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Yes, we do own a calendar. We know that it’s summertime. And while the twinkle lights, tinsel and tidings won’t make their way into our homes for a few more months, we know that it’s never too early to start thinking about your brand’s holiday social strategy.

Before we dive in, we want to clear something up: Yes, we do own a calendar. We know that it’s summertime. And while the twinkle lights, tinsel and tidings won’t make their way into our homes for a few more months, we know that it’s never too early to start thinking about your brand’s holiday social strategy.

Now is the time when you should begin laying out your holiday marketing game plan—You may have already begun investigating different options for advertising , comparing prices and looking for the best ways to reach as many people as possible with your marketing messages. In our humble (and well researched and supported) opinion, straight advertising only gets you so far during the holiday push. To make the most of your holiday budget, we recommend incorporating a brand advocacy program as a complement to your other marketing activities. From promotions and holiday product lines to commercials and sneak peeks, activating a brand advocacy program offers a cost effective addition to traditional media advertising that will get your brand in front of the masses this holiday season. Here are a few reasons why:

Social Trust

This year, more than ever, word-of-mouth advertising on social is going to be in key in winning over customers and standing out in the season’s hustle and bustle. Last year, 76% of social media users learned about a product that they later bought as a gift on social–that’s up 17% from 2013. In addition, 67% of shoppers use social media before and during shopping trips and convert at a 40% higher rate than those who do not.

For seasoned marketers, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s simply a social extension of the psychology of trust. Namely, people are more likely to trust recommendations from friends and family. So how do you leverage this knowledge to turn this year’s holiday season into a raving success? Call on your brand advocates to be your social media carolers! After singing your praises all year long, this choir of true believers is ready and willing to spread your holiday cheer across their social channels, giving you more reach and visibility than if your brand did all the the talking (or singing?).

If you haven’t started a program yet, now is the time to start so you’ve got all the help you need when it comes time to distribute your holiday content.

Cost

During the holidays, due to high demand and limited ad space, CPM of most advertising channels increases an average of 19% between December 1 and December 28. This means that instead of paying $7 to reach 1,000 people through a television ad, you’ll be paying $8.33 for that same TV ad at holiday rates. This might not seem like a huge deal but when you figure that it’ll cost over $8,300 instead of $7,000 to reach one million people, that extra 19% really adds up.

When you employ a fan advocacy program with SocialToaster, you can reach just as many people at a reduced cost because your message is being spread organically to your advocates’ networks.

Amplification

There’s a lot of advertising noise during the holidays. Fan advocates are especially helpful when it comes to lifting your brand above that noise and expanding your reach on social. Typically when a brand posts on Facebook, they get around 1-4% organic reach depending on the content. But when brand advocates share content, the same rules do not apply. This allows your brand to reach a larger audience in a more authentic way.

The average SocialToaster campaign, has 2,500 advocates with a potential reach of 1 million people. Furthermore, if your brand has 1,000,000 fans on Facebook and you mobilize just 1% in a fan advocacy program, you could reach 4,000,000 people with your content. And the best part? Any message being shared, is being shared by the specific user. It appears as a personal recommendation from a friend as opposed to an advertisement, which, as we mentioned above, is huge for gaining the trust and interest of potential customers.

Now that we’ve come full circle and you’re on board to unleash the sharing power of your brand advocates, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that starting a SocialToaster campaign can be a cost effective solution that produces tangible results for your holiday campaign. To start recruiting now, or to talk to one of our experts about how you can beef up your current program in anticipation for the holidays contact the SocialToaster team today!