Grab these done-for-you holiday social media graphics (+ content ideas and scheduling tools!)

The value of social media as a marketing tool is ongoing, especially around the holidays when you want to spread the word about your new holiday designs and products and any upcoming sales or promotions.

Updating social media profiles is time-consuming, though. Plus, if you aren’t including visuals with your posts, your  followers may not find your content to be all that engaging or eye-catching.

Research shows that…

  • Tweets with visuals get 150% more retweets than those without.
  • Facebook posts with visuals are 2.3X as engaging as those without.
  • Blog posts containing images every 75-100 words get shared twice as often as posts without.

But again, creating and/or searching for visuals to include with your social media posts is a time-suck.

That’s why I had a bunch of promotional holiday graphics made for you!

I work with an amazing designer, and below, you’ll find some of his handiwork, which you can download and use to create more engaging social media posts this holiday season.

I also share a list of popular social media hashtags—great for Twitter and Instagram, especially. And I go over three great social media scheduling tools that can help you save time and monitor engagement levels.

Let’s dive in!

Here Are 40 Promotional Holiday Graphics You Can Download:

We’ve had 10 designs made into 4 formats each – one for Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

You can see 9 of the designs here:

To get all 40 versions, just head over to Dropbox and download here.

Here’s a List of Popular Holiday Hashtags to Use:

Shopping Hashtags:

  • #ChristmasShopping
  • #HolidaySavings
  • #HolidayDeals
  • #BlackFriday
  • #BlackFri
  • #CyberMonday
  • #CyberMon
  • #Gifts
  • #StockingStuffer
  • #WishList
  • #FreeShipping

Holiday Hashtags:

  • #ChristmasCountdown
  • #ChristmasPresents
  • #ChristmasTradition
  • #ChristmasTree
  • #HappyHolidays
  • #Decorating
  • #Christmas2017
  • #TisTheSeason
  • #SeasonsGreetings
  • #Hanukkah
  • #Kwanzaa
  • #HappyNewYear
  • #NewYears
  • #NewYearsEve
  • #NewYearsDay
  • #NewYearsResolution
  • #Resolution
  • #2018

Here Are 3 Fantastic Scheduling Platforms to Save You Time:

Logging in to your social media profiles every day and creating posts for the various platforms you’re on is time-consuming. Plus, it can divert your attention away from more urgent matters with your business.

That’s why I’m a huge fan of scheduling my social media content in advance—or, at least of having some of my content scheduled. (It’s still a good to idea to post in real-time when you can.)

Below, you’ll find three useful social media scheduling tools that I currently use or have used in the past:

1. MeetEdgar

I use MeetEdgar a lot. And one of the best parts about this scheduling tool is that your posts are recycled, meaning you never have to worry about your content feed running dry. You can organize your content by category. And then once you upload your content to your library, it’s continuously recycled according to the posting schedule you specify.

2. BufferApp

BufferApp is another awesome scheduling tool. Just, one downside is that you once your feed runs out of content, that’s it; you need to add more. That said, one of the biggest perks of using BufferApp is that it comes with a free version that allows you to schedule up to 100 posts at a time. So if you’re on a budget, BufferApp is a great choice.

3. PostDynamo

After a bit of a hiatus, PostDynamo is finally back up and running. My scheduling tool is unique in that it’s designed specifically for Twitter traffic-driving purposes. With PostDynamo, you follow my posting strategy, which involves creating content that falls into the following highly engaging categories:

  • inspirational
  • funny
  • blog posts/podcasts
  • questions
  • and tips.

30 Days of Social Media Post Ideas to Use with Your Graphics

Days 1-12: 12 Days of [useful tidbits, helpful resources, giveaways (including tips, coupons, free gifts, etc.)]

For example…

Day 1: Today we kick off our 12 Days of [e.g. Giveaways], starting with this coupon code for [e.g. 50% off] all [e.g. mugs] #12Days #HolidayDeals

Day 2: Today we’re giving away a list of our top 10 favorite [e.g. marketing resources, gift ideas under $50, productivity apps]. Click here to check it out: [link] #12Days

Day 3: Here is our top piece of advice for [e.g. increasing sales, getting more traffic, reducing holiday stress]: [Insert top piece of advice or a link] #12Days

Day 4: For one day only, we’re giving away free [e.g. stickers, printables]. Get yours here: [claim code or link] #12Days #gifts

Day 5: As today’s giveaway, get #FreeShipping on anything and everything you purchase. You’re welcome #12Days

Day 6: We made this handy gift guide for you, covering all of your closest family members. Check it out here: [link] #12Days #gifts

Day 7: Today’s giveaway is a BOGO FREE offer for everything in our store. Learn more here: [link] #12Days #StockingStuffers

Day 8: Here’s a free guide for [e.g. creating more product designs, writing more engaging blog posts, finding the best holiday deals]. Click here: [link] #12Days

Day 9: Use this coupon code [code] and get [e.g. $10 off your order of $50 or more] #12Days #HolidaySavings

Day 10: We made you a video about [e.g. how to get more sales, how to throw a holiday party on a budget]. Check it out here: [link] #12Days

Day 11: These are our all-time favorite [e.g. shopping apps, marketing resources]. View the list here: [link] #12Days

Day 12: As the last day of our #12Days giveaway, we’re giving you this surprise free gift: [link] #HappyHolidays

Day 13: Share a relevant blog post

For example…

We just found this great article about [e.g. how to save money during the holidays, how to increase sales]. Check it out here: [link] #[relevant hashtag]

Day 14: Encourage people to share themed photos

For example…

Take any great holiday photos this year? Get in touch and share them with us using the hashtag #[e.g. HolidayPics]

Or…

Let’s see your best photo of [e.g. holiday decorations, your home office during the holiday rush]. Get in touch and share it with us using the hashtag #[e.g. Decorations or HolidayOffice]

Day 15: Share a useful infographic

For example…

This infographic about [topic] is super interesting. We love the part about [infographic fact]. What do you think? #[relevant hashtag]

Day 16: Create a Pinterest “Wish List” board

For example…

We created a Pinterest Wish List board: [link] Come check it out and pin any gifts you’d like to receive this #HolidaySeason

Day 17: Make a “Caption This” post

For example…

This photo is too funny! Come up with your best caption and get in touch! We’ll post our favorites at the end of the day [attach a funny/interesting/odd photo, especially one that pertains to the holidays]

Day 18: Ask a question

For example…

If you could receive any gift for Christmas, what would it be? #Gifts #ChristmasPresents

Or…

If you could go anywhere in the world to celebrate New Year’s, where would you go? #2018 #HappyNewYear

Day 19: Post an inspirational or funny quote

For example…

“Christmas can’t be bought from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”Dr. Seuss (1/2)

…although #gifts from [your website] can spread a lot of joy this #HolidaySeason, Check it out: [website link] (2/2)

Day 20: Share a testimonial

For example…

We love making people happy! Here’s what one happy customer had to say: [testimonial text, or a screenshot of the testimonial if the text is too long] #[relevant hashtag]

Day 21: Share the answer to a question you’re commonly asked

For example…

People often ask [question]. Here’s our response: [answer] #[relevant hashtag]

Day 22: Share a link to one of your blog posts

For example…

[Blog post headline] – Check out our latest blog post at: [link] #[relevant hashtag]

Day 23: Giveaway a coupon code to the first however many people who respond to your post

For example…

To the first [e.g. 20] people who respond to this post, we’re giving away a coupon code for [e.g. 50% off] #[relevant hashtag]

Day 24: Share a photo of your work space decorated for the holidays

For example…

Working hard throughout the holidays to make the absolute best [e.g. mugs] possible. Get yours here: [link] [photo attachment] #ChristmasShopping

Day 25: Post a fill-in-the-blank

For example…

All I want for Christmas is __________. Fill in the blank with your response! #SeasonsGreetings

Or…

__________ is my all-time favorite holiday food. #TisTheSeason

Day 26: Share something you’re grateful for

For example…

This year, we are most grateful for [e.g. surpassing our holiday sales quota, spending time with friends and family]. What about you? #Gratitude

Day 27: Highlight a customer of the month

For example…

Today, we’d like to give a special shout-out to [customer’s name or social media handle]. You are an exceptional customer and we love doing business with you!

Day 29: Share an attention-grabbing statistic

For example…

Did you know that [e.g. people spend more money on Cyber Monday than any other day during the holiday season]? True story! #[relevant hashtag]

Day 30: Pose a multiple-choice question

For example…

Which design do you like best [e.g. attach a photo including four different mug designs]: A. [design 1] B. design 2] C. [design 3] D. [design 4] #[relevant hashtag]

I really hope you find these holiday social media suggestions useful, especially the promotional graphics! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. 

Use these social media graphics, content ideas, and scheduling tools to increase your sales this holiday season!

Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s a quick guide to hiring extra help around the holidays

The holidays are stressful. There’s no doubt about that. There’s always so much to be done, both to keep business booming and running smoothly and to take care of personal things, like shopping, decorating, and party-planning.

You don’t have to do it alone, though — and you shouldn’t, really. Not when help is available.

I’ve always been a fan of outsourcing. It lightens my workload and allows me to focus on the most important aspects of my business and what I enjoy doing the most. Plus, I’ve met a lot of really great people this way.

Below, I walk you through the process of hiring your own VA, starting with the benefits, moving on to where and how to post your job listings, and wrapping up with some of my top tips for having a great outsourcing experience.

(I also include a detailed job listing template you can feel free to use!)

Let’s get started…

Here are some of the types of things a VA could help you with during the holidays:

  • Customer service – answering emails, making calls
  • Social media management – creating posts, responding to messages
  • Research
  • Order fulfillment
  • Inventory management
  • Data-entry or bookkeeping
  • Cold calling
  • Creating blog posts (if he or she is a strong writer)
  • Coming up with gift ideas
  • Finding holiday recipes
  • Placing online orders
  • Making travel arrangements

NOTE: If you don’t want to hire a personal VA, MyFancyHands.com is a fantastic service that I absolutely love and find super helpful when I’m in a pinch.

But if hiring a VA to get some holiday help sounds like something you’d be interested in…

Here’s a list of places to post your job listing:

(You’ll also find a job listing template below that you can use for each site’s “Job Description” section.)

Craigslist

How to create a job listing: 

  • Login to your account and go to your account’s homepage.
  • From where it says “new posting in,” select a city from the drop-down menu and click “go” (you still need to do this even if you’re looking for a remotely working VA).
  • Choose “gig offered.”
  • Choose “I want to hire someone.”
  • Choose the category most relevant to the job you’re posting about — for example, “computer gigs,” creative gigs,” or “writing gigs.”
  • You may need to select a more specific location that fits best (e.g. city of San Diego, north San Diego county, east San Diego county, etc.). And again, you still need to do this even if you’re hiring a remote worker.
  • Fill in your job listing’s details:

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Specific location: Remote.
  • Zip code: You need to fill this in; just input your own zip code.
  • Pay: For example, “$10/hour.”
  • Contact info: CL may relay.
  • Show on maps: Deselect this since it isn’t relevant.
  • Everything else: Fill in as it pertains to your job listing.
  • Click “Continue” when you’re done.
  • Add any relevant images or click “done with images.”
  • If everything looks good, click “publish.”
  • Check your email to make sure you got a confirmation from Craigslist, including a link to your listing where you can edit if you need to.

NOTE: If you don’t find any good candidates in a particular city, you can post a similar “Remote” ad in other cities.

Indeed.com

How to create a job listing: 

  • Login to your account.
  • Click where it says “Employers/Post Job” at the top.
  • Fill in the “Account Information” and click “Continue.”

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Fill in the “Getting Started” information and click “Continue.”

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Fill in the “Job Details” and click “Continue.”

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

(As the salary for your job, you can choose per hour, day, week, month, or year.)

  • Input your job description.
  • Fill in the “Application Settings” and click “Continue.”

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Fill in any additional questions and/or criteria you would like applicants to adhere to. For example, having 2 years of relevant work experience or a particular license or certification.
  • Click “Continue.”
  • Preview your job listing and click “Confirm” if everything looks good.
  • If you’d like to sponsor your job, which is recommended because you’ll get more applications, specify a job budget and set an end date (optional). Then, click “Continue.” Or, if you don’t want to sponsor your job, just click “Post job without sponsoring.”
  • You will need to now provide “Additional Account Information” in order for your job listing to become visible.

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

LinkedIn

How to create a job listing: 

  • Login to your account.
  • Click the “Work” icon on the top right-hand side.
  • Click “Post a job.”
  • Fill in the following fields: Company, Job title, and Location and click “Continue” (once again, you need to input a location even if the job is virtual).
  • On the next page, fill in the additional job details, including a job description and how you want people to apply.

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Set your daily budget and click “Continue” (to learn more about pay-per-click pricing for job listings, click here).
  • After confirming the information is correct, fill in your payment details.
  • Click “Review order.”
  • Click “Post job.”

Upwork

How to create a job listing: 

  • Login to your account.
  • Click “Post a New Job.”
  • Reuse a previous job if applicable.
  • If not, move on to choosing a job category and subcategory from the drop-down menu.
  • Name your job posting.
  • Describe the work you want done.
  • Upload any relevant project files.
  • Select the type of project you have: one-time, ongoing, unsure.
  • Select the number of freelancers you need for the job: one, more than one.
  • Select whether or not you want only freelancers in your country to see your job listing.
  • Enter any necessary skills for the job (e.g. WordPress, SEO, etc.).
  • Select how you would like to pay your VA: by the hour, fixed price.
  • Select the desired experience level: entry-level, intermediate, expert.
  • Select how long you expect the job to last: more than 6 months, 3-6 months, 1-3 months, less than 1 month, less than 1 week.
  • Select the time commitment required for the job: more than 30 hours/week, less than 30 hours/week, don’t know.
  • Fill out the “Freelancer Preferences” section:

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Click “Preview.”
  • If the listing looks satisfactory, click “Post Job.”

Job Listing Template:

You can use this template to create the job description sections for each of the job listing sites:

Title: 

Fast-paced and detail-oriented superstars needed for [your company type]

Body: 

Thanks for checking out this job post!

Our company is a [what your company does]. 

We’re currently looking for AWESOME people to come join us because we’re growing rapidly.

The right people for us…[list of skills or character traits]

For example…

  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have a sense of urgency and tend to do things at a fast pace 
  • Have a friendly, positive attitude 
  • Are comfortable performing repetitive tasks and with multi-tasking
  • Are comfortable performing tedious tasks (not all tasks are tedious but some are)
  • Work well in a team environment
  • Have a strong sense of pride in their work. 

In your reply, please tell us the hours you are available to work (preference goes to people with open availability including nights and weekends) and how soon you can start. Please also attach your resume, mention the words “pink lion” at the top, and tell us about a time you felt frustrated in a previous job and how you overcame it.

If you have any experience with this type of work, please tell us about that, too.

This position pays [salary – $10/hour]. Payments will be paid via [check, Paypal, etc.] 

Telecommuting is preferred. 

We are looking to hire seasonal employees to start. But if things go well, we will do our best to keep as many people on as possible, as business has been exploding, but please consider this seasonal employment for now.

WE HAVE IMMEDIATE EMPLOYMENT AVAILABLE and would love to start hiring the right people ASAP.

Thank you!

Pro Tips For Finding The Best Candidates And Establishing A Great Working Relationship

1. Include a qualifier.

You may have noticed that in the job listing template I instruct applicants to include the phrase “pink lion” in their response. I do this is because it helps weed out applicants who don’t follow directions, as these aren’t the type of people you want to hire.

You’ll likely get a lot of responses to your listings. But a good percentage of people won’t be worth your time. And this little trick (aka a qualifier) helps you narrow down your hunt for the perfect hire much more efficiently.

2. Ask for a sample.

This won’t always apply, and not every job site allows it. But whenever you can, ask for a sample. For example, if you’re looking for a writer, ask for a quick writing sample related to your niche.

Nothing too crazy, though. If candidates aren’t being paid for this park, you don’t want to seem like you’re taking advantage. You just want to get a taste for whether candidates can perform quality work and if they’re willing to go above and beyond.

3. Ask candidates to complete a quick test.

Similarly, depending on the kinds of tasks you’d like your VA to complete, asking candidates to perform a test is beneficial to see how skilled and interested they are in the job.

As an example, I once wanted to hire a VA to help with research. So I told candidates my name and then asked them to name some place that I’d lived in the past.

The goal was to see who was willing to dig in and look for information about me online to find the answer.

4. Ask people to tell you how long a job will take.

This is useful advice both before and after you hire a VA.

During the hiring process, this allows you to get a feel for how quickly candidates can perform certain tasks. Plus, it establishes a deadline, which is useful because then the both of you are aware of what the expectations are.

And after the hiring process, once you’ve find a VA you’d like to work with, this is still helpful for basically the same reasons.

5. Create systems and document your processes.

This is huge. If you want your VA to actually help you, you need to be crystal clear about showing them how. And by that I mean creating step-by-step guides about how to perform certain tasks for your business or personal life.

This may sound time-consuming — and it does take a bit of time upfront — but believe me, it pays off in the long run.

You can create instructional Google docs and share them with your VA. Or personally, I prefer creating videos using Jing.

Anytime I want to give a VA feedback, have them respond to an email, or have them perform some other task for me, I turn Jing video on and let it record my computer screen as I navigate around and give verbal instructions.

This works really well and my VAs tell me they like it too.

I really hope you got a lot out of this post! Outsourcing is a fantastic strategy to improve the functioning of both your business and personal life. Please share your insights in the comments below. And if you’d like to learn even more about outsourcing, go here

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

Top Holiday Insights – A compilation of fascinating facts about holiday shoppers

As another way to maximize my sales this holiday season, I’ve been looking at a bunch of marketing studies from last year and the year before.

In my research, I’ve come across a number of interesting facts that I think are really helpful in terms of planning and strategizing.

Below, you’ll find the list of facts I compiled pertaining to holiday shoppers along with several other useful marketing tidbits, such as a holiday calendar, shipping deadlines, and email suggestions.

Let’s dive in…

Fact 1: Free shipping is the offer most likely to spur customers into action.

Check out the chart from Deloitte University Press below:

Check out these fascinating facts about holiday shoppers so you can increase your earning potential this holiday season.

Image Source

As you can see, free shipping trumps discounts on expedited shipping.

What does this mean for you? Well, I’d recommend adding the shipping costs into your prices and then giving “free” shipping. If you’re doing the LHS method, for example, price a mug at $19.90 ($14.95 with $4.95 shipping) and $0 shipping. People will think they’re getting a deal.

87% of people say free shipping means more to them than fast shipping.

But what constitutes “fast” shipping anyway?

Fact 2: Most people consider fast shipping to be same- or next-day delivery.

  • 97% of people consider same-day deliveries to be fast shipping.
  • 95% consider next-day deliveries to be fast.
  • 89% consider deliveries within two days to be fast.

Anything longer than two days was not considered fast, according to Deloitte’s 2016 survey.

Don’t worry if you can’t offer the “fast” though – as mentioned, FREE is more important.

And if you’re in Holiday Jumpstart, the FBA mugs will certainly qualify as “fast”. :)

Fact 3: Cyber Monday is the top ecommerce spending day in the US.

According to Statista.com, people spent more money shopping online on Cyber Monday than on any other day during the holiday season in 2016. This finding is consistent with 2015 and 2014 as well.

Here’s a list of what the top 10 US ecommerce spending days were during the 2016 holiday season:

  1. Cyber Monday
  2. The day after Cyber Monday
  3. Black Friday
  4. December 9
  5. Green Monday
  6. December 5
  7. December 6
  8. December 8
  9. December 7
  10. December 13

Here are 4 more Cyber Monday facts

Fact 3a: In 2015, Cyber Monday conversion rates were highest between 9 and 10 PM EST.

Fact 3b: The average Cyber Monday order value was $123.43.

Fact 3c: Females accounted for the largest share of buyers and dollars for Cyber Monday spending.

Fact 3d: Total digital sales were up to $3.1B from $2.59B.

NOTE: In addition to Cyber Monday, here’s a list of 12 more days you should mark on your calendar for holiday promotions: 

Check out these fascinating facts about holiday shoppers so you can increase your earning potential this holiday season.

October:

Halloween – October 31

November:

Thanksgiving – November 23

Black Friday – Friday, November 24

Small Business Saturday – November 25

Cyber Monday – November 27

December:

Green Monday – December 11

Hanukkah – December 12-20

Free Shipping Day – December 15

Super Saturday – December 23

Christmas Eve – December 24

Christmas – December 25

Boxing Day – December 26

New Year’s Eve – December 31

Fact 4: Email marketing campaigns generate sales and help you reach new and existing customers during the holidays.

If you have an email list, here are 4 suggestions for email promotions to send this time of year:

1. Deal Of The Day

Lasting for just 24 hours, deal-of-the-day promotions are a great way to instill a sense of urgency in customers—if they don’t act quickly, they’ll miss their chance.

Here are some ideas for deal-of-the-day promotions you can run:

  • BOGO (e.g. buy one, get one 50% off)
  • 1-Day free shipping
  • Sale on an entire product category (e.g. all mugs are 25% off)
  • Spend a certain amount and receive a certain discount (e.g. spend $50 and get 20% off)

2. New Product Launch

The holidays are a great time to add new products to your inventory. So if/when do you, be sure to talk them up to your customers via dedicated email campaigns.

3. Cyber Monday Deals

As previously noted, the weekend after Thanksgiving is when the holiday shopping frenzy kicks noticeably into gear. People not only look for great deals this weekend; they expect them.

So give the people what they want and plan on emailing your customers about some fantastic offers happening on Cyber Monday.

4. Order By / Shipping Deadlines

Holiday shipping deadlines are determined by the shipper (e.g. UPS, FedEx, USPS).

So, to work out when to tell customers they need to place their orders by in order to have them arrive in time for the holidays, gauge how long it takes you to put together a typical order, then add that amount of time to your shipper’s holiday shipping deadline.

Here are the 2017 holiday shipping deadlines:Check out these fascinating facts about holiday shoppers so you can increase your earning potential this holiday season.

It’s also a good idea to email your customer again right before the LAST shipping deadline so the procrastinators have one final chance. ;-)

Fact 5: Most customers do the majority of their holiday shopping in December.

According to Deloitte University Press, you can separate holiday shoppers into three categories:

  1. Early: Pre-October – Mid-November
  2. Mid: Black Friday – Late November
  3. Late: December – January

Then, based on the chart below, you can see that this is what the breakdown looks like, by percentages, for when people typically get most of their holiday shopping done (aka when you can expect the bulk of your sales):Check out these fascinating facts about holiday shoppers so you can increase your earning potential this holiday season.

Fact 6: When it comes to retail policies, customers prefer cash refunds, free returns, and longer return windows.

  • 82% of customers say they want free online returns.
  • 61% say they want their money back, not site credits.
  • And 54% say they want longer return windows.

I hope you found these holiday shopping facts to be interesting/useful! Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. 

Check out these fascinating facts about holiday shoppers so you can increase your earning potential this holiday season.