The Campaign Checklist: 8 Best Practices For Partnering with Creators for Holiday 2023
The holiday season is upon us, and it’s no secret that consumers turn to Creators to discover seasonal recipes, gifting ideas, holiday decorating tutorials, and more. In fact, 69% of shoppers between the ages of 25-34 find Creators to be a key source of inspiration for their holiday purchases.
As Marketers and brands gear up for Holiday 2023, partnering with Creators for a successful season requires both a strategic and trusted approach. Accordingly, Collective Voice surveyed our Creator and Marketer networks to produce data-driven insights, key takeaways, and best practices for mutual campaign success. Get ready to dazzle your audience and make the most of the holiday season with these proven strategies.
1. Start planning early.
Don’t wait until the last minute to kick off your holiday marketing campaigns. According to our data, 71% of Marketers have already begun their holiday campaign planning.
Getting a head start on Creator campaigns gives Creators plenty of time to work on their content, and aligns with their own planning schedules. In fact, as many as 27% of Creators began their planning process in the first half of the year, while 21% started their planning in August. Meanwhile, 30% of Creators started planning for holiday in September and 18% of Creators started in October. Only 3% of Creators start their holiday planning in November. According to Creator Laura Danforth, who has a blog called Wine Travelista, “Planning early is important so that Creators have time to work partnerships into our calendars and have enough time to create high-quality content.”
As Creators meticulously plan their content well in advance, they’re also adopting an early posting approach. A noteworthy 21% of Creators begin sharing holiday content as early as September. In October, this number rises to 30%, and in November, it reaches 25%.
2. Prioritize inclusivity by working with Creators of all backgrounds.
Inclusivity should be a top priority for your holiday campaigns. The holidays are a special time of year for all kinds of families, households, and consumers, and failing to include diverse Creators in holiday campaigns is a huge missed opportunity for fair and equal representation.
Creator Kayla Fernandez emphasizes, “It’s important for brands to showcase a variety of cultures and ethnicities during the holidays. As someone who is part of a minority group that is often left out of representation…we have dollars too that we love to spend during the holidays…Creators of color often speak directly to those audiences.”
Brands should focus on casting Creators with a variety of backgrounds to resonate with a wider, more diverse audience and demonstrate their commitment to diversity and representation.
3. Balance clear instructions with creative freedom.
Giving Creators clear and precise instructions is helpful for any campaign; “information overload really complicates things,” says Fernandez.
But there’s a caveat. As much as Creators appreciate clear direction, they also appreciate having the creative freedom to produce content most authentic to them, since authenticity makes their content especially effective this time of year. Creator Nicole Lewis suggests, “During the holiday season, Creators can connect with their audience on a deeper level by sharing personal stories, traditions, and values.” Kay Harms, a fashion and lifestyle Creator, agrees, and says she would prefer if brands “would give less direction and leave us a little more creative license.”
When you’re briefing Creators about your campaign, make sure to share comprehensive details about your brand, products, target audience, and the campaign’s objectives. Give them the freedom to pick their preferred social media platform, choose the most effective content type, and craft a creative concept that truly reflects their authenticity.
4. Use trending content formats, like short-form video.
The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and this holiday season is no exception. Both Creators and Marketers are embracing new content formats like short-form video. In fact, 59% of Marketers surveyed plan to incorporate TikTok and Instagram Reels into their holiday content.
Many Collective Voice Creators are prioritizing these content formats as well. Fernandez shares, “I’m really excited to use more short-form video content to truly showcase how excited I am about the products I love.” Creator Jackie Gill agrees, adding, “Reels are still a dominating factor on the [Instagram] platform, especially for sharing shopping finds and new products.”
5. Focus on Creators’ most effective platforms.
While testing out new content formats and platforms is a great idea for any Marketer, it’s equally important to leverage the existing platforms and formats that are already producing strong results for brands and Creators. In the face of rapid social media shifts, some Creators are turning towards owned and operated content to foster consistency. Creator Tina Adams has adopted this approach, explaining, “I sense a growing nostalgia for quieter connections that blogging allows, without all the noise of unwanted ads and frustrating algorithms that monopolize social media feeds.”
It might be surprising to learn that, when it comes to the most effective content formats to drive affiliate sales, written blog-style content emerged as the top performer, with 28% of Collective Voice Creators considering it as their most vital sales driver! Yet, blogs only account for 11% of Creators’ sponsored campaign revenue, demonstrating a disconnect between their most effective platforms and platforms that brands are leveraging in campaigns.
Tried-and-tested social platforms also continue to provide Creators with high revenue and engagement. Instagram is the second-highest affiliate sales driving platform amongst Creators, and also generates the highest sponsored flat-fee campaign revenue for 57% of Creators.
6. Nurture existing Creator relationships.
The most successful holiday campaigns don’t start with the campaign brief; they start with long-term relationships and ongoing Creator campaigns. During this time of year, Creators focus on fewer high-paying collaborations that are authentic, rather than a slew of new brand deals. So building strong relationships with Creators throughout the year is a key way to create genuine partnerships during the holidays.
Nurturing relationships over time helps brands cast their ideal Creators during holiday, as 85% of Creators prioritize nurturing their existing brand relationships during the holiday season. This is also an ideal time for brands to activate their existing brand ambassadors.
7. Give Creators sales to promote, and tools to help them succeed.
Empower your Creators with the tools they need for success, including discounts and deals to promote. “Audiences are much more engaged this time of year and want to shop,” says Sarah, a Creator who goes by @My.Sister.Made.Me.Buy.It on Instagram. “They also love shopping deals and it is so helpful when we can prepare sale content ahead of time.”
Similarly, you can encourage Creators to leverage the right tools to streamline their content creation. Creator Maelyn Etzold is particularly excited about using Collective Voice’s TapTo.Shop feature, as it “will allow a small Creator like me to give my audience an easy way to shop all my favorite pieces.”
Other Creators are experimenting with new technology to help them efficiently produce holiday content. Danforth shares,“I’m excited to incorporate AI tools into my strategy to produce more content faster and help reach a wider audience.”
Providing resources, support, and tentpole moments to promote enhances the quality of Creators’ content and can help streamline the campaign process.
8. Cast the right Creators for your goals.
Consider your goals carefully when selecting Creators. According to our data, 58% of Marketers aim to boost holiday sales, while 42% focus on brand awareness during holiday.
Collective Voice’s customized casting model identifies and selects Creators based on their past performance, examining KPIs for conversions and reach. Our team can help you tailor your Creator partnerships to align with these objectives for the best results.
The holiday season presents a golden opportunity for brands to harness the influence of Creators. Ultimately, Creators are actively searching for partnership opportunities that align with their genuine beliefs, artistic vision, and packed schedules throughout this bustling season.
By taking into account Creators’ holiday-specific requirements and goals, Marketers can craft more impactful campaigns aimed at boosting sales and enhancing brand visibility. And by planning early, experimenting with new content formats, nurturing relationships, and prioritizing inclusivity, you’ll be well on your way to a successful holiday marketing campaign.