shows that people in this region are more likely than average to make online purchases.
E-commerce activity across Canada grew by 16% over the same period last year, but Canada Post reports that London and Windsor topped the list with 29% annual growth in e-commerce. Kitchener wasn’t far behind with 27% growth. Toronto grew by 25%. The complete chart is below.
This data means that more people than ever are looking for gift ideas online. So there’s never been a better time to think strategically about your brand’s exposure on Facebook.
It doesn’t matter if you sell goods online, at a box office, or in your store, Facebook is a great place to spend some time with customers building relationships that lead to sales. It’s one of the most effective methods for connecting with online shoppers.
I’ve been teaching Facebook for several years at Western University. Here are some of my best tips to help you create meaningful connections with your current customers and develop new ones.
I’ll start with some “big picture” ideas and move into tools and tips later.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that millennial moms are becoming a key target for e-commerce companies, and that the millennials are inclined to shop via mobile devices.
Backing up that data, Facebook predicts that during the fourth quarter, the percentage of online shoppers (US) who make purchases on mobile will grow 30%, but Canada’s higher-than-average mobile phone costs mean that mobile e-commerce isn’t growing quite as rapidly here.
Nevertheless, The Wall Street Journal report concludes that “for as much as mobile shopping is on the rise, many people still use mobile devices for research, but then complete purchases on desktops or in stores; Facebook found that mobile comes into play in some fashion in 45% of all shopping occasions.”
– What Are Your Best Customers Doing?
I love this advice from Jesse Stanchak, Community Manager, Microsoft UK:
“Ask yourself what your best customers — the people who support you all year round — are doing this month.
Forget about what you think the season and the holidays are about. Ask what your customers are focused on. No matter what their views on the season are, most people aren’t shy about sharing.
The one thing that unites most of humanity is that we’d all like to be just a little less busy, tired and stressed out. Think about how your fans are observing this season and then ask yourself how you can make the season just a little easier for them.”
Source – Inc. Online
– Second and Third Weeks of November
OfferPop looked at over 1,700 Facebook campaigns launched during the holiday season last year, tracking both the number of campaigns and fan participation.
Naturally the number of campaigns spikes between the first and second weeks of December. But the number of campaigns stays flat during the second and third weeks of November, while participation peaks.
This could be a prime opportunity to hit shoppers. The volume is still low, but the spike in participation indicates that shoppers are hunting for offers and deals in late November.
– Your Online Customers Provide Market Intelligence
Social Media Examiner’s 2014 industry report found that most marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans (72%) and gain marketplace
Be sure to ask your Facebook audience a question about their holiday experience. Something like “Have you ever purchased a Christmas gift online for friends & family living away and had it shipped directly to them?” could trigger the idea in a prospective customer.
It will also help you better understand your customers and then adjust your marketing messages accordingly. For example depending on the answer to the above question, consider a post stating “Free Christmas gift wrapping included with Christmas gifts.” It might distinguish you from a competitor.
Alternatively, “Would a ‘fancy dinner & show’ gift certificate be a good prize at the office party?” might generate some useful feedback.
– Use Canva To Create a Holiday Cover Photo
If you haven’t already used it, try the most simple tool for creating spectacular graphics: Canva.
I use Canva every day and taught it in my social media courses at Western University. One of my students said she saved so much time using Canva to create her graphics it was the most valuable thing she learned all year.
Canva provides easy to use templates, so creating a new holiday Facebook cover image, post or ad promoting your business is a breeze!
– Boosted Posts
For as little as $20 or $50 you can do a test run to see how Facebook users respond to your offer.
Boosted posts appear higher in the Facebook News Feed, so there’s a better chance your audience will see them. If you have a few great visuals to share, consider boosting a photo album post.
Here’s a post I boosted while doing some work with The Grand Theatre in London.
Note that there’s no call to action.
Instead it’s a simple post that helps humanize the theatre (more on Jay Baer’s concept of using social media to humanize your brand below).
It’s easy to boost any post on your timeline. All you need to do is click “Boost Post” in the lower right corner.
You’ll have the option to create an audience.
In this case I’m targeting women in Toronto, London and Kitchener, between the ages of 34-60. For $20 I can reach an estimated 2,500 – 6,600 people.
For a more specific target, click on “Edit – Create New Audience.”
Facebook wants the images on its site to be beautiful rather than ‘text-based’ product pitches. So you need to be aware of exactly how much text you can put on an image that you’re going to boost.
Let’s say you want to boost a Facebook post with a discount offer. In my case it was show tickets.
Since Facebook says you can only have 20% text in a graphic, use the Facebook grid tool to test your images before uploading them.
The image below had too much text and wasn’t approved.
So I had to reduce the amount of text, which I did by eliminating some of the branding and review copy. I added a black footer with the details.
Below Facebook’s grid tool was used to ensure the graphic met the 20% text guideline.
Notice that when I published the image on my timeline I used the regular timeline text area to describe the features and benefits of the discount.
Facebook says the text limit is 20% but I’ve published boosted ads with 28% text for my clients. There’s no harm in trying for a bit more than 20% because if Facebook rejects your ad you can recreate it, using Canva, and try the grid tool again.
– Humanize Your Business
In their 2011 bestselling book “The Now Revolution,” Jay Baer & Amber Naslund recommended that your online profile should reveal something about the human side of your business.
Everyone enjoys getting a glimpse behind the scenes.
So be sure to post a few photos of people in your business preparing, celebrating or honoring their holiday traditions. Remember, it’s the people and personalities behind your business that make it unique!
This is also a great time to showcase any charitable activities your company might participate in.
– Facebook’s Holiday Guide
Marketers with more experience on Facebook will benefit from Facebook’s Holiday Best Practices Guide
by Keith Tomasek
Keith Tomasek is a media strategist.
He has taught digital media at universities in Canada and The United Arab Emirates. In May 2015 he spoke about social media at the Arts Reach conference in Toronto. In January he’s speaking at INTIX, the International Ticketing Association‘s annual conference.