Believe it or not (like it or not?) the holiday season is once again just around the corner. Summer is coming to a close, pumpkin spice is making a comeback, and Instagram continues to climb in popularity, showing massive strength for marketers this fall and winter.
With Instagram’s rapid rise in the digital marketing world, you need to be sure you’re using it to market your products and services. But it’s important to note that Instagram doesn’t function like many other platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Whether you’re on the site already or you’re finally making the jump, you need to know how to make the right changes if you want to succeed without any waste along the way. These tips will help you stand out.
Update Your Profile Page
Make a few quick tweaks to your profile page. Alter your thumbnail image, make a couple of wording changes to add a holiday vibe, or overhaul the entire thing. As with websites, occasional fresh changes help with ranking on Instagram, especially in your bio.
Have a holiday-themed website? Make sure you update your website URL to lead into that special content, not just your main page. Take the same advice for special landing pages.
Showcase Your Charity Work
It’s good for your business to get involved in charitable work throughout the year. Not only does it get you free publicity, but it also shows that you’re about more than just cold, hard cash, and audiences love that kind of attitude. The holiday season is a great time to put extra emphasis on the way your company feels about supporting the community.
The festive season is all about sharing. Document your food drives, trips to soup kitchens, or any other volunteer work your organization participates in along the way. Showcase the work your business does as a group, but also share the projects your employees love and support, too. Showing the public that you are dedicated to bettering the community around you is critical to your brand’s reputation.
Connect with the Community
Even if you can’t partner or participate with your own product or service, make sure you showcase the activities going on in your community for the holidays. Share pictures of parades, decorations, and other special events happening with the town, local charities, and schools to be more relatable. Your fans will love that you are participating, supporting other small businesses, and generally staying involved.
Incorporate video into your Instagram feed – and don’t be afraid to inject a little humor into your creations, either. You don’t have to show a particular product or special price to have an impact.
Show your products in use, solve a problem, or offer tips, or show your audience an out-of-the-box way to utilize what they’ve already purchased from you. Add a little holiday flair for a bigger one-two punch.
Use this opportunity to create special moments, too. Let your fans know when you will be going live so they know to tune in. You can even tease them with the promise of a special “event only” coupon code for those that stick with you until the end of the broadcast.
Work with Influencers
Look for a few Instagram influencers in your niche; watch what they’re doing and how they interact with their audiences. They should have a strong presence and at least 3-5 percent engagement on their posts. Send them gift bundles in exchange for a few posts on their feed showcasing your holiday-themed package and tagging your page.
Take this idea further with holiday-themed discounts. Give influencers a coupon code to use; then, track whether or not you received any sales from their fans. Just make sure you are following FTC guidelines regarding working with influencers, product reviews, and disclosing relationships, even if it is the shopping season.
Ask Themed Questions
Post cute photos with holiday themes and ask your audience questions about their favorite holiday traditions. This type of posting style can carry you from Thanksgiving through the New Year. People LOVE to talk about their family traditions, the rituals they had as children, and the new things they’re doing today, and it’s okay to get involved as long as you’re respectful.
An alternate post style is asking people if they’d choose one item or the other in the form of an “A or B” or “This or That” style post. For example:
- Do you put up a real tree or a fake tree?
- Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
- Do you bake your Thanksgiving turkey or do you fry it?
Tailor the posts to incorporate general holiday season ideas, but cater at least some to specific holidays throughout the season. A little bit of diversity doesn’t hurt, here; remember that some people celebrate Kwanzaa, while some celebrate Christmas. Still others celebrate Hanukkah or even “Festivus for the Rest of Us.” These posts are great for engagement and will help with the visibility of your more branded posts later on.
Personalize Your Posts
Speak directly to your audience. Make each reader feel as though you’re talking directly to them, not just to your whole demographic. Tell them what they can do, or won’t have to do, as a result of using your product or building a relationship with you. “You’ll never have to _____ again if you ____.” Make them feel good about what you have to offer and how it impacts their lives.
Show them how you can help them get through the holidays, too. If you’re a cleaning service, let them know they don’t have to worry about getting the house prepared for guests. Own a bakery? Let them know you’ve got desserts covered.
People are always looking for ways to simplify their lives. Most are happy and willing to pay for the convenience, especially during the busy holiday season.
Make Sure You Say Thank You
Share photos or videos thanking vendors and visitors for the gifts or treats they bring you throughout the holiday season. Show thankfulness throughout the year, not only to those who give you physical gifts, but to those who visit you. It doesn’t hurt to include your customers and fans who support you all year long. Gratefulness is always in fashion!
Create Gift Ideas
Own a retail store, a restaurant, or a service business with gift certificates? Come up with gift ideas suitable for specific people or demographics. Small, affordable bundles work best for teachers, service professionals, and people on a restricted income. Pampering gift bundles make the perfect present for moms, sweethearts, aunts, and sisters. The sky’s the limit when it comes to gift bundles you can make available or for purchase online.
Once you come up with a few bundle ideas, it’s time to get real with your marketing. Take professional photos and draft up posts that get people excited about them. Ask your audience to tell you who they think would love each bundle the most to inspire interaction.
Don’t let your Instagram account take the backseat during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Start now, become more active, and focus on building up your community. It’s time to begin creating the content you’d like to use to ramp up your sales during what can be one of the most profitable times of the year.
Social media development is more complex than ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s too complicated to get involved. With over 500 million active members on Instagram, there’s an immense amount of opportunity just waiting for you to snap it up. We’d love to become a bigger part of your social media story! Click here to learn more about how our experts can help.