Companies can gain more traction than they might think over the holiday season if they play their cards right. If you do marketing for your firm, you should be well aware that you can gain extra footing these days through your social media strategy.

Facebook recently released a study in which the company explored the nature of the influence technology has had on holiday shopping around the globe. The social media giant also commissioned Ipsos to look at holiday shopping habits and attitudes among more than 21,000 people over the age of 18 in 17 countries.

The two companies' findings unveiled substantial growth in mobile use to connect with businesses, and given that fact, social media marketing played a massive role. Based on the study's findings, here are some of the top social media marketing strategies you ought to try this holiday season.

1. Market products as both gifts and personal items

Out of the 21,000 surveyed, 52 percent said they like to use the holidays to buy gifts not only for other people, but also for themselves. In addition, folks who purchase products on mobile are 1.3 times more likely to purchase a product for themselves, and those who draw a high income are 1.36 percent more likely to buy a personal item.

This information is extremely useful for marketers who can encourage self-gifting as well as gifts for others. Encouraging more impulse buys through two-for-one deals and similar offers can give your firm an edge with this audience.

2. Use Black Friday and similar shopping holidays to your advantage

One out of every four consumers will shop Black Friday sales around the world. This includes Cyber Monday on Amazon and similar online sales. The top four countries for shopping sales consist of Brazil, the United States, South Africa, and South Korea.

You would do well to target some of your advertising around Black Friday sales. By putting your products on sale, you might lose a little revenue on each, but you'll attract a wider audience and potentially increase your volume.

3. Create videos, greeting cards, and other shareable media because they're more likely to go viral

Whether it's due to the holiday spirit or the unfriendly weather, consumers are likely to share videos, posts, photos, and other shareable company productions during the last three months of the year more than at any other time.

The research found 26 percent more posts, photos, and videos than other parts of the year and 49 percent more video posts. Eighty percent of these posts, photos, and videos were shared on mobile devices.

So marketing more visually during the holiday season increases the likelihood that your media might go viral. Put some extra time and effort into media production over the next few months.

4. Holiday shopping starts early and goes late, so keep up your game

Though the holiday season doesn't officially start until late November, many holiday shoppers aren't waiting until that late in the year to do their shopping. Research has indicated they begin buying gifts before October in order to beat the rush.

As much as 45 percent of shoppers say they plan to get their shopping done before Black Friday, but 54 percent of shoppers do most of their shopping in December or even later, which shows it's an ongoing trend for the last quarter of the year.

If you can manage it, marketing should be a consistent activity from early October into January. Employing marketing strategies before Halloween that carry for several months should improve both your overall marketing efforts and your sales results.

5. Take advantage of Facebook and mobile ads to target millennial customers

Millennials hold most of the buying power in retail today, which underscores the importance of marketing toward millennials this holiday season. According to the research findings, the general surveyed population is 1.81 times more likely to research gift ideas on Facebook, but millennials are 1.53 times more likely to do so. Also, Facebook offers seamless ad integration and analytics, making it easy to see how your audience is being reached, according to Insightly. Don't overlook the benefits of this platform.

However, millennials are much more likely to use Instagram, an entirely mobile app, to do their shopping. The study showed they're 3.19 times more likely to use Instagram, almost double the 1.85 times found among the general population.

When you post content, photos, or videos, homing in on the Facebook and Instagram feeds is vital. If you haven't included Instagram in your marketing strategy, doing so could make a surprisingly big difference, especially with your millennial customers this holiday season.

Published on: Sep 30, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.