Days are getting shorter, nights are getting longer. Candy Canes and Christmas cookies are already stacked up in stores. The most wonderful time of the year is approaching once again - and the most profitable as well. Just under one-fifth of total retail sales in Germany comes from Christmas business. A carefully planned online marketing campaign for the holidays not only increases sales in the weeks before Christmas, but also helps build up customer loyalty and create additional reach.

Why it’s about time you get your Christmas campaign going

Of course, there’s always those who are running through the city center in panic on the morning of December 24, desperately looking for the last missing presents. A large part of Germans, however, is well-organized when it comes to Christmas shopping. According to surveys, more than half of the Christmas gifts in Germany are already bought by the end of the first two weeks of December. One of the reasons for this being newly established shopping events such as Black Friday, this year on November 30th, and Cyber Monday on December 2nd. Consequently, it only makes sense to get your holiday marketing on track beforehand.

Boost Brand Loyalty With Your Christmas Campaign

The time of Advent offers countless opportunities for beautiful photos. Whether it’s in the lavishly decorated living room, in the flour-covered kitchen during a baking session or covered in scarf and hat out in the snowy forest, the possibilities a sheer endless. So what could be more obvious than to challenge the creativity of your Instagram community and ask them to present your product in all kinds of varieties as part of a Christmas campaign?

A prime example of this is served by the American outdoor brand L.L. Bean. In 2017, the brand launched a Christmas campaign under the hashtag  #12daysofpuppies, asking customers to share images of their dogs with L.L. Bean products. Based on the American tradition of the 12 Days of Christmas, a winner was picked every day and presented with gift cards. In addition, L.L. Bean shared the winning photo on each of the twelve days via the Brand Account on Instagram.

Source: Instagram Source: Instagram

Campaigns like this place the focus on customers, convey direct appreciation and make brands more approachable. In many cases this has a positive effect on customer loyalty in the long run. In fact, lack of appreciation ranks number one among the reasons customers choose to avoid a product or service. After a negative experience, 77% of consumers would not recommend a brand or service. However, after a positive experience, a strong 89% say they would recommend a product or service to friends and acquaintances. Interacting with User Generated Content from the community like  American outdoor brand L.L. Beans does, is a simple but effective way to create a positive customer experience and strengthen customer loyalty.

Attract New Customers With Your Christmas Campaign

In addition to being a great tool for interacting with existing customers, social media campaigns are also a profitable way to reach new customers. Especially campaigns that ask users to share their own content with a specific hashtag create authentic impressions and generate reach beyond a brand's own channels. With each customer post, the brand itself, as well as individual products, are being presented to the respective followers and thus also to users who have not yet become aware of the brand themselves.

The big advantage of User Generated Content (UGC) is that it’s authentic and allows products or services to be displayed in action. While classic product images on brand websites or campaign shots from a single photoshoot are often static and impersonal, UGC provides versatile impressions and consequently a high potential for identification to new customers.

In recent years, Christmas shopping has increasingly relocated to the Internet. In surveys, 47% of consumers say they mainly search for inspiration and ideas for Christmas gifts online. However, the biggest disadvantage that many people see in online shopping is that it's sometimes difficult to clearly define aspects such as size, fit, color, or quality of a product. Especially when it comes to the often stressful and hectic Christmas shopping, effectively integrated User Generated Content can be of great help in this regard and might ultimately evoke the final buying impulse.

Source: Paul Hewitt

Product-specific galleries in an online shop, filled with User Generated Content, make it possible to present one and the same product in a great variety of combinations and in connection with many different customers. Thereby, content created by other customers in a way takes the place of strolling through a store when it comes to online shopping. While this form of inspiration is not perceived first-hand, the impressions and opinions of other customers still provide social proof, which conveys trust and security on new customers. It does  not even matter that this content actually comes from strangers. Surveys show that 68% of consumers believe customer reviews online to be credible. Only 48%, however, trust the content of classic online ads.

squarelovin’s UGC tool helps brands collect customer images based on mentions, hashtags or geo-locations, filter them according to individual preferences, legally secure their use and place the content on all relevant marketing channels. For each image and video essential usage rights are requested individually in accordance with data protection law. The effective integration of User Generated Content strengthens customer loyalty and significantly improves the performance of websites and web shops.

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