The fourth quarter of the year is upon us, with the most extensive shopping period — the winter holiday season.
Retailers raked in $942.6 billion in holiday sales last year. So, this is one of the most critical times of the year for small business owners, marketing teams, and agencies.
58% of shoppers turn to social media channels for holiday-buying inspiration. You can bet that second helping of pumpkin pie that every brand on the internet will be vying for their attention with outrageous offers.
How do you stand out at a time when social media feeds will be the noisiest they’ve been all year?
We’ve compiled ten Christmas social media marketing strategies to help land your brand on the Nice List.
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10 Christmas social media strategies for 2023
Nothing screams holiday cheer like a giveaway. ‘Tis the season of giving, after all!
Giveaways can excite your current customers and, at the same time, put your brand in front of a customer base who might not have heard of you before.
Plus, giveaways can be a huge engagement opportunity if your customers and brand champions share on their channels.
A giveaway can be as simple as asking your followers to tag a friend for a chance to win, like this one from health supplement brand Bulk:
You can also get creative and lean more into the holiday theme. In 2022, Edible Arrangements did a Christmas giveaway where participants were instructed to comment “HOLLY” on the post. The lucky winner would receive a “JOLLY” response from the brand:
2. User-generated content (UGC)
UGC is an excellent way for existing customers to organically showcase your brand to millions of potential customers.
These posts about your product highlight the user’s personal holiday experiences and unique flair. They reach other users within the user’s tribes and spheres of influence that you may not have reached otherwise.
Encourage your followers to create and share content and engage with the community using hashtags, questions, and contests.
Every year, Starbucks shares UGC featuring their holiday cups and the #starbucks hashtag, such as this Christmas cup tree by one user:
@starbucks Upcycled cups never looked so festive. ✨🎄 🎥: @JZed #Starbucks #ChristmasTree #ChristmasDecor #ChristmasCountdown ♬ original sound – Starbucks
And this adorable pairing of holiday cup and reindeer cake pop (also sold at Starbucks) by another user:
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And this homage to Starbucks cups over the years from various users:
Thankful to celebrate each season with you. 💚 Here's to 25 years of holiday cup cheer!
With amandakammarada, heleneinbetween, trishaglass, lisa.boettcher, mariah_of_mainstreet, chalkfulloflove, jenpixi (all on IG) and so many more. pic.twitter.com/hsgvjif6aV
— Starbucks (@Starbucks) November 10, 2022
3. Holiday offerings
Spread some holiday cheer by sharing your holiday-themed gift cards, bundle deals, and seasonal product offerings on your social media pages.
You can promote them through standalone posts pinned to the top of your feed, highlight them in Stories or Reels, or build campaigns around them.
These offerings help existing customers introduce new customers to your brand and give a sampling of your products.
Run sales or bundle deals for holiday gift cards like BOGO Free or BOGO 50% off. You can also offer a gift by purchasing several holiday gift cards. Or you can create gift bundles containing gift cards and holiday exclusives.
Last year, Regal Cinemas offered $10 concessions bonus cards for every $50 gift card purchased in their theaters.
They promoted this deal with Puss in Boots-themed holiday promos on their social media platforms throughout November and December. This way, they simultaneously promoted both their gift card deal and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish:
4. Festive post designs
Deck your digital halls and add some holidazzle to your social media posts and homepages:
- Use holiday-themed emojis and festive language in your posts 🧑🎄🎄☃️❄️
- Apply holiday effects to your Stories, Reels, profile pictures, and cover photos (sparkles, snow, lights, ornaments, Christmas music, color accents, etc.)
- Post holiday images, GIFs, and memes
Stay mindful of your brand image, ensuring you dress your social pages in holiday magic rather than drown them in it. The “decor” should accentuate the brand and products.
You also want to stay consistent across social platforms, blogs, ads, and in-store.
5. Christmas wish lists and checklists
Drive engagement with your followers by curating Christmas wish lists and checklists and sharing them.
Inspire your followers and provide opportunities for them to inspire each other by sharing their own lists or items they’d add.
Wayfair has a massive Pinterest collection of holiday decor ideas. There’s a board for every holiday, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas (titled Home for the Holidays), and New Year’s Eve:
And World Market recently released a tantalizing sneak peek of their new holiday decor:
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6. Christmas gift guides
Gift guides are an excellent way to showcase and generate interest in your merchandise. They can help shoppers decide what gifts to buy for their loved ones.
Plus, the easier the shopping process, the more likely they will hit that “BUY NOW” button. Perfume Boss, for instance, saw a 368% increase in orders since joining TikTok Shop.
Instagram Shop and TikTok Shop are both free to join. However, you must submit your storefront for review, so plan accordingly. Once you’re running, you can link posts and ads to your store or create special holiday collections and events.
7. Share Christmas recipes
One of the highlights of the holiday season is the food. Many people have traditional family recipes that don’t even see the light of day except during this one period a year.
People especially love sharing and swapping traditional and fresh recipes during the holidays. If it makes sense for your niche, you can get in on this action by posting recipes or listicles that compile great recipes.
On Pinterest, you can create a recipe or holiday checklist board for your brand that includes recipes.
Ask followers what they think of the recipes if they’ve tried any. Encourage them to comment with their own recipes or what their favorite holiday dishes are. You can even have them share photos like Ghirardelli does across all their social pages:
Tons of niches can incorporate this strategy:
- Fitness, health, wellness, nutrition, medical — healthy recipes, vegetarian/vegan recipes, gluten-free, protein-packed, anti-inflammatory, etc.
- Real estate — cookie recipes (because there’s always that plate of cookies at the open house)
- Travel — holiday dishes from around the world, ethnic recipes
- Pets — homemade treat recipes for pets
- Entertainment — fandom-inspired recipes, list of celebrity dish favorites
- Family, Education, Childcare — easy recipes for kids, no-bake recipes
8. Christmas countdown
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about FOMO, and the period from then until Christmas is all about anticipation and expectation. Institute countdowns at various points of the holiday shopping period to ramp up that sense of urgency.
You can use one — or all three — of the following techniques:
1. Convey scarcity
Walmart’s 2021 Black Friday Instagram Reel ensures every offer depicted says “while supplies last.”
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However, using this tactic too often can dilute the impact over time. Make sure to use it on items that genuinely have a limited supply and are expected to sell out.
2. Set a cutoff date
Massive Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday sales are only offered for a limited time by design.
If customers are still on the fence about whether to buy, phrases like “Hurry,” “Last Chance,” or “Before It’s Gone” can still compel them to take action. A timer on your homepage or shopping cart can also offer a little nudge.
3. Offer a gift or discount
Whether you’re offering a surprise gift, free shipping, or loyalty rewards, discounts or bonuses can help you seal the deal.
To boost sales even further, link your freebie to a minimum spend. For example, you could offer free shipping on orders over $50. Or you could give your customers a bigger discount as they spend more, like the makeup brand Kosas:
9. Challenges and photo contests
Photo contests and challenges are big hits, especially on Instagram.
Challenge your followers to complete some action or leave a specific holiday-themed comment, like finishing song lyrics, answering a question, solving a puzzle, or captioning a photo.
The winner(s) can be chosen randomly or based on their comments.
Or hold a photo contest, encouraging followers to show off their pets, Christmas trees, decor, ugly Christmas sweaters, snow days, baked goods, etc. They can also post pics of themselves using or wearing your product.
Choose one winner or up to a few from among the entrants, or have the community vote for their favorites. Here’s an example of Petco’s holiday photo contest last year for inspiration:
10. Make a Christmas video
Video content has dominated the marketing field. It scores high in affordability, usability, and ROI among marketers. Videos are also the most popular and shareable content to consumers. So, Christmas videos are a must-have within your holiday strategy.
Videos activate the imagination and stir emotions in ways that still visuals can’t. Leverage these effects with feel-good, nostalgic holiday imagery and sounds blended with your branding.
Highlight a product, offer a brief Christmas greeting, or create an interactive experience. Or post a fun, holiday-themed ad to YouTube and share it on your social pages, like this awesome Home Alone-themed holiday ad from Aldi UK:
It doesn’t necessarily need anything fancy to make a huge impact. Take the classic Hershey’s Kisses Christmas Commercial, for example.
This timeless classic first aired in 1989 and aired on TV every holiday season for 34 years. People also share it on social media and bond over the nostalgia it triggers.
For millions across the US and Canada, it’s just not Christmastime until this commercial airs.
How to build a holiday marketing campaign
1. Understand your audience
Determine what delights your followers specifically. Use questions and polls to hear from users themselves what content they enjoy most.
With Loomly’s Advanced Analytics, you can take an in-depth look at key metrics, such as reach, impressions, and engagement rate, with just a few clicks. Then, you can see what your audience has been actively engaging with most.
It’s also beneficial to consider what has and hasn’t worked in years past.
2. Plan ahead
Starting your social media holiday marketing efforts early gives you a head start and an opportunity to generate buzz.
Social media feeds will get more cluttered closer to the big day. By announcing holiday offers ahead of time, you’ll lower your chances of getting lost in the shuffle.
In 2021, Bath and Bodyworks built excitement and anticipation by announcing their special Black Friday deal a week in advance:
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But there’s no reason you couldn’t do this earlier.
Last year, 56% of shoppers reported starting their holiday shopping in October, earlier than ever. They’re deliberately searching for value and ensuring product availability by starting long before Black Friday rolls around.
Brands are responding in kind. Last year, Zara Home opened its Christmas market in early November:
And World Market, eager beavers that they are, released their early holiday launch line back in August:
3. Set measurable campaign goals and objectives
What do you want to accomplish with your holiday campaign?
Increase sales of existing items? Promote a new product line? Expand reach and brand awareness to new followers? Nurture and strengthen current customer relationships? Outreach and advocacy for a cause?
How long do you want your campaign to run? Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday? Thanksgiving through Christmas? A few weeks in between? All of November and December?
What does success look like for you? What metrics will you focus on?
Clearly define your goals, how you’re going to measure those goals, and the timeframe within which to accomplish those goals. Let that be your Christmas star guiding you through the campaign from start to finish.
4. Choose your strategies and create your campaign
Now comes the fun part. Choose which strategies you’ll implement this year and create your holiday campaign. Create unique hashtags and incorporate them into your social media marketing strategy.
Hashtags group related posts together by topic. So, by adding relevant ones to your holiday-themed posts, you make it easier for potential customers to discover your offers and your brand.
On TikTok, for instance, #blackfridayshopping has 84.1 million views. Similarly, #blackfridaydeals are popular with bargain hunters on Instagram.
With Loomly, using the right hashtags is quick and easy. Hashtag Suggestions recommends trending hashtags, as well as hashtags that are related to the topic of your post.
Why not take things to the next level and run a hashtag campaign?
For example, for the past two Black Fridays, Kohl’s has run a giveaway on Twitter (X) using #KohlsBlackFridaySweepstakes. A handful of lucky participants get chosen to receive e-gift cards for $500, $1,000, and $5,000.
We’re giving away e-gift cards for $5,000, $1,000 and $500. Follow @kohls on Twitter, retweet this post & include #KohlsBlackFridaySweepstakes for a chance to win. | NO PURCH NEC. Ends 11/10/22. 50 US/DC, 18+ only. Odds/Rules: https://t.co/tGeUBLfJDr Void where prohibited. pic.twitter.com/RmTGBmwPcQ
— Kohl's (@Kohls) November 4, 2022
5. Collaborate with influencers
Reach out to influencers that vibe with your brand image, love your offerings, and operate within your niche (or at least in the general ballpark of your niche).
Invite them to collaborate with you on your holiday campaign and into the creative process. Or you can also offer them free holiday merch in exchange for the free publicity and just let them do what they do best.
Either way, you’re tapping into a sizable, loyal follower base that you would otherwise have more difficulty reaching and winning over.
G Fuel Energy markets its products primarily to gamers, anime fans, and other self-professed “nerds.” Therefore, it collaborates with various professional gamers and YouTubers within that culture.
Among its most well-known influencers is Tyler “Ninja” Blevens, who helped promote a BOGO deal last year for a product named after him:
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6. Have a customer retention strategy
The retention rate for customers acquired during the holiday season is typically lower than that of customers acquired at other times. So, for your holiday marketing efforts to be truly worthwhile, you must treat those sales as a foot in the door.
Ways to keep customers engaged after the dust settles include:
- An email campaign that welcomes the customer formally introduces your brand, nurtures the customer relationship, and provides news and updates
- A deal on the new customer’s very next purchase as a thank-you
- An annual campaign that starts in January following New Year’s to keep up the momentum
- A streamlined, easy, and flexible returns process
- A personalized thank-you message through features like Instagram Direct
- An invitation to follow your social media accounts if they aren’t doing so already
- A request for a product review on your social media profiles in exchange for an additional discount code
- Excellent customer service and customer experience management
- A customer loyalty program or referral program
Holiday social media marketing in a nutshell
Customers are more active online during this festive season than at any other time. Competition for their attention is also at its fiercest at this time.
So, planning, building up anticipation, standing out, and leaning into the season’s spirit is critical. Connecting with consumers beyond the surface-level transaction is key.
Loomly helps you do all of this and more. It enables you to plan, create, schedule, organize, manage, and evaluate social media content across all platforms from one collaborative interface.
Ready to win this busy holiday season? Start your free trial of Loomly today!