3 Steps for Planning a Successful Holiday Social Media Strategy

Social media is hustle personified. There is always something to do, some trend to incorporate into your copy and some comment to respond to online. It’s so busy that sometimes the idea of planning for tomorrow can make you want to burst into panicked laughter, let alone the thought of planning months in advance. You may find yourself wondering, “How can I possibly get ahead when I’m not sure how to handle everything on my plate today?”

So, sometimes we social media managers fall into the habit of taking our jobs one day at a time. This can work for a little while until things get more crazy, like during the holiday season. Then you can find yourself putting in 11-12-hour days, rushing around like mad to get all the extra assets to your clients. And then you basically turning into a caffeine-binging, carb-hoarding stress monster (I just might be speaking from personal experience…).

My experiences with the holiday seasons of years past have taught me that a little extra effort in the months before the season hits can greatly minimize stress later on and will enable you to continue to provide high-quality work to your clients in spite of the busyness. Here are some ideas to consider as you plan out your end-of-the-year social media efforts.

Jack-o-Lanterns, Candy Corn and Holiday Planning Sessions

You know [tweet text=”What goes great with a #PumpkinSpice cookie? #SocialMedia holiday planning sessions” link=”http://bit.ly/2ejplkD”]what goes great with a pumpkin spice cookie? Holiday planning sessions.[/tweet]

If you’re a social media strategist at an agency, plan a time to sit down with each of your clients by early October to start the process of planning the holiday season. If you’re in-house, you can do this same exercise with your internal marketing team. Discuss the business objectives your clients would like to meet with each holiday’s messaging, starting with Halloween and running through New Year’s Day.

Remember — this is a kickoff meeting, so you don’t have to nail down the specifics yet, just the overarching goals, which should be as simple as, “We want to promote this new golf club with people in this target demographic with a campaign that lasts from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day.” Once you know what your client is hoping to accomplish with their holiday messaging, it’s time to pow-wow with your internal team to brainstorm creative solutions for those needs.

Hammer Out the Details

After giving your team some dedicated time to ponder creative ideas, set aside a solid amount of time to brainstorm two to three creative solutions for each holiday. You might consider scheduling a series of short meetings over several days, so that the energy doesn’t stagnate in one long meeting.
As you discuss your creative solutions, organize each individual holiday into a creative brief, spelling out the following in careful detail:

  1. The business objective: the need or goal the client expressed for that holiday
  2. Social concepts: provide two to three rough visual ideas
  3. List all assets each concept would require, including things like social ads, retargeting ads and organic post creative

Once you’ve developed various creative solutions, get back together with each of your clients and discuss your ideas. In this second meeting, try to hammer out as many specific details as possible. This will help prevent unnecessary revisions as the creative team begins the process of bringing those approved concepts to life.

Wherefore Art Thou, Content Calendar?

We all know we should have up-to-date content calendars. If perchance yours has fallen by the wayside, now is an excellent time to get it back up to snuff.

Enter all important dates for each holiday on this content calendar. Here is my system:

  • One due date for copy
  • Another date for the first look (at least 3-4 days later)
  • Finally, a due date for the final product (usually a week later)

Feast your eyes on a modified (for client privacy) content calendar of mine from earlier this month (I assure you—the full view of the calendar is an OCD dream):

Chelsea Blog Embed Image

Make sure your bases are covered for people going out of town for the holidays. Consider making the final due date at least two weeks out from the posting date. That way you don’t have to interrupt anyone’s plans with last-minute alterations.

The holidays will always be busy. But with this framework in place, you’ll have the tools you need to avoid stress and produce quality work for your clients in spite of the craziness. Good luck in the trenches!