How social media can save you money this Christmas – consider us your online elf.

How much time do you reckon you spend on social media? Too much, we guess. Now’s the time to put all that surfing to good use and snare a bargain. Here are some social media hacks to help you get savvy online and find discounts when you’re Christmas shopping. Just because a retailer’s website isn’t highlighting any sales does not mean that deals are not up for the taking. Consider us your online elf navigating your path through social media.

1. Use social media to snare a bargain this Christmas. Turn to Instagram and Twitter and type in hashtags for an effective bargain search. For links to voucher codes, try these: #£deal #£offer #deal #coupon #blackfriday. Get creative in your search, the bargains are there; you just have to find them. Choose specific keywords and actual brand names to narrow down your results.

2. Sign up to newsletters and secrets sales. Yes, they may clutter up your inbox but they also flag up discounts and online flash sales. Often if you create an account with a store, or register for their newsletter, you are rewarded with additional discounts. For example, Made.com gives you £10 off your first purchase after setting up an account.

3. To sniff out good deals, get involved or at least read the live chats between bargain hunters and online stores. If the live chat window pops up when you’re browsing, don’t close it but use this time to ask for a discount. Some shops give to those who ask.

4. Check the Facebook pages of voucher websites such as coupons.com, vouchercodes.co.uk, myvouchercodes.co.uk and vouchercloud.com. Some shops like Gap always seem to have a code on offer. Some shops like Gap always seem to have a code on offer. Also, look to the Facebook marketplace that helps you buy and sell within your community.

5. Do you know what a shopbot is? It’s the nickname for ‘shopping robots’ that are intelligent software agents searching several online stores for a specific product. A shopbot is a great tool when you know what you’re looking for and want the cheapest price. Look to www.123pricecheck.com, www.pricerunner.co.uk and kelkoo.co.uk. MegaShopBot lets you search from several shopbots at the same time.

6. Follow the social channels of businesses. Follow their social platforms, especially Twitter and Facebook and you’ll realise that they reward loyal customers with discount codes and early entry to sales. Some sites will offer you a discount code when you mention them on social media. Spread their word.

7. Follow cashback websites on Twitter such as Quidco and Top_CashBack if you want to earn money as you spend. You will also stay in the loop of their latest deals.

8. Brace yourself for an onslaught if you follow @HotUKDeals but it may just be worth it. The site is the British version of @DealsPlus who prices items in dollars (still worthy of attention as many retailers offer free shipping).

9. Set up automatic price-drop alerts and never pay full price again. Sites such as LoveSales enable you to add products from any site to your LoveSales watch-list. It then alerts you when the items drop in price. You know the instant they go on sale. Shopological is another good one.

10. Don’t be too shy to contact a retailer’s social team directly and ask for a voucher code. State that you’re a loyal customer and they may reward your boldness with a gesture of goodwill. There are often codes available for the taking. No harm in asking.

11. Ask your friends for recommendations. Word of mouth via social media is the most powerful of tools; ask your network to share sales news and voucher codes.

Updated November 2017