A Long December
It's a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
- Counting Crows "A Long December"
Okay, I felt starting out a blog about the month that always seems to be the busiest for most small businesses and non-profits with a little bit of '90s nostalgia would at least take away some of the sting from the fact that it is in fact December. Already. I know, I'm as shocked as you are.
December is a long, often cold and dark month but that doesn't mean you need to feel overwhelmed by your social media this month. It's important to stay on top of your game to remind clients, customers, and donors that you can provide them that last minute gift or year end donation opportunity that they are looking for. It's also FILLED with some pretty crazy #hashtagholidays. So I thought I'd give you an easy to use guide for how to make this a December to Remember. Yup, a little more nostalgia but this time courtesy of the Lexus tagline they've used for as long as I can remember. I hope that this guide can help you plan out exactly what you need to make your social media effective for you this month.
Yes, I know. There's one for every day of the month, most days several. That doesn't mean you should be celebrating all of them. Below is a list of some of the odd balls that might be fun to celebrate and some that would be a great way to celebrate this month. I've also included the National Holidays so you make sure that you're acknowledging those as well.
1st: Eat a Red Apple Day
2nd: National Mutt Day (show your puppy some love), Special Education Day; First Night of Hannukah
3rd: International Day of Persons With Disabilities Day, Make a Gift Day
4th: National Cookie Day (YUM!)
5th: International Volunteer Day, Ninja Day (yes, Ninjas)
6th: Microwave Oven Day, Mitten Tree Day, St. Nicholas Day
7th: National Bartender Appreciation Day (this is a great way to recognize your staff if you own a restaurant or bar)
8th: National Brownie Day, Gingerbread Decoration Day, Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day
9th: National Pastry Day, Christmas Card Day, National Llama Day (a personal favorite of mine)
10th: Human Rights Day
11th: National Mountain Day
12th: Gingerbread House Day, Poinsettia Day
13th: National Cocoa Day
14th: Monkey Day, Roast Chestnuts Day, Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
15th: Cat Herders Day, National Cupcake Day
16th: National Chocolate Covered Anything Day; Boston Tea Party (1773)
17th: Maple Syrup Day
18th: Bake Cookies Day, Flake Appreciation Day (yes, it's about snowflakes)
19th: Look for an Evergreen Day, National Hard Candy Day
20th: Go Caroling Day, Games Day
21st: Winter Solstice, Look on the Bright Side Day, Underdog Day
22nd: National Cooke Exchange Day, Super Saturday (this celebrates the last Saturday to shop before Christmas)
23rd: Festivus (my 95 year old Grandpa's favorite)
24th: Christmas Eve, National Egg Nog Day (AE is the best. That is not up for debate.)
25th: Christmas Day, National Pumpkin Pie Day
26th: National Thank You Note Day, National Candy Cane Day, First Day of Kwanzaa
27th: Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day, National Fruitcake Day
28th: Card Playing Day, National Chocolate Candy Day
29th: Tick Tock Day (Did you complete your goals for the year?)
30th: National Bicarbonate Soda Day
31st: New Year's Eve, National Champagne Day, No Interruptions Day
Looking for a downloadable version of this so you can stay on top of it all month long? Click here.
Tip for the Month:
Make sure that you're letting customers and followers know of any changes in hours. Often times around the holidays businesses extend their hours to allow for easier shopping access or close so they can enjoy the holidays. Letting your regular customers know via email and social media is extremely important.
For example, currently I'm planning on closing up shop the Saturday before Christmas until the 3rd of January. It may or may not happen, I'm being idealistic right now and saying that it will happen. I'm also closed on the 7th for my favorite family holiday tradition where my parents hand over an envelope of money to my brother, my sister-in-law, and I then send us out on our way to shop for our own Christmas presents. With end of year being a busy time for me and being part of a family where I am the only person who doesn't work in retail this is one of the few ways we get to spend time together. Plus it saves my Step-Mom who travels a lot this time of year for work the time it would take to shop for all of our gifts.
Part of doing this is setting an out of office reply so when you do get emails your clients and customers know how to reach you if it's an emergency. Most email clients offer it as part of their program, if your email is based through the G-Suite you can create one through their website.
Don't miss out on this because you'd hate to have a customer make the trip to come see you only to find you're closed. It may prevent them from wanting to come back to shop with you in the future.
I know, building content isn't always fun. It's the task that takes many of us a lot time and can be the thing we constantly put off on our to-do list in favor of other things. Finding the right images, graphics, working out the right wording, it can be incredibly time consuming and mundane. I recently discovered there is a name for what I do when I want to avoid work, procrastibaking. This time of year I often fall victim to the idea of baking cookings, scones, or other delicious treats instead of sitting down and focusing on work.
The easiest way for me is to block out time. I even add it into my calendar on my phone with notifications so that I get the dreaded "ding" on the iPhone reminding me that it's time to sit down and work on graphics for a particular client. I set deadlines for myself, knowing that there is flexibility to them because of how I work, but I try to keep to them the best I can. It helps me make the most of my time and guarantee that I get everything I need to have done in a timely manner.
Here's the thing with that, I work in social media. All of my work is spent in front of a computer and working in Facebook, Instagram, and all of the other platforms a business might have. Your job might be much different. Scheduling out your content in advance can help you save a lot of time and then you don't have that panic laying in bed at night remembering if you posted about an open appointment, new sale, or special hours on your Facebook. If you figure out one day of the week that is most conducive to work on your own marketing and block the time you'll find you can get more done in less time than if you're doing it on the fly. So maybe Mondays are slow for you, set aside a few hours to make sure you get everything you have planned for the week scheduled out. That still gives you the opportunity to post on the fly if something pops up but takes care of the basic posts you need to have. It also prevents you from posting at 11PM when very few people will see what you're posting or spamming your audience by posting too much in too short of a time span.
A Content Calendar or Editorial Calendar can help you make sure that you aren't spamming your audience or missing a great opportunity. Not sure what a Content Calendar is or how to use it? That's where someone like me comes in! My very base package called Help! provides the custom Content Calendar specific to your business and your needs, written out with what you should be posting on each day and I can provide you the times that will benefit you most when posting. It helps you save time and feel like you have everything laid out in front of you. Think of it like the syllabus a professor gives you at the beginning of a semester. It tells you when things should ideally happen throughout the time you're in their class, it's a living document, it changes based on trends and what people are responding to. It also provides you with one-hour of one-on-one time where we sit down and figure out what is working best, what we want to try next, and I can provide you some training on how you can execute all of your social media and marketing efforts on your own. I know the pride a small business owner feels when they do their marketing themselves, remember even though I am in social media, I am a small business owner. I get that same sense of pride.
Take time to get out!
Stepping away from your desk, out of your business, or away from your normal hustle and bustle to sit down, meet new people and network is always important! I am on the board of FuseDSM: Your Chamber of Commerce. We used to be the Des Moines East + South Chamber but 2017 brought the North Side of Des Moines into our geographic region and called for a new name! So as we fuse three regions of our city together and bring the business and community together FuseDSM was born. We have several great networking opportunities this month for you to check out, whether you are a member or not.
On Thursday December 6th, Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wengert will be speaking at our Monthly Membership Luncheon. Our staff has informed me that he's an incredibly engaging speaker and I'm very excited for the chance to hear him. I'll be there wearing multiple hats. You'll see me as Annie: Owner of HeyGiud, Annie: FuseDSM Board Member, Annie: FuseDSM Firestarter Co-Chair, and Annie: FuseDSM Social Media Specialist doing live coverage of the event.
We also recently launched a new morning networking event called Morning Fuel. This month will be hosted by the East Euclid Hy-Vee in the Euclid Room and sponsored by Atlantic Bottling Company. Join the Chamber from 7:45-9:00AM for this wonderful event. I hear that the East High Bell Chorus will be there and that is always a hit with the crowd.
You can find out more about these events, the chamber and more upcoming opportunities at FuseDSM.org
'Tis the Season to Give!
The end of the year often times means end of year appeal letters from charitable organizations you support throughout the year. With December 3rd being International Day of Persons with Disabilities I wanted to tell you a little bit about an organization that means a lot to me.
Central Iowa Center for Independent Living (CICIL) is a community based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities and/or those who experience homelessness to control their lives and participate and integrate in their community. Founded in Des Moines in 1990, CICIL is one of six Centers for Independent Living (CILs) currently in operation within the state of Iowa. The guiding principle at CICIL is the belief that people with disabilities should integrate fully into society, have equal opportunities and maintain control of their lives. The entire community benefits when all citizens live with self-reliance and dignity.
I have served as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for CICL for the past year. Our staff works hard to help people living with disabilities in Central Iowa find employment, find housing, and get the benefits that will greatly help them improve their lives and our communities. I am proud to support this organization and hope you would consider learning more about the work that CICIL does in our community.
Each month I intend on sharing a little bit about local nonprofit in the Des Moines area. Work for a nonprofit? Have one near and dear to your heart? Submit them to me and maybe I'll feature them in the future! You can submit them to me via email at email@example.com.
Remember to breathe and relax. It's gonna be okay.
As we all rush around town (or Amazon) trying to prepare for the holiday season our marketing can still happen without us being there 24/7. You can schedule things in advance, set up auto-responses or out of office replies, and set aside the time we need to interact with our audience. Even if you miss the post about the sale you have coming up or an open spot for an appointment just know everything will be okay. But also know that it's not too early (or too late) to start preparing for 2019! If you aren't even sure where to begin, I am here to help. Reach out. We can set up an initial consultation to analyze your social media needs for your business.
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George the Meownager here at HeyGiud hopes you have a GREAT December!