Marketers are wise to build social marketing strategies that incentivize consumers to buy this holiday season.

It’s not too soon to think about how to optimize for the 2014 Holiday seasons. According to Experian, 70 percent of marketers planned to hold a holiday promotion last year, and 69 percent had started planning by the end of summer. This year already has a positive outlook, with consumers looking to spend about 5 percent more on gifts and marketers seeing positive returns on new digital channels like social media.

A MarketLive report found 30 percent of consumers have made a purchase decision based on information they found through social media in the past year, up from 12 percent in 2013. If consumers are in fact buying from Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, marketers need to prepare their strategies to drive sales.

According to the study, the most effective ways they can influence purchases directly through social is to offer a great deal. About two-thirds of consumers say free shipping would convince them to buy.

30 percent of consumers have made a purchase decision based on information they found through social media

Other incentives that people say influence purchases:

  • Exclusive discounts for social followers (59 percent)
  • Rewards points (58 percent)
  • Access to exclusive products (56 percent)

Based on these findings, it looks like B2C brands will also be successful on social by creating a sense of exclusivity. This could be an alternative if they are unable to offer free shipping to drive sales.

One way to do this AND generate additional content for a holiday campaign is to hold a contest. Give participants access to exclusive products or deals for providing images of themselves using products or stories about using the services. Texas Instruments does this on its Facebook Page and receives a lot of engagement.

While social may not yet be the biggest revenue driver for B2Cs, it’s a mistake to overlook the channel and the opportunities to convert (or at least) influence customers there. Marketers who want to make the most of the 2014 holiday season need to build smart marketing social marketing strategies for their social channels.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.