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How to Use the 2014 Holidays to Set Your 2015 Social Strategy

Had enough egg nog, heavy winter ales, and homemade cookies yet?

There are some holiday treats we have to leave behind for the sake of our health and self-worth, but a keen analysis of what worked for your brand on social during the holiday season is a must-have strategy for informing new year plans. It provides a solid sample set for a specific period in which you used specific tactics.

Which tactics should you repeat, and which should you leave behind?

Here’s how to take a look back to make better decisions moving forward in three simple steps.

Step 1: What Were Your Highlights? 

Come up with a list of three highlights by looking back at the most successful posts of your holiday season. Obviously, you won’t be able to replicate holiday content all year long, but you can find out which strategies, timing plans, and social channels worked best for you.

Let’s look at Smirnoff’s holiday exploits on social, for instance. Here were Smirnoff’s most engaging posts from 11/20/2014-1/1/2015.

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Cross-Channel Social Performance report shows Smirnoff’s most engaging posts between 11/20/2014-1/1/2015. Click to zoom.

Right off the bat here,we can see that 60% of Smirnoff’s top 10 posts were on Facebook, and 40% were on Instagram. This tells us that Smirnoff had the strongest individual posts on these channels during the holiday season, though their total engagement numbers were comparable on Twitter content. This is definitely a phenomenon for Smirnoff to keep in mind as they plan content in 2015.

So what gave these posts serious engagement rocket fuel? I pull out three highlights:

  • For your next holiday party: 70% of Smirnoff’s top posts spoke directly to the holiday season. This tells me that of-the-moment, celebratory posts work well for this brand–not surprising for an alcoholic beverage purveyor.
  • Product images FTW: 90% of Smirnoff’s top posts featured images of their product, with “flavor text” captioning including recipes and scenario descriptions to weave an appealing relationship between the social user and the image.
  • Out with the old, in with the new: Smirnoff’s top content during the holiday season either incorporated a new product or recommended new cocktail recipes for use with brand mainstays.

Now go try it for your own brand!

Step 2: What Were Your Lowlights? 

Success on social has as much to do with what you avoid as what you bring to fruition. Which posts didn’t pack heat this holiday season? Where did you allocate money towards paid without achieving your desired aims?

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Facebook Insights with Ads report shows how one company’s organic and paid spend compare on Facebook for a given time period.


Come up with a list of holiday season disappointments similar to your collection of highlights from step 1. For instance, this might be one brand’s list:

  • Black Friday misfire: Our Pinterest content on Black Friday didn’t hit the way we expected it to.
  • Negative feedback: We experienced a ton of negative sentiment around a certain post. It forced us to reconsider our whole campaign.
  • Influencer snafu: Our partnership with influencers — which we paid a significant amount of money for — didn’t drive the brand awareness we wanted it to.

When these kinds of lowlights are considered in conjunction with your wins, you’ll get a really nice, full picture of how the holiday season truly went for your brand–and how to report on that to higher-ups.

Step 3: What’s coming up? 

Now it’s time to graft your fresh insight onto your plan for this quarter or year.

Which tactics should you double down on? Which should you avoid at all costs? What are some subtle improvements you can make to content you saw succeed during the holidays?

Don’t be afraid to tweak your current plans with your new knowledge in mind.

Heading Into 2015 Strong

As we head into 2015, what do your wins inspire you to try? What can you bring to people that makes them say, “Me, too,” or “Wow”? How can you share in the mood of the moment, whether it be current events or upcoming celebratory holidays? Let us know what you’ve tried and how it worked in the comments below.


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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