Get it Right: Holiday Deals for Your Online Community

By Meghan Hakim It’s the holidays and everyone is looking for good deals; but what helps set a good deal apart from a great deal for consumers? Social media.

As we’re all caught up in the hustle-and-bustle of shopping, cooking, and celebrating, consumers are looking for deals that are a) going to save them time and/or money and b) don’t require them to spend 15 minutes clicking around online. This is exactly why social deals have become one of the season’s largest providers of good cheer.

For businesses big and small looking to boost sales (and spirits) in these final weeks of the season, a few simple suggestions can assure that you’re offering your social community what they want, exactly the way they want it: on their social networking sites!

Give them what they ask for. Social listening is always the best place to start. Pay attention to what your online communities are talking about and the type of deals they would like to see on certain items or products. Fans like to know they’re being heard and that their opinions matter to your business.

Location, location, location. Is your deal for an e-commerce site, or is it for in-store purchases only? Be mindful of the area where you’re offering your deal to determine what’s best for the customer in your area. Metropolitan cities vary in their peak interests for deals (Mashable shares this infographic from Slice which highlights the most popular deals in the top U.S. metro areas). Mass transit deals are a favorite of the windy city’s residents, while Bostonians love local pizza chain Upper Crust.

Deal delivery. An online promo code? A printable coupon for in-store use? A scannable barcode on their smartphone? How consumers receive their deal makes a difference to the ease of use. These days, an online promotional code or scannable barcode for a mobile device works best for shoppers on the go, especially since mobile shopping is more popular than ever in 2012. If you’re a smaller business and need to offer a printable coupon, make sure customers have the time and resources to print.

Check out my deal! Socially savvy shoppers love sharing their amazing deals with their online communities, so make it easy for them to do. Facebook deals are the perfect example here. All users must do is “claim” a deal and Facebook automatically alerts their friends of their amazing bargain. If Facebook deals isn’t your method of choice, make a Click-to-Tweet link or add an additional incentive for users who share the deal with friends (think Groupon or Living Social).

Make it just for them. In order to turn your deal-redeemers into fans and followers, the call-to-action can be as simple as a “like our page to receive 20%-off your next purchase.” Target is a great example here; the Target Style Facebook page offers a quarterly deal that simply requires users to “like” the page and enter a mailing address to receive a free “Target Beauty Bag.” I’ve never seen girls and guys alike go so crazy for a mini cosmetic bag full of sample-sized shampoos; it’s that simple.

Make It worth it. Deals are meant to be exciting and special. Exciting and special is precisely what they won’t be if you offer them every day. Look at J. Crew (and plenty of other clothing retailers), for instance. I recieve AT LEAST one email per day from J. Crew offering me a minimum of 25%-off and free shipping on my purchase. Am I going to jump on that deal and buy something I may not have otherwise? Probably not, because I know I can delete the email and get the same deal tomorrow, or next month. A deal should prompt shoppers to make a purchase in case such a great deal doesn’t come again soon.

What makes a holiday deal social? Have you seen brands do holiday social deals well? Share in the comments below!