Need some last minute Instagram tips?
Is your business marketing well for the holidays? Are you driving traffic to your site, on to your store? Is your Instagram bringing you the engagement you need, resulting in the sales you expect?
It's not too late! Here are 12 Instagram tips to give your holiday marketing the boost it deserves.
1. Instagram Profile: Holiday Themed
Update your Instagram profile, to give a holiday ring.
Check out how Ben and Jerrys did it:
3 tips for updating your Instagram profile for the holidays:
- Update your company profile with holiday themed sentiment - but keep it short
- Your bio is the most important for mobile viewers
- Update your website link, if you have a holiday specific landing page
2. Ask Questions
Asking questions get people engaged, don't you think? Throw in a dash of holiday themed questions to your Instagram posts.
Include seasonal images that are cute, culturally relevant to your Instagram market, and relate to your products or brand.
Here's how Target does it:
3 tips for asking questions:
- Keep your questions short, simple and specific
- Use a cute or fun holiday image
- Write your updates with a very personable tone - to deepen customer engagement
3. "This vs. That": Holiday Themed
Stir up controversy to get your posts commented on, double-tapped and loved. Use a "this vs. that" type post. Ask your followers what they prefer - this or that.
To get the best engagement levels on these types of posts, make your subject matter holiday related, and make it emotionally evocative. Keep it light and fun, too.
Think of seasonal 'battles' such as:
- fake tree vs. real tree
- turkey vs. ham
- gift card vs. wrapped present
- led lights vs. non-led lights
- shop online vs. shop instore
- eggnog vs. hot chocolate
Check out how Home Depot did it for Thanksgiving:
3 tips for holiday themed "this vs. that":
- Choose a controversial topic that evokes strong feelings
- Use holiday themes such as :fake tree vs. real tree; turkey vs. ham; elf on the shelf vs. the grinch
- Use cool images, split them and layer the "____ vs _____" using tools like photoshop, paint.net or gimp
4. Personalize with "you"
Instagram is one of the most personal and friendly kind of social sites. Keep your Instagram updates short, specific and fun. Use the pronoun "you" in your updates too.
Check out how the brilliant social media marketers at Oreo promote their holiday cookies on Instagram:
3 tips for personalizing your Instagram updates:
- Show your holiday products in a way that super connects with your Instagram followers
- Keep your updates short, friendly, specific and fun
- Use "you" in your updates
5. Cross-Promote Contests with Videos
Generate more traction on multiple social sites. Cross-promote your seasonal contests on your different social sites, and increase your followers. Use Instagram to drive traffic to your Twitter account, for example.
When promoting your contest on Instagram, make it cool. Use a fast-paced stop motion video. Keep each of the video segments super short. Keep the video under 10 seconds too.
To generate increasing interest in your contests, run consecutive campaigns. You can spread the promotional reach of each one, gaining momentum throughout the shopping season.
TJ Maxx uses a short video on Instagram to promote their series of Twitter based seasonal contests.
3 tips for cross-promoting your holiday contests:
- Use all of your social sites to promote your holiday contests
- Make a short stop motion Instagram video to generate interest
- Run a number of consecutive contests for the shopping season
6. User Generated Content (UGC) of Product
Get your customers more involved with your brand and products. Make it fun for them to share their photos of your product during the holiday season.
The more emotionally vested your customer is, the more likely they will buy from you - and the more likely they will spend more too.
It's easy to share photos on Instagram. Use a campaign specific hashtag, and get your customers to tag you, so they use your name in their shared photos.
Check out how Levis does it:
3 tips for customer content:
- Create a photo theme that both appeals to your market, and shows off your product(s)
- Use a contest hashtag to spread your reach and stream all your UGC photos
- Incentivize your UGC by running an Instagram photo contest
7. UGC of Holiday Fun Stuff
You can also just get people having fun for the holidays. Set up an easy game, or silly craft for your followers to do. Encourage a community on Instagram by getting them to share. Use a common hashtag, so everyone can see the cool photos of everyone else.
It doesn't have to be specifically about your product. Your goal is to get your brand associated with something fun for the holidays.
You can take it a step further, and set this up as an Instagram photo contest. This lets you have easy voting options, and you can give a prize to the most popular photo.
Check out how Coca Cola does this with #strawigami. I am so doing this!
3 tips for interactive UGC
- Make your UGC simple and holiday related (such as gingerbread houses, best baking or tree decorations)
- Make a common campaign hashtag, to create a community
- Take it a step further, and incentivize your community's engagement with a photo contest
8. Product Posts
Show your products on Instagram.
When you do, though, make sure you show them in a cool, hip way that appeals to your market on the site. Take professional photos, but make them look authentic. Don't just show your product as if they are in a old-school newspaper flyer. Make them real, and engaging.
Know the Instagram lingo, too. For example, use "doubletapp" for "Like".
Check out how forever 21 does it:
3 tips for promoting your products:
- Create cool, hip product images - that look super authentic
- Include a call to action that speaks Instagram lingo (i.e. doubletap not like)
- Use brand campaign hashtags, and popular tags too
9. Videos for Holiday Sales
Take advantage of Instagram videos. They came out a few months ago, and they're being used by brands everywhere.
Use stop motion to create a fast paced feel. If you have a diverse demographic - try to include people from a variety of your market base in your video segments.
unlike Vine videos, Instagram videos can be longer than 6 seconds. You still want to keep your videos short and segmented. Keep you video under 10 seconds, with each section about 1-2 seconds max.
Check out how Volkswagen does it:
3 tips for holiday sales videos:
- Keep your videos 10 seconds or less
- Use stop motion to generate a fast paced feel
- Show a variety of people loving your product
10. In-Store Photos
Instagram is an inherently mobile site. You use it as an app on your phone. Take the opportunity to gain foot traffic, and show off the inside of your store(s).
You could post cool photos of your customers at in-store events, for example.
Or post photos of your staff getting ready for a big sale you're having (this shows you as a friendly place, too).
You can also post photos that are very specific to your store. Make it so that your in-store customers will know what the photo is, but others might not. This can create a feeling of belonging with your followers who 'get' your photo.
Check out how Macy's uses in-store photos to promote their Santa visits.
3 tips for in-store photos:
- Entice foot traffic by showing your cool store
- Promote your holiday in-store events on Instagram (such as a Santa visit)
- Use images that aren't in-your-face, to make your followers feel like a tribe
11. Be Charitable (and Inspiring)
The holiday season is also a time for charity and giving. Show you're a company that cares by supporting a charity. Then post it with inspirational quotes on your Instagram.
Choose a charity that suits your brand. For example, if you are:
- a locally based store, support a local charity
- a restaurant or grocery store, support a food bank
- a global chain, support a global cause
Encourage your followers to support a charity of their choice, too. You'll look like a very cool company who's not imposing their choice on your young customers.
Check out how Westin Hotels does it:
3 tips for being charitable on Instagram:
- Show your brand cares by holiday giving
- Set up a campaign specific hashtag to create a community
- Use inspirational images and quotes when posting about your chosen charity
12. Behind-the-Scenes Look
Generally speaking, Instagram followers love to feel special. Let your brand give them what they want.
Post exclusive photos and videos of a behind-the-scenes look at a special holiday event.
It can be a:
- holiday party you're hosting
- media event you're invited to
- big sale you're preparing for
- santa visit you're hosting
Show your staff in the behind-the-scenes footage, too. This deepens the connection your customers have with your store.
Check out how Gilt does it:
3 tips for a behind the scenes look:
- Make your Instagram followers feel special
- Post exclusive behind the scenes photos of your staff and your big holiday events
- For example: staff preparing for a sale, a big shipment, or community/ media event
It's not too late to up your Instagram marketing game. Act on these tips, and increase your Instagram generated sales this year!
What are your tips? Are you successfully marketing on Instagram? What works for your business?