I admit it — every holiday season I get distracted by all the lights and glitter out there. I mean, have you seen the Christmas light competition shows on TV? They’re the best! When there’s so much going on, it’s hard to focus in on any one thing!
The odds are good that most of your customers out there have the same problem. When all the holiday ad campaigns go into full swing, the market gets deeply saturated with holiday promotions and sales.
Cutting through all that hoopla and grabbing your fair share of consumer attention can be tough during the holiday season. However, it isn’t impossible if you take advantage of some of the social media tools, like Instagram!
How Your Brand Can Benefit From Instagram This Holiday Season
The holiday season is a special time of the year — with special kinds of marketing opportunities and challenges. For most brands, the normal marketing routine goes out the window as soon as that first holiday tune gets played on the radio.
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday all require unique campaigns in rapid-fire succession. Just about every brand out there goes a little holiday-crazy — often directing multiple promotions toward consumers all at once!
Given that 8 out of 10 holiday shoppers are looking to the internet before they make a purchase this holiday season, and 76% of them will change their minds about where they buy once they start looking. That puts a lot of pressure on your brand to make your ad campaigns stand out.
However, it can be super hard to compete when you’re a local business — with a modest budget — and you’re trying to lure consumers away from the glitzy ad campaigns produced by industry giants like Starbucks and Target.
Instagram is just now coming into its own when it comes to marketing influence. However, Instagram’s importance is growing quickly. Around 71% of U.S. brands are on Instagram — and that’s nearly double the number that were on there back in 2016.
So, how can you use Instagram to make your smaller brand’s holiday season oh-so-merry and bright? Follow this guide to kick your holiday Instagram marketing up a notch and overcome all that holiday-season shopper “fatigue” that can happen:
Use Great Photos That Really Showcase Your Products
You can’t overlook the fact that Instagram is an “image-first” platform. You can’t just throw up any old photo of your products and expect consumers to buy them. If you want your products to stand out, you need to make sure that your photos and videos are simply spectacular.
You already know that visuals are important on Instagram, but they take on extra significance during the holiday season because the nation’s youngest shoppers — who are true digital natives — actually think about how good a gift will look in online photos before they buy it. 58% of female Generation Z consumers want gifts that will look great on their own Instagram feeds!
Take the time to do some creative planning for your holiday videos and photos before you shoot. Color schemes and props need to be evaluated to make sure that you’re adding to the richness of the overall visual effect — not detracting from your products. Excellent photos equal excellent strategy.
Tag Your Posts With “Buy” Buttons
Around 39% of Generation Z consumers plan to make all their purchases through “buy” buttons online — and 25% of them prefer to shop exclusively through photos, like on Instagram.
The easier you make it for your consumers to make a purchase, the more successful your holiday marketing will be. You can tag individual products that appear in your posts — like a sweater or a pair of cozy slippers — with buy buttons that will encourage your viewers to let their fingers do their shopping! Take the time to make sure that your Instagram posts are shoppable.
For a comprehensive guide on how to go about creating quality shoppable posts, check out this post on Boostability.
Engage Consumers Through Holiday Culture
Almost everyone has holiday traditions they love to follow. Almost everyone has something about the holidays they love — and something they hate. The holiday season is a huge part of American culture — and people love to share their own stories, thoughts, and ideas about the season.
Culture-focused content can overcome holiday fatigue by giving consumers a chance to focus on something besides shopping. You can also use culture-focused content to help you build those all-important bonds that turn viewers into customers. At the same time, content that lets consumers weigh in with their own ideas or stories can really boost the levels of engagement you see and create a bit of a buzz around your brand in general.
Starbucks capitalized on culture-focused content with a high level of consumer engagement in their 2017 holiday campaign by encouraging consumers to talk about their color-in cups and post photos of their own efforts. Starbucks was playing off the popularity of adult coloring books across the nation at the time. However, you don’t have to be Starbucks — or have Starbucks’ marketing budget — to make culture-focused content work for you. You just have to find a way to tie your brand into the American holiday culture and get people talking.
For example, if you sell sweets and cookies, you could post a picture of your cookies on a plate alongside a photo of a plate of carrots and celery and pose a question to viewers like, “What do you leave out for Santa and his reindeer?” If you sell clothing, post a photo of a snowman wearing your brand’s items and challenge viewers to share their own efforts at snowman building. Creativity — and a sense of holiday fun — is key.
Time Your Holiday Posts And Promotions For Maximum Impact
The odds are high that you’ll be offering some holiday sales or specials. In an increasingly competitive market, promotions drive interest. An attractive sale campaign can help drive more clicks your way — and more clicks translate into more sales!
Time your sales to run on weekends to capture the most consumer interest. One-third of holiday shoppers say that their weekend purchases are prompted by brand promotions. That makes sense, if you think about it, since a lot of consumers have to confine their shopping to non-working hours.
Start thinking about what promotion you want to run for Black Friday, which is on November 23rd, 2018. Consider following your Black Friday promotion with additional promotions that kick off every Friday. Changing your promotions each week is another way to keep consumers interested in what your brand has to offer.
A Few Final Thoughts
With Black Friday and all the other big shopping days just around the corner, it’s time to get started on your holiday marketing campaigns — especially when you consider the fact that larger brands have probably been planning theirs since mid-summer!
Given the importance that Instagram is likely to play into your overall holiday success, focus your Instagram efforts on creating visually-appealing content, an easy method for consumers to purchase what you have to offer, and encouraging consumers to engage with your brand around the cultural aspects of the holiday.