The holidays are just around the corner, which typically translates into the busiest time of the year for many companies. In years past, businesses had only newspaper ads and in-store marketing to inform customers of their holiday specials and deals. However, the world of social media is now making it easier than ever for companies to effectively brand themselves to both boost their customer base and holiday sales. If your business is depending upon the holiday shopping season to increase revenue, read the following tips for maximizing your brand presence during the upcoming months.

1.Determine your strategy. Before your company begins Facebooking and tweeting about those great holiday specials, consider what you want to achieve this holiday season. What’s your target number for sales? What social media channels do you intend to utilize to get the word out on your holiday deals? How will you integrate these social media channels to present a cohesive branding campaign? Once you figure out these factors, you can draw up a plan based around them.

For many companies, deciding by how much they would like to increase their revenue over the holiday season in turn determines the types of specials they will promote. Choosing the appropriate social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and your company blog, allows businesses to draw up a branding strategy that makes the most of each outlet and averts overlooking other viable social media marketing opportunities.

2.Start early. Though Black Friday is considered the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, a large number of individuals begin their buying well before Thanksgiving week. To make sure that prospective customers are aware of your holiday deals and what they need to do to take advantage of them, be sure to start your holiday branding campaign as early as possible. Moreover, the initial social media blast that informs customers of your holiday specials often sets the tone for the rest of the season, so make sure your initial efforts are clear and coordinated. Include all your social media channels at the same time on the same day to effect a fully synthesized branding strategy.

3.Don’t focus solely on sales. Though you want your customers to be aware of how they can get the best deals during the holidays, you don’t want to overwhelm them with constant tweets and Facebook updates about what you’re selling. Instead, get creative with your social media branding. Tweet well known quotes about the holidays. Upload pictures to your Facebook page that show iconic holiday images. Share holiday recipes on your company’s blog. The more diverse your social media branding, the more likely that your customers will want to continue following your Twitter feed and reading your Facebook updates.

4.Involve your customers. What many companies often overlook during the holiday season is getting their customers involved in their social media branding campaign. Rather than simply notifying your client base of your great holiday deals, promote special giveaways that are dependent upon customer participation. Create a Facebook contest that offers an online-only freebie to the person who posts the picture with the worst holiday sweater. Have a Twitter deal that asks followers to list their favorite holiday memories for a special coupon code. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that it’s both fun and worthwhile to customers to participate.

5. Give back to the community. The holidays aren?t only for buying. They’re also the perfect time of year to reflect upon our prosperity and to help those who have not been as fortunate over the past year. Therefore, be sure to incorporate into your holiday branding campaign an element that gives back to the community. If you have a clothing company, donate sweaters or shoes to those in need. If you sell gourmet foods, give to a nearby food bank.

Additionally, you can once again include your customers in your efforts. Promote a holiday deal that offers to give a predetermined portion of sales to your charity of choice. That way your customers can enjoy having an active role in helping the greater community. Lastly, don’t forget to follow up with your Twitter followers and Facebook fans to inform them of how integral their purchases have been toward providing money or goods toward your designated nonprofit. Putting a monetary number on your efforts is the most effective way to demonstrate how successful this part of your branding campaign has been.