When is the appropriate time to put up holiday decorations? In December? After Thanksgiving? Before Halloween?
While the great decoration debate continues online, there’s no question that holiday marketing is beginning sooner than ever. About 63% of marketers we polled revealed their brand’s holiday content has moved earlier in the calendar over the past two years.
In this article, we’re exploring how your brand can lean into holiday marketing on social media to make the most of the elongated festive season—from early Black Friday campaigns to the beginning of the new year.
‘Tis the season for holiday marketing campaigns
From the coziness of autumn to the magic of a winter wonderland, seasonal marketing campaigns call upon the strong emotional connection we feel toward end-of-year holiday traditions. Nostalgic for joyful memories of holidays past, people got into the spirit early in 2020 and 2021, a trend we expect to see continue.
Traditionally, consumers celebrate this special time of year by splurging on gifts for loved ones (and themselves). This year will be no different. Experts predict total retail sales will hit a record high in 2022.
To make the most of the holiday season buzz, brands need to stand out in a competitive market with a strong omnichannel strategy. The first step is understanding where, how and when your audience will shop.
Holiday shopping will start early on social this year
Predictions show many consumers will return to the comfort and convenience of online channels to do their holiday shopping this year. With social commerce expected to increase by 25%, social media is the optimal place to bring your holiday marketing strategies to life. Of the marketers we asked, 90% will run social media holiday campaigns in 2022.
Holiday shopping hype is already building momentum on social. According to Sprout’s Advanced Listening tool, holiday marketers have started their social campaigns early in 2022. From September 20 to October 28, 2022, there were 77,000 Tweets about holiday deals, holiday shopping and the holiday season.
Follow these holiday marketing tips to create and execute a stand-out seasonal social strategy.
Social media platforms great for holiday marketing
When choosing platforms to use for your holiday marketing campaigns, it’s most important to consider where your audience spends their time on social. Posting on the channels they use most frequently is the best way to ensure they see your holiday promotions.
Some of the most popular holiday marketing social networks are Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and TikTok. Let’s dive into the benefits of each, and how you can tailor your content to perform well on each platform.
Guide to Instagram marketing this holiday season
Instagram is known as a popular platform for holiday marketing because of its visual-first nature. Share images and Reels of your products on the app to promote your holiday offers. Elevate your best deals, promos and events by featuring them in your bio link and shoppable posts. Provide shopping inspiration for your followers by creating holiday gift guides.
Take it a step further by reposting user-generated content (UGC) of people using (and loving) your products. You can also tap into UGC to find relatable holiday-themed content that will delight your community. Pro tip: even if the focus isn’t on your brand, UGC is one of the best ways to increase your awareness.
Don’t forget to shine the spotlight on the nonprofit organizations your brand is partnering up with this holiday season. Share photos/videos of your team volunteering and infographics about the organization’s impact.
Holiday marketing strategies on Pinterest
When you think holiday inspiration, you think Pinterest. Pinterest oozes holiday cheer, and is the destination for all things yuletide DIY.
During the holiday season, Pinners will be on the lookout for on-trend recipes, holiday outfit ideas, décor inspiration and more. Use your brand’s products to create visually appealing photos and short videos with these topics in mind. Include instructions on how to make it or wear it at home (including links to your website). You can position your posts as gift suggestions for your target audience, too (example: what to buy your best friend for Christmas).
Take it to the next level with shoppable Product Pins. These posts make it easy to go from searching for inspiration to buying something—all within the app.
Make the most of Twitter’s new shopping features during the holidays
Twitter is the first place social media users turn to get the latest news—including real-time holiday deals. Share discount codes and promos while they’re live to motivate your followers to take action. Although Twitter is a text-first app, images, GIFs and short videos related to your company’s products will help your brand stand out.
The best reason to start your holiday shopping early? Big savings! Shop during the Friends and Family Sale in-store and online with code “FRIEND” to save big on everything you need for the holiday! Find faves from brands like Levi’s, BCBG, Tommy Hilfiger, and more! pic.twitter.com/Gwp8ZwaTrr
— Macy’s (@Macys) October 27, 2022
With Twitter’s new social shopping features, we expect the platform to grow as a destination for commerce this holiday season. Use Twitter Shops to highlight up to 50 products from your online store. Feature five of those products on your profile using the Shop Spotlight tool.
Try hosting a Live Shopping event to drum up excitement within your community. If you’re launching new products this holiday season, take advantage of Product Drop Tweets to increase hype and encourage your audience to sign-up for updates.
Maximize holiday trends on TikTok
Gen Z uses TikTok as their preferred search engine. To reach them this year, consider how your holiday marketing can meet their search intent. Educate them about problems your products can help them solve (example: how to decorate your Christmas tree like a pro). Note: the holiday season is a great time to partner with TikTok creators who are already creating this content.
Even if your audience doesn’t include Gen Z, you can still use the app for your holiday marketing efforts. Reach a wide audience by tapping into trending sounds and going all-in on holiday aesthetics.
To maximize your earning potential on the app, add products from your website to your TikTok Shop. By creating a TikTok Shop, you can showcase products through in-feed videos, lives and product showcase tabs.
Ideas to fuel your holiday marketing (and brand examples)
Make the most of holiday marketing on social with content that resonates with your audience and conveys the essence of your brand.
Use these social media holiday marketing campaigns as sources of inspiration.
Spread holiday cheer
In the Uptown Chamber of Commerce’s annual free event, Winter Walk on Wilson, businesses in the northern Chicago neighborhood prepare sweet treats, warm drinks and menu samples to share with the community. Holiday music is played and Uptown’s Panda Claus is available for photo ops. The Chamber of Commerce, sponsors and participating businesses promote the event on social, sharing maps and photos from years past.
Whether you’re a small business or a global one, remember wholesome holiday cheer unites communities. Use social to promote your in-person and virtual events. In your content, lean into holiday traditions and customs beloved by your audience.
Tie your content to tales of long, long ago
Last year, AirBnB co-hosted a special holiday experience with the makers of the Home Alone franchise. People could book an overnight stay in the house they used to film the original movie—complete with recreations of iconic scenes. AirBnB shared staged photos of different rooms in the house on Instagram. The comment section lit up with excitement.
By incorporating classic holiday tales—from A Christmas Carol to A Christmas Story—in your holiday marketing, you activate the power of nostalgia. Experiment with fun ways to weave the stories into your social copy and visuals.
Make visions of sugarplums dance in their heads
Last holiday season, Cinnabon made every Twitter users’ mouth water. As a part of their holiday promotion on the app, they envisioned their famous cinnamon rolls as the MVP in your holiday meals, movie nights and parties. Their images and short videos captured both the decadence of their products and the cozy merriment of the holidays.
In your campaign, take a cue from Cinnabon by creating a scene filled with the hallmarks of the holidays. Show people the experiences they will be able to have because of your products.
Celebrate the spirit of the season
American Girl pays tribute to all of the holidays the children who love their brand celebrate during the festive season. In this post, they wished a joyous Kwanzaa to their followers and explained the cultural significance of the holiday.
Include your entire community by sharing holiday greetings for all major holidays—including Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hanukkah—during the end of the year. If you make a post, educate yourself about the holiday to make sure your content is respectful. While holiday deals and promotions have their place, building a genuine connection with your community will create enduring connections.
Be ready for holly jolly customer care
When Starbucks announced their 2022 holiday cups, they were immediately flooded with comments across platforms. Their social media team jumped into action to start answering frequently asked questions and engaging with fans of the new design.
Sprout’s data science team projects retailers can expect on average 18% more social messages per month this holiday season compared to the non-holiday months in 2022. With holiday campaigns kicking off sooner than ever, you need to prepare for holiday customer service spikes as soon as possible. Have a plan in place for answering common questions, engaging with your audience and passing off more complex issues.
Use these holiday marketing tips for a merry and bright holiday season
More people are turning to ecommerce and social shopping, and the most wonderful time of the year keeps getting longer. That means more pressure on social teams to design attention-grabbing campaigns and answer an influx of customer care inquiries.
As you gear up for the season, optimize your holiday marketing strategy by selecting the right platforms to reach your audience and producing best-in-class content.
Want to learn more about how your brand can bring your social “A” game this holiday season? Read our complete guide to social media marketing.