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How You Should be Prepping for Christmas

Here is a scary stat for you: it's 18 days until Xmas!

Yes, it's true. It shocked us too! We're in the teens now and half the office still hasn't done their family Christmas shopping yet, let alone shopping for the office. Saying that, Brad did get himself a new pair of kicks from THE ICONIC! Nice for some...

With the holidays quickly approaching, the likelihood is you're either looking to get away or looking to switch off. If you're like us, this week we're setting up our final blogs and looking to get some old websites done. Next week, a few of us are off to Australia for an end of year wrap up with clients, then we're pretty much done until February! The good news is, we've planned how we'll remain active for our clients and our audience well in advance. 

We thought we'd share with you some tips on how this was done so you can truly switch off while diving into Mum's yummy Pavlova and Chicken Roast!

Schedule Your Life Away!

Scheduling a post every few days all the way over the holiday periods is what you should be concentrating on over the next week or so. All the biggest brands (and your competitors) will be doing this!

By scheduling posts across your social media, you're not only keeping on top of your consistent presence, you're also reaching out to your audience without even being there. In other words:

  • You can wish people a Merry Christmas without having to sit at your own computer on the day!
  • You can get people excited about your products & remind of discounts all the way up until you're back in the office. 
  • Get one up on everyone by researching now on what they'll be talking about in 2 weeks.

No matter what you do, a plan with a decent scheduling tool is going to make you look great and won't need you to be there while it works for you. 

Who We Recommend

If you're new to scheduling social media posts, there are a few places to start that we've all used in the past. Here are our recommendations...

We've been using Jarvee for a few months now and hands down, this tool trumps them all. It's still new to the market and a lot of social media experts still don't know about it or use it. Luckily for us, it came up in a conversation on Quora.

The thing that makes Jarvee unique is it's human element and it's drive to take away as much work from you as possible while keeping it less robotic. It's very powerful and because it's young, has a lot more to offer. 

Being a desktop tool, this is something you download onto your laptop and work on personally. It's not a tool that you'd jump on through a link and send out a quick tweet (which can be a bad thing), but it is one that after some learning will completely revolutionize your social media marketing. 

Some of it's features are:

  • Post Scheduling
  • Instagram Automation (which no other tool does as good)
  • Facebook Automation
  • Twitter Automation
  • Google+ Automation
  • Pinterest Automation (so awesome!)
  • LinkedIn Automation (it's able to have you appear on people's profile views without you having to do it - this promotes more views back on yours)

The more technical stuff involves importing content via RSS, you can publish unique posts at specific times to the busy periods. You can research via their scraping tools on trending topics and auto-hashtag key words in your post. That's not to mention the vast reporting and metrics it provides! 

"Cool, but how much is this going to cost me?"

Good question, starting at $19.95 per month, is not the cheapest! The version we use at $49.95 covers most of our clients platforms plus our own nicely. When you start putting this together and the return it could achieve for you, it's definitely worth it!

You've probably heard of Buffer or at least seen it in your favorite posts without even knowing it. 

Buffer is probably one of the most used sharing and scheduling tools out there and rightly so. They have perfected their brand and their mission with easy to use, affordable options for almost any business. We still use Buffer even alongside Jarvee, simply because it's so easy! 

They pride themselves on the simplicity they provide, and there is nothing to argue with there. With a set up time of around 12 minutes, you'll have a dashboard that can be downloaded as an app on your phone and desktop/browser app to use as well. Once you've set up your times you'd like to post, accounts and all the small bits in between (like how many team members you'll have), you're ready to go. 

You can post immediately or schedule them. Any large links are shortened into the Buffer links which is handy! It will also help let you know how many characters you've got left on a tweet, preview the images and offer thumbnails from your videos. 

Analyzing the performance of your content is very important. Knowing what you're looking for (if you're knew to it) is tough without training. Buffer has perfected the simplicity and right data to view. 

Pricing for Buffer

If you're a one man band, you can have Buffer for free - we kid you not!

Up from there is the 'awesome package' of $10. Much cheaper than Jarvee but you're limited to 100 posts per account and only 10 social accounts to use...which is probably enough?

The packages then jump to $99, $199, $399 if you're a larger organisation. 

Again, not bad for what it achieves! 

Hootsuite isn't far off Buffer, but it's even more simple really and still seems to have a few tweeks to make (which they may have already done since we were last on it).

The thing that is good about Hootsuite is it's dashboard and how you can organise it to see other people's tweets and posts how you'd like. Although this can get complicated if you don't manage it well, it's also very handy to remain on top of competitors. 

Reply with a single click is a great feature that allows you to interact with your audience in real time. Although you'll likely get these notifications, it's good to have all in one place and report on it. 

Some of their features include:

  • Scheduling unlimited messages across all networks
  • Engage with customers
  • Analytics to improve ROI
  • Collaboration with team members
  • Great security (which the others don't mention much)
  • Listening: track what others are saying about you

With 16 million users on Hootsuite, it knows what it's doing!

Our one issue is it's limited abilities compared to Jarvee and Buffer, yet it still starts at $19 per month. A team account jumps to $99 with only 3 users. To us, that seems like too large of a jump for some businesses. 

Getting ready

Once you've picked your tool, it's time to start scheduling. But where do you start with content? How do you plan it out? Here is our quick step by step on building a content schedule for Christmas:

Understand your audience and what they'll be doing

If they're mostly B2B customers who work in an office, chances are they will not care about work related content. However, maybe they want some personal development tips and tricks?

If they're retail, heavily consider your promo codes and offers that relate to what they're currently doing. Add images and hashtags that get them excited.

Don't over do it

You've got about 2 months max to cover here before you're back into it for 2018. However, a few posts a week is enough to maintain consistency and responses. Two a day can get too much to organise unless you have a team working with you.

Those posts also don't need to be huge blogs and Photo-shopped images, just a comment or a picture of your Xmas party is enough to get reaction and prove you're real people! 

Write down your ideas

Get on a whiteboard or a big bit of paper with your perfect customer, who is she/he? OK, jot the name down. What are they doing this time of year and who with? OK, you've got something to relate to. How could you make their holidays even better? That's your first 'campaign/topic'.

Do this a few times and you'll produce enough ideas around content to easily create engaging and relevant posts. 

Put aside time to build them

Don't do them over a few days, try and create those ideas, put some time aside and work hard on getting them right. Make it fun though, you're creating something from nothing (great Foo Fighter song there). 

However you go, make sure it doesn't stress you out. These tools are here to make your life easy over periods like this, so enjoy them and enjoy your time off. 

If you need any help, give us a bell! 


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