7 Winning Social Media Marketing Strategies for the Holiday Season

Loomly blog featured image with title: seven winning social media marketing strategies for the holiday season next to cart filled with holiday gifts

The holiday season isn’t all about fun and relaxation for social media marketers. It’s one of the most critical (and stressful) times of year for small business owners, marketing teams, and agencies alike.

58% of shoppers will be looking to social media for holiday-buying inspiration. 

And with $33.9 billion in sales between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday in 2021 — at its peak, shoppers were spending $12 million every minute — you can bet that second helping of pumpkin pie that every single brand on the internet will be vying for their attention with outrageous offers. 

So, how do you stand out at a time when social media users’ feeds will be the noisiest they’ve been all year?

We’ve put together 7 winning holiday social media marketing strategies to help you put your brand on the Nice List (sorry… we had to) this year.

1. Plan ahead

Starting your social media holiday marketing efforts early has two key benefits. First, it gives you an opportunity to generate buzz. Second, it gives you a head start. 

Users’ social media feeds will get more cluttered the closer you get to the big day. So, by announcing your 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:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

But there’s no reason you couldn’t do this earlier. 

According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers increasingly want to beat the crowds, to the point where, in 2021, 49% started browsing for holiday gift ideas before November. So, you might be able to get away with posting as soon as mid-October. 

The trick is to be subtle. 

For example, instead of posting about your Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday offers, you could create a gift guide customers can browse for inspiration, like this one from Zara Home:

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Zara Home Official (@zarahome)

2. Create a sense of urgency

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about the FOMO, so make sure this comes out clearly in your marketing. 

You can create a sense of urgency using one or more — or all three — of these techniques:

  • Convey scarcity

Walmart’s 2021 Black Friday Instagram Reel, for instance, says ‘while supplies last’ on every offer. Using this tactic too frequently, however, can cause you to lose its impact over time (we all know Walmart has plenty of supplies).

Be genuine about your offering, and try to take things further by making Black Friday your only sale of the year, like Glossier did:

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Glossier (@glossier)

  • Set a deadline

Of course, the whole point of Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and of other holiday sales — is that the offers are only for a limited time. 

While you might think this will be obvious to your customers, don’t underestimate the power of reminding them. If they’re still on the fence about whether to buy, words like ‘Hurry’, ‘Last Chance’, or ‘Before it’s Gone’ still can help compel them to take action. 

  • Offer a discount

Whether it’s a freebie — free shipping or a surprise gift, for instance — 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 makeup brand Kosas did:

Kosas makeup instagram post for their holiday sitewide sale

3. Run a giveaway

Nothing screams holiday cheer like a giveaway. The season is all about giving, after all!

Giveaways can excite your current customers, and put your brand in front of a whole new segment of customers who might not have heard of you before at the same time. For example, 91% of Instagram posts with over 1,000 comments are contests. If you can encourage your current customers and brand champions to share on their channels, it’s a huge engagement opportunity.

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:

Bulk supplement brand holiday sweepstakes Instagram post promoting chance to win $100

You can always get creative and lean more into the holiday theme. In 2018, luxury brand The White Company did a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway, named after the iconic Christmas carol.

4. Use special hashtags

You should add hashtags to every single one of your social media posts (you are, aren’t you?). But they’re especially important during peak times like the holidays. 

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 19.1 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. 

While you’re at it, why not take things to the next level and run a hashtag campaign?

To raise awareness for their Halloween promotion, for instance, Chipotle ran a branded hashtag challenge called #Boorito which encouraged TikTok users to show off their Halloween costumes.

Chipotle Boorito TikTok Hashtag Challenge imagery

With 4.2 billion views to date, it’s safe to say the campaign has been an enormous success. Check out Chipotle’s 2021 expansion of #Boorito into the Metaverse via Roblox here

5. Use Instagram Shop or TikTok Shop

The beauty of Instagram Shop and TikTok Shop is that they make buying quick and painless — your customers don’t even have to leave their social media feeds. And, the easier the process is for them, the more likely they’ll be to press the big BUY NOW button. 

Perfume Boss, for instance, saw a 368% increase in orders since joining TikTok Shop. 

PerfumeBoss TikTok Shop success story featuring owners and quote reading "There's no other platform that offers the features that TikTok Shop provides."

Similarly, joining Instagram Shop boosted luxury brand Barbour’s Instagram sales by 42% and increased traffic to their website from Instagram by 98% 

Instagram Shop and TikTok Shop are both free to join, but you’ll need to submit your storefront for review. So, if you want to make it part of your holiday marketing, plan ahead. 

Once you’re up and running, you can link posts and ads to your store, or even create special holiday collections and events.

6. Give customers a reason to come back

According to Shopify, customers acquired on Black Friday and Cyber Monday have lower lifetime value than customers acquired at other times of the year. So, for your holiday marketing efforts to be truly worthwhile, you need to treat those sales as a foot in the door. 

One way to keep customers engaged after the dust settles on Black Friday and Cyber Monday is to run additional special offers. For example, you could offer them a discount on products that complement what they’ve bought — like money off socks when they buy a pair of shoes. 

Make sure you take steps to continue building a long-term relationship with your customers:

  • Thank your new customers for buying from you with a personalized message, using features like Instagram Direct
  • Ask them to follow your social media accounts if they don’t do so already
  • Encourage them to share their experience with family and friends. For example, you could ask them to leave a review on your Facebook page in exchange for an additional discount code

7. Get quirky

November and December aren’t just about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other traditional marketing holidays. There are also fun social media holidays like World Television Day, National Cookie Day, and Christmas Jumper Day to take advantage of as well.

You don’t necessarily have to run special promotions linked to these, but they’re an opportunity to boost brand awareness, make a deeper connection with your audience, and have some fun along the way.

The San Antonio Spurs, for instance, made this hilarious video with action shots of star player Dejounte Murray. Except, instead of putting a basketball into the net, he’s dunking a large cookie into a huge bowl of milk.

Holiday social media marketing in a nutshell

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and the wider holiday season) are a stressful time to be a social media manager. Your customers are more active online than at any other time of year, and competition for attention is at its fiercest. 

For this reason, it’s critical to plan ahead, build up anticipation, and use best practices like hashtags and urgency techniques.

More importantly, remember to measure your results so you can understand what’s working well — and what isn’t — iterate, and improve. With Loomly’s Advanced Analytics, you can take an in-depth look at key metrics, including your reach, impressions, and engagement rate, with just a few clicks.

Ready to win this holiday season? Start your free trial of Loomly today!