Think it’s too early to start talking about the upcoming back-to-school season? Hate to break it to you, but you’re on the wrong side of this academic debate: 19% of consumers start planning their back-to-school shopping in early July, less than two months from now.
If your brand wants to win their share of the $83.6 billion back-to-school market, now’s the time to launch your back-to-school social amplification program (read advocacy marketing) and create the content you’ll need to support those efforts.
(Side note – if you haven’t already, now’s a good time to check out our guide to using advocacy marketing to support your back-to-school marketing efforts.)
Why Is Social Media So Important To Back-to-School Shopping?
71% of shoppers say they are more likely to complete a purchase based on a social media referral. What you publish to your social channels, and what gets shared by your brand fans and consumers, has a direct impact on what your shoppers buy.
Consumers not only use social media as an inspirational platform. Many use it as a strategic shopping tool, with 27% of shoppers planning their shopping lists on Pinterest.
By understanding the role social plays in a consumer’s back-to-school purchasing funnel, you can begin to create content that helps support these critical decisions.
Why Do I Need To Be Concerned About Amplifying My Content On Social Media?
Most brands now know that when they post on social media, chances are the vast majority of their audience will never see that post. To ensure your content gets seen, your brand needs to amplify the reach of that content somehow. Most brands do this through one of two ways:
- Paying to promote posted content
- Utilizing an advocacy marketing program to empower their fans to share branded content to their personal social networks
Regardless of the chosen method, the more aligned your content is to the needs of your back-to-school audience, the easier it will be to amplify that content across the social world.
5 Content Topics To Drive Back-to-School Sales
Create Seasonal Content That Aligns With How Shoppers Shop During Back-to-School Season
As I mentioned, back-to-school shopping happens all summer long; however, what an individual is shopping for changes from month to month. Shoppers tend to grab the essentials in early July (larger purchases, like computers, backpacks, and related items), while waiting until just before school begins to purchase beauty and fashion related products.
Don’t create content that promotes your finest #FirstDayofSchool outfit in early July. You’re going to come in way too early. Likewise, don’t publish a “What’s In My Backpack” essentials video in late August after everyone’s already grabbed their pencils and rulers for the season.
Create and publish timely content that aligns with each month’s back-to-school shopping trends.
Publicize Deals, Sales, and Promotions
Whether it’s a busy mom preparing for their kid’s first day of junior high, or a returning college sophomore grabbing some new notepads, one thing all back-to-school shoppers have in common is their love of sales, deals, and promotions.
In fact, 65% of shoppers plan to break up their shopping throughout the summer to take advantage of different sales and deals (another reason seasonal content is so important). Additionally, 64% of shoppers plan on actively searching for coupon deals to help them save money during their back-to-school shopping period.
Your customers are actively researching ways to save money where they can. Your brand should be publishing content that educates and informs your customers about your upcoming (or current) sales and promotions. Keeping your fans aware of your deals and specials makes it easier for your customers to choose your brand over a competitor.
Produce Useful Content
Your customers are busy people. Between day jobs, summer camps, and family vacations, they don’t always have time to sit down and create a thoughtful shopping list. This gives your brand the opportunity to create guides, kits, checklists, and really anything that provides some utilitarian support for the frazzled back-to-school shopper.
Take the stress out of back-to-school shopping by creating content that clearly and quickly communicates what students need that first day of school. Earn some extra credit by creating several different lists based on the specific needs of specific age groups. That rising 3rd grader might need a new packet of crayons, but chances are a new high school senior doesn’t need to show up the first day with a fresh pack of Crayola’s.
Sponsor Sweepstakes Or Contests
Tap into the social sharing power of your biggest fans to amplify your content across their personal social networks with a sweepstake or a contest. Give your fans the opportunity to win free back-to-school supplies, back-to-school makeovers, sponsored shopping sprees, or even a new computer by sharing your latest back-to-school content.
Wondering how you’re going to manage this program? With SocialToaster of course! SocialToaster makes it easy to empower your brand advocates to amplify your back-to-school content across the social media landscape. You can award points or prizes for certain actions and recruit additional advocates all from our easy to use, cloud-based platform.
Get Students And Parents Involved With User-Generated Content
Simply put, user-generated content (UGC) is content created by your social media fans. UGC can range from selfies taken with new book bags, fashion videos that show off the latest styles, or Snapchats that tour locker layouts. UGC content resonates with audiences in a way that branded content simply can’t. It provides a dose of authenticity into your back-to-school posting schedule.
UGC posts shared to social see a 28% higher engagement rate than typical brand posts. They also see a 4x higher click-through rate. Additionally, UGC helps to foster trust and shape buyer opinions. With UGC, brands can use the power of peer-sharing to influence a customer’s decision to purchase a specific brand, style, or SKU.
Back-to-school season is no longer regulated to the week or two before school starts back up. In today’s world of tax-free weekends, 4-day long sales, and budget-conscious shopping, it’s a summer-long marathon. To win the back-to-school season, your brand needs to produce content that makes it easier for your customers to purchase from you throughout the summer.
Ready to get started amplifying your back-to-school content? Schedule a free demo with one of our back-to-school experts to learn how SocialToaster can help distribute and amplify your content across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and more without having to pay for another promoted post.