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Holiday Ecommerce Strategy: 8 Instagram Christmas Marketing Ideas For The Festive Season

Overtaking both Facebook and Twitter, Instagram now generates the highest engagement rate out of all the social media platforms, meaning there’s no better time to optimise your visual content. Read on to find out how you can leverage this powerful ecommerce marketing tool to boost sales, improve customer loyalty and drive traffic to your website this Christmas!

Written By
Han Dickson

With over 1 billion active global users, the hugely popular photo and video-sharing platform Instagram continues to grow at an impressive rate. What was once a social network primarily used by teens has transformed into one of the most influential marketing tools out there.

Based on data taken from 22+ million posts from over 56,000 business pages across 35 different industries on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, branded posts on Instagram have shown to achieve more than 4 times the engagement rate of Facebook’s.1 This latest report by Socialinsider shows that Instagram is a channel you simply can’t afford to miss out on during the upcoming festive period!

Today, we’ll explore some achievable Instagram Christmas marketing ideas to help you make the most of the platform this holiday season, and beyond.

#1 Showcase your products with Instagram Shopping

First introduced back in 2017, the Instagram Shopping feature has expanded from simple product tags to a customisable storefront where users can browse a catalogue of products entirely within the app. Visible on business profiles via the View Shop button, the shop can also be accessed through the feed and Instagram Stories.

“With shops, we want to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying. Collections in shops let businesses customise the shopping experience and curate products into themes that tell their brand story.” – Instagram Business Team.2

Building your digital shop is simple, and free! You’ll just need an Instagram business account connected to your brand’s Facebook Page. Upload your product catalogue in Facebook’s Commerce Manager by manually inputting product info and photos, or by integrating a pre-established product database from a certified ecommerce platform, like Shopify. Once your account has been reviewed by Instagram, simply connect your product catalogue with the Instagram Shop and you’re ready to go!

Tag up to five products in photos and video posts for people to tap and learn more, or use the sticker function to add product tags to your Instagram story.

Curate products into themed collections and provide relevant info such as striking visuals, prices, and item specifics in product detail pages. These will then link directly to your website for customers to complete a transaction.

Contemporary womenswear brand Needle & Thread make use of the Instagram Shop feature, tagging their products which link to their official website.

Instagram recently launched their very own Checkout feature, where purchases on eligible business accounts can be completed without ever having to leave the app. This feature is currently only available in the US, but Instagram say they have “long-term plans” to make it accessible everywhere else – so watch this space!

Over 130 million accounts interact with shopping posts every month, so make sure you get your products out there with a snazzy storefront, product tags, and collections using all the benefits of Instagram Shopping.3

#2 Get creative with festive gift guides

Last year, Instagram unveiled Guides, a brand new feature where accounts can share tips and product recommendations in an easy to digest format, accessible via the new Guides icon on creator profiles. Choose from three different guide formats:

  • Places: Recommend places in your city and beyond
  • Products: Recommend your favourite products
  • Posts: Recommend posts you created or saved

For this particular tip, you’ll want to go with the Products format to recommend items directly from your Instagram Shop, but Posts will also allow you to curate a list of images or videos from your original feed as part of your gift guide.

If Guides aren’t your thing, try creating a carousel post or simply a story to help your followers find Christmas gifts by featuring products from your shop based on a variety of themes, budgets and audiences. Don’t forget to tag your products to direct people towards your Instagram Shop, and onto your website!

Both guides and carousel posts can of course be shared to Instagram Stories, so make sure to promote your festive content across the app and get as many eyes on it as possible.

With 81% of people saying that Instagram does indeed help them to research products and services, it’s clear that gift guides can be a surefire way to increase sales through the platform.3

Jewellery brand Daisy London released a gift guide for different budgets on Instagram Stories.

#3 Publish interactive stories

According to Instagram themselves, 500+ million people use stories on a daily basis.4 Unrestricted by the platform’s algorithm and presented in a bar at the top of your feed, stories are an exciting and effective way to grab the attention of your followers.

Comprising photos and 15-second video clips, stories live for 24 hours before disappearing unless posted as a Highlight on your profile. Try implementing the following tips and tricks into your stories to increase brand engagement:

  • Add text, stickers, emojis, music and GIFs, experimenting with different fonts and colours to bring some festive cheer, in line with your branding.
  • Host a daily or weekly Christmas quiz with the Quiz sticker, perhaps awarding prizes or discounts to the winners.
  • Use the Countdown sticker to build excitement for a product launch, festive sale, or even Christmas Day itself!
  • Reveal an exclusive discount code for your Instagram followers, expiring after 24 hours along with the Story.
  • Create ‘this or that’ polls with the Poll sticker to keep the focus on your (tagged!) products and generate traffic to your website.

Whichever one you choose, Instagram’s growing library of Story stickers will help increase engagement as you showcase your products and drive sales. With 62% of people becoming more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in stories, there’s no better time to start storytelling!5

#4 Host a competition or giveaway

Reach more potential customers organically and show appreciation for your Instagram community by hosting a competition for prizes or simply a giveaway this holiday season. These festive events will not only showcase your products but also drive traffic to your profile due to greater exposure and impressions.

Ask your followers to ‘like, share and tag a friend’ on a specific post to enter the giveaway, or run a photo caption competition with a Christmas twist. Even better, incentivise your followers to post their own photos featuring your product with a branded hashtag as their entry (more on this later!), producing some valuable user generated content.

For competitions, remember to offer your runners up an exclusive discount code to build rapport and tempt further product sales!

#5 Shoot some festive Reels

Introduced only last year, Instagram Reels are 60-second long videos which allow you to create and share short, engaging clips that live on a separate Reels tab on your profile and – unlike Stories – won’t disappear after 24 hours.

Despite originally receiving criticism for seemingly copying the infamous TikTok platform, Instagram Reels have found great success as brands, influencers and users continue to share more and more video content on the app.

Shareable to your main feed, Reels can even appear in the Explore page of Instagram, meaning that your content has even more chances of getting discovered. Help the algorithm understand your videos by adding descriptive captions, engaging text and appropriate hashtags.

As with all of your content, video does best when it tells your brand story. For some festive ideas, consider the following:

  • Create a Reel version of your Christmas gift guide
  • Demonstrate or style your products – make sure to tag them!
  • Show company culture with a festive version of a ‘get to know the team’ video
  • Make a behind-the-scenes video of packing Christmas orders (just like Daisy Jewellery have here)

#6 Share your user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is undeniably one of the best performing types of content you can share across your website and socials. 86% of millennials recognise UGC as an indicator of a brand’s calibre, building trust and ensuring a more loyal audience.6

Encourage your customers to share how they’re enjoying or gifting your products this Christmas by spreading the cheer and reposting their tagged stories or sharing photos to your feed (with permission).

Check out how some of our Swanky clients, including leading pet supplements brand YuMOVE, recently shared customers’ content onto their Instagram stories. Now try it for yourself!

#7 Create a branded Christmas hashtag

An effective way to spread festive cheer, enhance your seasonal content and promote your brand is with a branded Christmas hashtag. Come up with a few simple hashtag ideas that are unique, relate to your campaign and recognisable to your brand, then pick your favourite!

Be consistent and include your chosen hashtag in every festive post you publish to gain traction, asking your followers to use it in competition entries and mentions so you can track its success, too.

Both John Lewis and Marks & Spencer used a branded hashtag to promote their new Christmas tv ads, #PercyPigmas and #UnexpectedGuest.

#8 Transform your feed into a digital advent calendar

Over the years, more and more brands have joined in with the festivities and begun to release their own advent calendars featuring products in place of the chocolate found behind traditional cardboard calendars. Today, you can find customised calendars full of gifts like cosmetics, toys, and even wine and spirits!

However, for those smaller businesses, physical calendars can be too costly an endeavour. That’s why we suggest you embark upon your very own digital advent calendar, a simple and cost-effective way to advertise your products, increase engagement and reward your customers this holiday season!

With Instagram’s grid feed design providing the perfect layout, it’s the ideal platform to create an original, exciting countdown to Christmas. As well as keeping up with Instagram’s one-post-a-day algorithm, 24 days of content means 24 days of user interaction, so fill your calendar with rewards, discounts, and visually engaging content that will feed your growing community of loyal followers.

Irene Forte Skin Care

Taking the best bits from all of our strategies from this article, try some of these festive ideas for your digital advent calendar campaign:

  • Share behind-the-scenes photos and videos of your team preparing for the holidays – think Christmas jumpers, office parties and festive events.
  • Release a unique gift guide featuring tutorials on how to use or style your products
  • Host a giveaway or photo competition (or several) and watch those comments, leads and conversions roll in.
  • Provide a unique discount code for a festive collection.
  • Create a ‘how it’s made’ video for one of your products.
  • Tell your brand story, featuring interviews from your team members.

Of course, don’t forget to tag your products, share your advent calendar posts to stories and, most importantly, engage with your followers. Reply to comments, direct messages, and share user generated content to build trust with your audience.

If you’re struggling with coming up with 24 days of content, how about making it a ‘12 Days of Christmas’ calendar instead? Think quality over quantity!

Whether you go for 12 days or 24, the digital advent calendar will not only get your followers in the holiday spirit but also increase audience engagement, improve brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. So what are you waiting for?

Wrapping up 🎁

So, there you have it, eight festive marketing strategies to use on Instagram this Christmas! We hope these ideas will help boost sales and see your brand dominate the visual platform. Remember to connect with your followers and foster a social community of loyal customers who will interact with your business for years to come.

Lastly, don’t forget to measure the performance of your festive promotions and evaluate the success of your Christmas campaigns to learn for next year.

For more holiday marketing strategies, check out our blog post featuring 11 ways to improve your ecommerce conversion rate this Christmas!

Your ecommerce marketing agency

Feeling inspired? Why not get in touch with our friendly team of Shopify Plus Experts today to find out exactly how we can help unlock your ecommerce potential with our strategic marketing advice!

 

For reference:

[1] https://www.socialinsider.io/blog/social-media-industry-benchmarks/

[2] https://business.instagram.com/blog/introducing-shops-on-instagram?locale=en_GB

[3] https://business.instagram.com/blog/how-to-sell-your-products-on-instagram

[4] https://business.instagram.com/a/stories-ads

[5] https://business.instagram.com/blog/how-to-plan-for-holidays-on-instagram?locale=en_GB

[6] https://helplama.com/how-to-find-influencers-for-your-brand/

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