How can social media help businesses drive traffic to their ecommerce or bricks-and-mortar sites this holiday season? CIO.com posed that question to dozens of marketers and social media experts. Following are their top seven strategies for how to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube to engage customers and get them \u2013 and their friends \u2013 to check out (and hopefully buy) your holiday offerings.\n1. Use a festive cover photo on your Facebook page (Twitter, too). \u201cOne of the best pieces of real estate to leverage [this holiday season] is your Facebook cover photo,\u201d says Melissa Ward, managing partner,\u00a0NewWard Development, which provides social media and Internet marketing and website design help. \u201cChange your Facebook cover photo to [something that you are promoting this holiday season] and be sure to include a link to the URL in the description.\u201d\n[Related: How to Use Email Marketing to Increase Sales This Holiday Season ]\nWhen choosing a holiday cover image, \u201cconsider seasonal photos that will connect emotionally with your audience, highlighting both your brand and message,\u201d says Jay Hawkinson, senior vice president, Emerging Products, SIM Partners, which provides digital marketing solutions. Just remember to \u201cbe subtle and discerning with holiday colors and themes, and avoid being garish.\u201d\n2. Create holiday-related boards on Pinterest. \u201cCreate gift idea boards on Pinterest with gifts from all around the Web and a few of your own products thrown into the mix,\u201d say Michelle Friedman, director of Marketing,\u00a0Medical Scrubs Collection. \u201cAdd Pin It buttons to product pages on your site and feature 'most pinned items' on your home page.\u201d And \u201cmake sure that your Pinterest pins feature well photographed, [attractive] images\u201d that will appeal to holiday shoppers.\n[Related: 9 Digital Marketing Tips for Connecting With Teens\n3. Create a fun holiday YouTube video and include a hidden offer code. \u201cCreate a fun [holiday] video with a hidden offer code,\u201d for, say, 10 or 20 percent off a purchase, or free shipping or a free gift, suggests Juan Velasquez, marketing specialist, DoItWiser, a provider of toner cartridges and green office supplies. Just be sure to \u201clet people know there is a discount code hidden somewhere in the video to encourage active viewing and sharing\u201d \u2013 and include a link to a dedicated landing page in the description.\n4. Use holiday-related hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. On both Twitter and Instagram, \u201cbe sure to research and use appropriate holiday hashtags, e.g., #HoHoHo and #Christmas2014, with your posts,\u201d says Michelle Garrett, owner,\u00a0Garrett Public Relations. \u201cExperiment to see what works best. And include a dedicated URL to track those who click through.\u201d\nOther popular holiday Twitter and Instagram hashtags include #holidayshopping, #christmasgifts, #stockingstuffer and #wishlist.\n5. Blog or post about holiday-related topics of interest to your audience. \u201cWrite blog posts that tie into the holidays,\u201d suggests Garrett.\n[Related: 9 Inexpensive Ways to Get Your Business Noticed Online ]\nFor example, you could \u201cprovide advice on what to wear and\/or bring to family parties or corporate events or [provide suggestions on] gift giving,\u201d says Adam Forrest, senior director, Americas Marketing,\u00a0Demandware, a scalable commerce platform for enterprise retail.\n6. Ask followers to share their holiday tips and memories on Twitter. \u201cPeople love to share their Christmas tips and hints,\u201d says Velasquez. So \u201cget people talking about their festive habits, purchases and activities [on Twitter].\u201d To get people talking (or tweeting), start discussions with open-ended questions like, \u201cWhat are some fun stocking stuffer ideas?\u201d \u201cWhat\u2019s your favorite holiday cocktail?\u201d or \u201cWhat\u2019s your favorite Christmas song?\u201d\nTo keep track of conversations, use hashtags like #stockingstuffers, #ChristmasMusic, #holidaycocktail.\n7. Hold a holiday-themed Facebook contest or giveaway. \u201cWhat better way to ignite the holiday spirit than with a holiday-themed contest?\u201d asks Cliff Corr, director of Client Marketing,\u00a0Rockhouse Partners, which provides digital solutions for live events. \u201cPhoto contests [especially with prizes for, say, the funniest holiday photo or ugliest holiday sweater,] are a fun way to gain new followers and increase engagement. And according to SociallyStacked, 63.4 percent of Facebook users say they are likely to share a link to a holiday contest or giveaway.\u201d\nYou could also host \u201ca holiday-themed daily prize draw campaign, such as, \u2018The 12 Days of Christmas,\u2019 [held over 12 days leading up to Christmas,] to encourage followers to visit your Facebook page every day,\u201d suggests Velasquez.