Rethinking Christmas: How should small businesses approach the festive season?

Consumer shopping behaviours have drastically changed over the past eight months, with 32 per cent of Australians demanding more online shopping and cashless payments as part of the “new normal”. People are staying home more, visiting city-centres less and spending 30 per cent more time online. This brings with it a whole new set of challenges for small businesses who are yet to catch up with their customers’ turn from in-store to digital consumption.

To help navigate this new territory, I have collated my top tips for small businesses on how to approach this festive season.

Be the catalyst for connection

In a recent social media census by L&A Social, 60 per cent of Australians said that social media platforms help them feel more connected to their family, friends and community. In a time where we are so socially distant, small businesses now have the perfect opportunity to leverage the power of social media and help their customers connect and be together again through innovative campaigns and initiatives.

Live streams, in particular, are an easy, cost-effective way of connecting people to their community, as small-business owners can simply log on and answer customer enquiries, show behind the scenes and just generally connect with their customers. This is a huge send we’re seeing on TikTok at the moment, with many one-manned businesses giving their fans an inside peek into the production of their products (like jewellery or clothing), which helps their audience feel invested in the brand and develop a deeper, more personal connection to the brand owner.

Simplify the customer journey

For many, this will be their first online Christmas, with an influx of new online shoppers particularly amongst Gen X and Boomers (up 25 per cent), giving brands a new opportunity to connect. However, research from Facebook shows that of late, 73 per cent of Gen X and Boomers have experienced problems with their online shopping, and it’s up to brands to relieve those pain points

by creating a friction-free mobile experience.

While the establishment and running costs of an e-commerce website can be expensive for small businesses, there’s good news for owners! Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have fantastic shopping functionalities. Facebook Catalogues and Instagram Shops, for example, act as immersive storefronts, so that customers can browse and purchase your products without ever having to leave their social media platforms.

This makes it really easy to make sure your products are being seen by your target audience, in a seamless, easy-to-use way, without having to spend too much on marketing.

Add value

According to L&A Social’s Census, 75 per cent of social media users surveyed say that they are more likely to follow a brand that posts quality content that is relevant to them, with 62 per cent craving brands that entertain them. For small businesses to add to this during the holiday season is as simple as creating content that is engaging, adds value or quite simply puts a smile on someone’s face. This doesn’t have to mean huge production budgets. Think: funny skits on Instagram Reels, trends and challenges on TikTok or viral threads on Twitter – each of these can be done from the comfort of your own home, for free!

Beyond fun and creative content, always think of ways you can bring a little light to people’s lives. For instance, are there any charities that strongly align with your values? How can your business and your followers support them through a social media campaign. This helps your customers see that by simply being a part of your social community, they’re able to add to the greater good of the world, which is something customers crave right now.

Gina Lednyak, Founder and Director, L&A Social

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