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The Ultimate Facebook Holiday Idea Book
The holiday season is all about giving. And for businesses, the season provides a great opportunity to give back to the fans and people who support and matter to your business most. In years past, it was traditional for a company to send out holiday cards by mail to loyal customers and clients. Nowadays there are more contemporary, engaging and cost-effective ways to spread holiday thanks and cheer.

Facebook is the most popular social media network on the web today. As of the writing of this book, more than a billion people worldwide use Facebook on a regular basis. The platform is consistently updated with new features and products that directly bene t businesses that use Facebook. And because of that, Facebook has not only grown into the most dynamic and well-known social media networking platform, it has also become the ultimate business tool for online and social media marketing.

The goal of this Facebook Holiday Idea Book is to teach and inspire businesses to leverage Facebook during this critical and opportune time of the year. With a few tips and ideas under your belt, there’s no doubt your business will be equipped for success this holiday season.

Chapter 1: Holiday Facebook Basics

Since Facebook updated its design to Timeline, businesses have more customisation options than ever. Timeline’s features are flexible and customisable so you can transform your business’s Facebook Page to re ect the holiday season.

In this chapter we’ll also cover some additional non-Facebook holiday ideas that your business can implement during the holidays.

1. Cover Photo: When a Facebook user lands on your business’s Facebook Page, the cover photo is the “main event.” It is a massive piece of Timeline real estate (851 x 315 pixels) that immediately changes the mood of a Facebook Page.

To coordinate with the holiday season, design a cover photo–or multiple cover photos–and change them as each season or holiday passes. Make your cover photos representative of your brand,
but altered to reflect the season. We recommend playing with fall and winter colours or adding traditional holiday images like leaves and snow flakes.

2. Pro le Photo: A lot of businesses have had the same profile photo of their logo since they created their Facebook Page. This is a wasted opportunity to promote whatever is the latest and greatest information about your brand. Plus, a pro le photo is a major asset that can be used to complement your cover photo. Even if your brand is reluctant to change the profile photo to something other than the company logo, there are still ways to create a holiday-themed pro le using the logo.

Again, experiment with holiday-inspired colours, and if you can get more creative, integrate a prop into your logo design. For example, with ShortStack’s Facebook Page, depending on the holiday, we create an image of Jack (ShortStack’s company mascot and logo) in festive attire or holding a holiday-specific object.

3. App Thumbnails: Facebook app thumbnails are often the most neglected features on Facebook brand Pages. App thumbnails are at the bottom-right of your Page’s cover photo. There are three 111 x 74 pixel custom app thumbnails to work with to inspire a holiday mood. It’s important to use these small spaces to create enticing calls-to-action. Facebook prohibits cover photos from having arrows and promotional language, but they do not have those rules for app thumbnails. Use this to your business’s advantage in your app thumbnail designs. Integrating calls- to-action like “click here!” will encourage users who visit your Facebook Page to click on your apps and check out more content from your brand.

4. Photo Status Updates: During your business’s holiday promotional period, be thoughtful about the content you post. Including great holiday-themed graphics will be key in attracting fans to your Facebook Page.
Keep in mind that when you post a status update with a photo, the photo within the post will be featured on your Timeline at 404 x 404 pixels. If you choose to highlight your post or create a “Milestone” you will then have 843 x 403 pixels.

5. Facebook Advertisements: If your business has yet to invest in Facebook advertising, this holiday season is the time do so. The best way to get your feet wet is to set a budget, create a few different 100 x 72 pixel ads, and then implement some A/B testing to see what works best. Also, don’t forget to run promoted posts, sponsored stories and Facebook Offers. These are effective forms of advertising you can experiment with throughout the season.

6. Facebook Offers: Speaking of Facebook Offers, there is no better time than the holiday season to try out this new Facebook product. Facebook Offers are special deals you can create and share with the people who Like your Page. Facebook Offers give Page admins 90 characters of headline text, 900 characters of description text and a 90 x 90 pixel image to display the offer. For specific holiday ideas that involve Facebook Offers, check out the “6 Holiday-Themed Ideas for Using Facebook Offers” post on ShortStack’s blog, Socially Stacked.

7. Facebook “Want” Button: Facebook is testing out a new “Want” button that is similar to a gift registry. This new feature is rolling out slowly to users, and it’s something to watch for. It could be a big game changer for businesses.

Non Facebook-Related Holiday Promotion Ideas
Although the ideas below are not for Facebook, keep in mind all your other social media e orts can be cross-promoted on your business’s Facebook Page.

• Create a YouTube holiday playlist
• Tweet out holiday song lyrics
• Start a new holiday-themed board on Pinterest
• Ask users to share their favorite holiday memories
• Start a holiday-themed hashtag on Instagram and encourage your online audience to post pictures using it
• Create a fun holiday poll for your online fans and followers to take and share with friends
Chapter 2: The App Advantage

According to a survey of more than 800 Facebook Page administrators, the number one way to get users to engage with your brand is through promotions. For businesses, this information is really insightful.
However, Facebook’s promotion guidelines are extremely strict. In order for a business to run a promotion within Facebook’s guidelines, they must use a third-party application, like ShortStack. This is Facebook’s way of cutting down on spam and protecting the privacy of their Facebook users’ information.

When a business uses a third-party Facebook application platform, they can run contests and promotions, but the bene ts don’t stop there.

For example, depending on the plan you’re on, ShortStack features Advanced Analytics that report on app performance, specialty widgets for quick, professional app design and embed code so that users can put their apps on websites, blogs, and CMS platforms.

Wait a minute: what makes ShortStack qualified to give advice on this topic? Apps are our business,

so we know how to create a successful app concept and design. We also have broad knowledge on what it takes to promote a Facebook app. It’s through our
own experimentation and the results of our 160,000+ ShortStack users and 500 million Facebook Likes served that we are able to share our knowledge of what promotional e orts work the best on Facebook.
Chapter 3: Interactive Apps

Interactive Facebook applications can be described as apps that encourage fans and users to engage with your brand or business. Here are three interactive app ideas to do just that.

Cover Photo Design Contest
Designing a creative Timeline cover photo for the holiday season can be a challenge. Try creating a cover photo design contest for your Facebook fans to participate in. Design a Facebook app that includes the rules for the contest and submission instructions. While there’s tangible “prize” with this kind of contest, fans will compete to win that top spot on your Timeline.

After users email their submissions to you or upload their designs to Facebook and tag your Page in their submissions, upload the winner’s design as your business’s new Facebook Timeline cover photo. Remember to give credit to the cover photo design contest winner in the description.

Holiday Photo Vote Contest
Photos are by far the most Liked and shared types of content on Facebook. So why not harness the popularity of photos by creating a holiday-themed photo contest with ShortStack’s Promotions Widget, Voting Widget and Entry Count Widget? Fans will be able to upload photos directly to your app and vote for their favourites.

Get creative with the type of photo vote contest you run. The type of business you operate and the industry you’re in will determine what will work best. For example, if you own a pet shop, ask your fans to upload their cutest holiday pet photos. Or let’s say your business is in real estate- ask fans to upload photos of their outdoor holiday home decorations. On the day your contest ends, choose your holiday contest winner based on which entry has the most votes.

Tip for Selecting a Contest Winner
If you notice that one entry has a drastically higher vote count, it’s possible that there is some fraudulent voting going on. Before your promotion begins, write into the rules that your business reserves the right to disqualify entries if fraudulent activity is suspected. Although this cannot prevent fraudulent entries, it will decrease the number you receive.

Awesome ShortStack Case Study
Colin Boulter of Neilson Reeves Photography started using ShortStack in April 2012 when his Page had 100 Facebook fans. He began using ShortStack by running a small photo contest to test out some of ShortStack’s features. From his test contest alone, Colin increased his fan base by 350 percent. Using what he learned from his test contest, Colin launched a second photo contest using ShortStack. In two weeks, Colin’s fan base increased by 2,400 percent taking his fan base from 350 fans to more than 8,700. He even applied a joint strategy with a friend’s Facebook Page and was able to increase their fan count by 230 percent. Colin’s Facebook page continues to grow daily and he is working on turning his growing fan base into a revenue builder.

Virtual Gifts
You can create a Facebook holiday app that allows your fans to send virtual gifts to their Facebook friends directly from your Facebook Page with ShortStack’s Virtual Gifts Widget. This widget gives you complete creative freedom and control when choosing the gifts to offer.

Keeping the holidays in mind, here are three ultra-spirited virtual gifts to create for your Facebook holiday app:

1. Holiday eCards: Create comical or cheerful holiday ecards for users to share with friends throughout the holiday season.
2. Holiday Recipe: Everyone is in the kitchen during the holidays, and who doesn’t love a great recipe? Create a Facebook holiday app with your company’s favourite recipes, whether it’s Grandma’s cookie recipe or your Aunt Pam’s famous fall stew. Fans will not only feel inspired to try out your holiday recipes, they’ll want to share them with their friends, too!
3. Coupons and Deals: For lots of people, the holiday season is inextricably linked to shopping. Save your fans some extra bucks this season and host a Facebook app on your Page that lets fans redeem and share a holiday discount code or coupon. For product-based businesses, there’s really nothing better that you can give.
Chapter 4: Giveaway Apps

Giveaway applications promote fan excitement through giving away prizes and rewards. Here are three giveaway app ideas for your business to implement during the holiday season.

Refer-A-Friend Contest
Creating a contest using the Refer-A-Friend feature is one of the best ways to increase the reach of your contest. If your business is running a contest on your holiday app using ShortStack’s Refer-A-Friend feature, visitors who enter the contest will receive a referral link and the ability to share the contest on their Timeline. Each time a friend enters the contest via the referral link, the referrer receives extra entries into the contest.

When married with a giveaway app concept, the Refer-A-Friend feature creates a huge incentive for fans to share your business’s contest with as many of their friends as possible. The key to success is an awesome prize that relates to your fans’ wants and needs.

For example, let’s say you operate a catering company. Your giveaway prize could be a catered family dinner on a day of the winner’s choice in the month of November--including Thanksgiving day. Remember, your prize doesn’t have to be hugely expensive, it just has to be appealing to your fans.

Wishlist Giveaway
Facebook apps that host wishlist giveaways scream “The holidays are here!” People who nd joy in recalling memories from their younger years will love being able to create a wishlist because it will remind them of writing letters to Santa.

There are many ways to go about creating a wishlist giveaway app, but the most straightforward approach is to enlist the help of ShortStack’s Promotions Widget. Next, design a Promotion Form that includes a URL eld for users to share to their o -Facebook wishlist links. For example,

if your company is a product-based business, like a home decor ecommerce store, invite users to create and link to their wishlist from your company’s website.

If your company is a service-based business, but you still want to run a wishlist giveaway contest, you can have contest participants create and link to wishlists from outside retailer sites like Amazon.

30 Days of Giving
During the holiday season, a “30 Days of Giving” app concept is extremely popular. And for good reason. Although this application is more high maintenance than others, it is extremely e ective in increasing Facebook Page Likes.

Here’s what works well for most brands: first, decide which products or prizes you want to incorporate into your 30-day giveaway. Next, create your holiday- themed Facebook app with ShortStack’s Promotions Widget and Product Widget. Use the Product Widget to upload images, descriptions and links to your prizes. That way all your fans, whether they win or not, can get more information about the items you’re giving away.
Chapter 5: Non-Promotional Apps

Non-promotional Facebook applications are apps that host content not dealing with contests or promotions. The purpose of these apps is to obtain fan information or share relevant brand information. Here are three non-promotional Facebook app ideas for your business to test out during the holidays.

Crowdsource for Information
Facebook apps are for more than just promotions, marketing and advertising. Your fans’ opinions of your business are invaluable, and your fans are usually willing to give their opinions for free. This holiday season, is your brand going to release any new products, introduce new services or open a new location?

Your Facebook fans are your customers and they have opinions about all of these things. Crowdsourcing information using a custom Facebook app can give your business clear direction because you’re counting on your source of revenue for guidance.

Faces Behind the Brand
Give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make up your brand. Design a holiday-inspired Facebook app that features photos of employees along with stories of their favorite holiday memories. Or get a little more fun and create a sta slideshow featuring employees in their favourite ugly holiday sweaters.

Brand likability goes deeper than product favourability. It’s also comprised of outsiders’ perspectives of your brand’s culture. With your business’s next non-promotional Facebook holiday app, use your app as a powerful culture-shaping tool.

Product Countdown
Design a Facebook holiday app that features a different product or service every day of the week during the holidays. This gives your business the chance to show o the products or services that are not as well-known to your fans and customers.

For example, let’s say you own a cupcake bakery. Create a holiday countdown app that features a new cupcake avor each day throughout the month of November. This is the perfect opportunity to create excitement around new holiday flavours and seasonal bakery specials.
Chapter 6: Charitable Apps

Charitable Facebook applications are often used in an effort to promote a cause or support a fundraising effort. Here are three charitable Facebook app ideas that will help your business get in the true spirit of the holidays.

Inspire Time Donations
Cash donations are great for people with deep pockets, but for those with little change to spare during the holiday season, time donations prove just as valuable. This holiday season, choose a local charity or cause of your choice for your company to advocate. Instead of setting fundraising goals, focus your efforts on creating awareness and encouraging people to get involved.
With the easy-to-use Google Maps Widget, create a holiday app that inspires fans to get involved in their own neighbourhoods and communities. Use the Google Maps Widget to show places nearby to either volunteer or donate.

Match Your Users’ Efforts
Rather than just spread news about your support for a charity or cause, show fans that your company’s interest in creating positive change this season is more deeply rooted. Do this by creating a Facebook app that promotes your company’s philanthropic efforts. Your app should not only educate fans, but inspire trust and excitement as well.

Motivate your fans to get involved in your charity or cause by putting your money where your mouth is. For every dollar raised or donated by your fans, match the amount!

Like-Drive Template
Drive new Page Likes while supporting a charity or cause with ShortStack’s Like Drive Template. With a Like Drive Template your business is able to display the number of new ‘Likes’ on your Page and real-time progress toward reaching your goal. This is perfect when you’re tracking entries or dollars raised with each new “Like.”
Chapter 7: Facebook App Build and Launch Guide

Now that you’re filled with holiday app ideas, here’s a simple step-by-step guide that will help you start designing your Facebook holiday app today.

• Step 1: Decide which Facebook holiday app concept you want to implement
• Step 2: Set Facebook goals and create a timeline that details when and how long you want to run your app
• Step 3: Choose a third-party application platform
• Step 4: Design your holiday app
• Step 5: Publish and promote your holiday app
• Step 6: Evaluate the results garnered through the holiday app
Holiday is now, I don't see many pages actually change their layout for Christmasy feel
It is so sad that all the facebook hasn't change their design yet.
This reminds me to send physical greeting cards to me custoemrs

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