With Halloween, Bonfire Night, the Rugby World Cup, and of course Christmas itself, Q4 is spoiled for big cultural events. The peak of the retail year puts tremendous pressure on content marketers to deliver that elusive piece of viral content that will keep their brand front-of-mind when consumers hit the shelves. But we’ve seen enough misfiring seasonal social-content campaigns to know that this pressure can translate into messy and inconsistent seasonal content output.
Retail marketers need to be thinking like project managers to navigate the risk of content clashes and discordant messaging across Q4. This isn’t just about having a cultural calendar of events and planning out a themed tweet, blog post or video for each one. In fact, the problem of mixed messages often stems from exactly this box-ticking approach, without brands having answered the essential questions of authority and relevance.
How do we start bringing this back under control? As is so often the case, the answer lies in the data. Brands must drill down into their social analytics and demographic trends to discover the Q4 events and micro-moments that resonate with their audiences. There are a lot of these, and they are far from universal. Knowing, for example, that women on average begin their Christmas shopping earlier than men may inform when female-focused retail brands choose to ‘switch on’ their Christmas content stream (Facebook Christmas Readiness Report, Oct 2015), but then we also need to build the appropriate lenses on top of that to ensure that each subsegment receives the right type of message for that moment.
It’s a demanding piece of work, but taking the time to identify the resonant events (and their specific triggers) for their audiences will help prevent brands stumbling from event to event and theme to theme like a reindeer that’s been at the brandy butter.
Once brands understand the dates that actually matter to their customers, it is possible to systematically map out and prioritise multivariate content streams, deciding how much time and resource is to be allocated. Like a well-planned Christmas dinner, social content success requires understanding your audience’s tastes, careful planning, and perfect timing.
To find out how you can drive digital performance over the Christmas period read our POV on 'Digital Mastery For A Multi-Channel Christmas'.