By Caitlin Brennan

November 22nd, 2016

It’s a question that has bedeviled children for centuries: how will I know what will be under the tree on Christmas morning? If you’re an online retailer, you’ve solved this mystery, or at least part of it: fail to make a big splash on Cyber Monday and you’ll surely get a lump of coal. Alternately, follow these proven plans for Cyber Monday social media campaigns and your stockings will be stuffed with success!

Make sure you have enough elves in your workshop
The first Monday after Thanksgiving is more than just the best leftovers you’ll have for lunch all year, they are a crucial inflection point in any retailer’s season. In 2015, Cyber Monday was the largest e-commerce sales day ever, with a whopping $3 billion plus in sales. Adobe Digital Insights forecast a 9.4% growth in sales over last year. All those customers need service and support. Amazon is increasing its seasonal customer fulfillment and customer service workforce by 120,000 people, a 20% increase from last year.

All those orders come with the usual tracking problems, mistaken cart additions and product questions you get all year, only on a massive scale. Traditional customer service is taxed to the limit. Now that more people expect to get their questions answered on social media brand pages, social media managers need to pitch in. If that means asking for more resources to respond to more traffic, think ahead and staff accordingly.

A chance to win … free advertising
Who doesn’t like getting something for free? 

Online lighting and decor company Bellacor is offering the chance to win a $500 Cyber Monday shopping spree in exchange for your email address. Hopefuls can enter by clicking on the link in the tweet, which leads to the entry form.

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This ingenious entry form is a marketer’s dream. The more social channels an entrant follows, the more chances to win. The $500 prize is a small cost for tremendous advertising reach. Each tweet earns an entrant a bonus entry, which is essentially free advertising for Bellacor. Each channel an entrant joins is an opportunity for Bellacor to further deliver their content. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Serve searching shoppers seeking scarce stuff
Hatchimals are the hottest kid’s toys this holiday season. Even if your kids are on the top of Santa’s Nice List, it will be a challenge getting a Hatchimal into their well-behaved hands. Like the Tickle Me Elmo of yesteryear, Hatchimals are sold out far in advance.

Imagine this holiday scene: while snow softly falls outside, super dad Tom frantically scours the internet hoping to buy a Hatchimal, perhaps even at a Cyber Monday sale price. No such luck top dad Tom! Before he can totally despair, an ad for American Eagle catches the Tom’s attention. That’s right, he thinks, only the youngest child wants a Hatchimal, but what about his tween twins?

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How did that American Eagle ad get there? AE must have bid on the keyword “Cyber Monday.” We can’t be sure if AE employed a trend-jacking strategy by hopping on “Hatchimals,” hysteria either way, this example demonstrates the different audiences you can reach with paid search advertising. In this scenario, the ad is effective because it reached an audience looking for Cyber Monday deals in real-time. However, not every Cyber Monday shopper is looking for clothes, which emphasizes the importance of knowing your audience. The better you know your audience, the better you can tailor ads to their interests and needs.

Time to pull out all the stops
Most consumers will wake up to an inbox full of can’t-be-beat offers from every place they’ve given their email address in the last decade. Maybe free shipping just won’t do it. In 2014, Amazon broke through the noise by introducing a “stunt feature,” called #amazoncart. Sure, tweeting a hashtag to add an item to your shopping cart didn’t prove to be the future of e-commerce, but does that matter? The hashtag caught fire and it got people talking.

Do you have something a little “out there” cooking up? Has your art department played with some unusual ideas? Consider going for broke with this year’s Cyber Monday social campaign. People already have their wallets out on Cyber Monday – just go out there and capture those eyeballs.

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