8 Hot Tips to Slay Your Social Media Holiday Content Strategy

Did you know that retailers can make 60% of their annual sales over the holiday period? Now imagine what a strategy powered by social media can help you achieve.

Below are 8 tips for deploying a well-crafted, well-rounded Instagram holiday strategy. Get cranking! 🎁🎊✨

H&M is on it, you guys.

The season of gifting has commenced with the calendar now expressly exhibiting December as our current month. How did this happen so fast? It feels like it was only a few weeks ago that we were wishing you a happy 4th of July and making beach lists. Alas, here we are at yet the turn of another year, contemplating the last 11 months and getting ready for the holiday rush.

For brands (you!), this December period is the most important in terms of driving revenue. While that's always been true, the opportunities have now reached epic peaks thanks social media... Which also means that the competition is fiercer than ever. Forget the Black Friday frenzy, this is the Christmas craze, where the majority of the population is hunting down the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Translation: everyone's buying. And a large chunk of us leave the task to the last minute, making those December weeks leading up to the 24th the most momentous. Especially for e-commerce.

While the need is there and the means for reaching consumers are more effective than ever, the choices available to them are also the most plentiful they've ever been. Everyone is playing the same game and some are making up their own rules, which means that those with the smartest strategies and best execution will prevail.

With that in mind, we put together a little Christmas campaign guide complete with eight essential tips to carry out the most robust of marketing strategies. It's time to fill your social media content calendar with yuletide cheer, holiday hashtags, and a ton of subtle sales pushes.

Here we go, ho ho ho! 🎅

The Canadian airline is famous for its Christmas campaigns, and it's using Insta to spread the cheer.

1. Tell a holiday story to generate buildup.

Think of holiday marketing as Instagram marketing campaigns on steroids. It's super condensed into a short and intense period of time, where all resources are allocated to one goal: moving product. And what is the most effective way to retain a consumer's affections? To tug at their heartstrings.

The holidays are ripe for emotional expenditure, and telling a visual story with your Instagram content is something that will earn you more than just double-taps (that's the sound of a cash register you're hearing). You'll be able to reap all kinds of sales benefits if your content tells a story deriving from your holiday strategy.

As we know, people use Instagram as a discovery tool, and while the channel will likely convert those discoveries to sales eventually, the more overt you are about getting people to buy, the less likely they will. Create engaging and meaningful content for your activations to connect with your audience — this is how you'll leave a consequential impression.

2. Run an Instagram contest.

We don't see as many Instagram contests as we used to, but that doesn't make them any less effective. In fact, leaning into that giving holiday spirit is a really powerful way to draw your audience in, create new connections, and incentivize followers to engage around your merch. It's almost like advertising through social media for free.

Go one step further and take a page out of British brand Jack Wills' book by making content-creation an entry parameter, and then putting all that great UGC on display with Dash Hudson's Spirit On-Site galleries.

3. Use Instagram Stories for complimentary content.

Think beyond your grid and make use of the Stories functionality to cross-promote. You'll be surprised by how much the two can be complimentary. That unfiltered quality of Instagram Stories also provides an advantage, as people relate to that raw sensibility it imparts.

Go a step further and venture into Live territory, which can complement a strategy nicely depending on your goals, your industry, and your audience.

This says "Greetings from the Christmas bakery." Followed by "The recipe for our mini gingerbread can be found in the first comment." Aka this German supermarket is seizing the holiday momentum to grab people by the heartstrings, aka with food.

4. Create and maintain a schedule.

With the Dash Hudson Scheduler, it's so much easier to be a step ahead of the game. You can plan your entire content schedule leading up to Christmas, complete with optimized posting times, while also planning the look of your feed with our feed previewer and drag-and-drop functionality.

This will enable you to make sure each promotion gets called out at the right time while also optimizing your link in bio (see next point), all of it having been previewed ahead to nail down a cohesive, storytelling disposition.

5. Drive traffic through your link in bio & link in Stories.

To maximize your chances of increasing your sales (or traffic) with your holiday content strategy, think about how key your link in bio can be. Just as we mentioned about Black Friday, you can add links to all your posts in advance through the Scheduler to ensure that you've got all angles covered.

Same goes with your link in Stories: make sure you're a business account to benefit from this tool, and add links to each story where product is featured to capitalize on that moment with your customer.

6. Promote through influencer marketing.

This remains an incredibly effective method, and the Instagram insights prove it. Commissioning a few on-brand, high-profile instagrammers to help spread the glee in your name is a great strategy to help you reach those year-end goals.

If you're not entirely sure about who to tap, head to the User Search function in your Dash Hudson dashboard, where you'll be able to find any influencer to determine whether their aesthetic, audience size, and engagement is what you're looking for. Don't forget that micro-influencers are a great bang for your buck and can enable you to go wider with your promos.

Party in style this season.👗🎉 #FillYourCartWithColor

A post shared by ebay.com (@ebay) on

Ebay is making a big holiday push on Instagram this year, making sure they get on people's radars for gifting.

7. Repurpose festive UGC.

To complete your festive Insta endeavors, fill in the voids you couldn't account for with your own content with user-generated media. There are so many advantages to this practice, and this especially goes if you're running a holiday Instagram contest (see point #2). It's undoubtedly going to help sales conversions, while also making those regrammed users feel loved, and consequently encouraging others to get on the content-generation train.

Sourcing user-generated content can present a big challenge, especially if your audience is too large to manually sift through your mentions. Good thing your Dash Hudson dashboard makes it a super quick, seamless process:

  • Go through your UGC Timeline or Organic reach tab, which you can filter by day or by week, to catch a comprehensive overview of all of your most influential, high-quality pieces of earned media.
  • Head to Location Monitor to source content where users have geotagged your brick-and-mortar locations. Or pick a festive place (Rockefeller Center Tree? Bryant Park skating rink? Columbus Circle Christmas market?) to unearth the most seasonally cheerful media there is. We will always surface the most influential, high-quality content first, so you're guaranteed to find the good stuff.
  • Looking for content you don't necessarily have any association with? Try our User Search tool to source posts from any public Instagram account. This is an especially great functionality if you have specific users in mind and want an easy way to run through their content.

The beautiful thing is that every piece of earned media you find on your DH Dashboard that you're keen to repurpose can be scheduled directly from that post into your Scheduler (see point #4), whether in your unscheduled section or directly into a time slot if you already know when a void needs to be filled. You can also attribute a shopping link for the post on the very same occasion (see point #5). Can you say time saver/Instagram marketing optimizer, much?

And if you're using influencer marketing (see point #6), you can search your hired instagrammers' accounts to easily find their posts about you for a seamless regram scheduling. Voilà.

8. Run paid ads.

There are no two ways about it: paid ads can be super effective if done the right way. And when it comes to the holiday purchase cycle, this is the time to really make a push. Create paid Instagram ads to publish alongside the editorial content that's on your gallery as complimentary promotional material.

But make sure that you choose the images for your paid promos wisely for them to actually work. The Dash Hudson Boards tool can help you decipher what your audience is most responsive to, and understand what type of posts people associate your brand with by analyzing specific content segments. Use your highest performing media for your paid ads, and watch your holiday campaign sore.

Seeking old silk magic hat for non-dancing snowman cookie. ⛄️🎩 #Thumpettythumpthump Regram: @jacklyn.lune

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on

Starbucks be sprinkling the holiday magic year after year. 2017 is no different.

There's no denying that the month of December is a marketer's dream, no matter the frenetic vibes. This is the chance for your brand to create palpable excitement through visual storytelling that will lead to a major end of year sales spurt. Remember: everyone is buying at the moment, and it's up to you to make sure you're getting the largest piece of the pie.

Follow these tips to close out Q4 with a strong finish, guaranteed. 🎄💰

Need more Instagram marketing tips? Get in touch today (right after you sign up for our weekly newsletter 👇).