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Social Media & E-Commerce Blog Posts

How to Plan the Perfect Holiday Marketing Campaign (+ Free Checklist!)

Updated on October 5, 2021
9 minute read

Tis the season for planning the perfect holiday campaign.

Published October 5, 2021

The holiday season is just around the corner – and now is the time to start planning a killer social media campaign.

With more e-commerce features than ever, platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, are perfect for taking customers from gifting inspiration to final sale in a matter of clicks.

Ready to take your holiday campaign to the next level on social media? Follow our step-by-step guide.

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Step #1: Set the Creative Concept

For most businesses, the holiday season presents a huge opportunity to connect with your digital community, reach new customers, and drive online sales. 

The first step to running a successful social media campaign? A rock-solid concept.

Take a moment to answer these questions:

  • What are your overall goals?

  • Which social media platforms would be most appropriate to reach your audience?

  • What type of content will help you achieve your goals?

  • What products or services do you want to focus on?

  • Do you have an additional budget for a holiday-specific campaign?

  • Are there any wider social causes you’d like to support?

  • What tone feels most appropriate for your business?

  • Do you want to work with influencers and/or partner with other brands?

Remember, holiday campaigns don't have to revolve purely around selling.

You can choose to give back to your audience or celebrate your community instead.

Lululemon, for example, uses their annual seasonal campaign to focus on their mission to bring people together.

Previous campaigns included a message of “giving presence” (rather than gifts), a #feelgoodgiving drive, and a reflection on the range of feelings caused by COVID-19 during an unconventional holiday period.

Alternatively, your holiday campaign could be as simple as consistently promoting a gift-appropriate product or service across all your channels, hosting a 12-day giveaway or challenge, or introducing a holiday-themed design to your social media assets. 

Whatever you decide, there's no right or wrong approach to your holiday campaign. Ultimately, it depends on your brand's goals, budget, and community values – use them as a baseline and work from there.

Download our free checklist to guide you through every step of your holiday marketing social media campaign now:

Step #2: Create an Easy Route to Shop on Social 

The next step to a great holiday marketing campaign is to make it as easy as possible to shop your products or services.

Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest have all introduced major e-commerce integrations over the last year, making it easier than ever to sell on social

On Instagram, you can now tag products (listed in your Instagram Shop catalog) directly in feed posts, Instagram Stories, IGTV videos, Reels, Guides, and Live broadcasts

And for brands with Instagram Checkout, US-based shoppers can tap “Buy on Instagram” to purchase without ever leaving the app, seriously streamlining the route to conversion.

TIP: Find out how to set up e-commerce features on every platform in Later’s Ultimate Guide to Social Selling

However, despite obvious advantages, integrated e-commerce might not be for everyone. 

Brands using Instagram Checkout, for example, lose out on valuable customer data (such as emails) as all purchase communications are handled in-app.

As an alternative, brands can use a link in bio tool to drive traffic and sales from Instagram or TikTok. 

With by Later, you can create a mobile-optimized, clickable landing page to add to your social profiles.

Later Media uses Later link in bio tool on Instagram

That way, you can drive more traffic to your site — in just a few clicks.

Ready to start driving more traffic and sales from your link in bio? Start using by Later today – it’s free!

Step #3: Plan, Create, and Collect Assets

At this stage, it’s a good idea to plan out all the social media assets you’ll need to bring your holiday campaign to life.

This will help you understand how much time and budget you’ll need to spend creating content, versus how much time and budget you’ll need to spend finding user-generated content.

TIP: Use Later’s calendar dashboard to visually plan what content you’ll share on each platform each day. If you’re still waiting on assets, you can add placeholder Calendar Notes (available on Growth and Advanced plans) and share with your team for wider visibility. 

With a rough plan in place, you can start to collect and create your campaign assets. If you’re working with photographers, videographers, or creators, you may want to put together a moodboard that captures the desired aesthetic of your campaign. This will serve as a valuable reference to keep all your content visually aligned.

Source: Pinterest

When creating content, think about your goals versus what’s realistic for your budget. For example, a themed photoshoot in a professional studio might be challenging on a shoestring budget – whereas an “at home” shoot (featuring informal video clips and more candid photography) can be more affordable. 

Alternatively, you may want to consider partnering with influencers as part of your content creation process (stay tuned, we’ve got more on this later!).

For design-based assets, there are options for every budget too. Design apps like Canva, GoDaddy Studio, and Adobe Spark typically have a range of free holiday-themed templates to browse and customize. 

Source: Go Daddy Studio + Canva

If you’re using user-generated content or stock imagery, adding a custom design element can be a simple but effective way to tie your holiday campaign content together. 

Take note of how Later does this on Instagram to create a visually cohesive experience:

NOTE: Always get permission from the original content creator before sharing their content on your social media channels, especially if you are editing it in any way. 

Ready to plan your social media content in advance? Start scheduling your post with Later, the ultimate social media management platform — create an account for free!

Step #4: Partner With Influencers or Creators

Influencer marketing is a proven strategy for reaching new audiences and driving sales, especially when it comes to the holiday season.

Partnering with the right influencers lets you tap into a relevant community of shoppers – while also providing high-quality content that you can share on your own social channels (if agreed upon).

An effective influencer marketing holiday campaign can cost anything from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands – it all depends on who you partner with and how much content you want. 

If you’re new to the world of influencer marketing, check out some of Later’s resources below:

As a general rule, it's best to find a creator who genuinely loves your products, and believes their community will too. This way, you'll be able to gain authentic customers who are the right fit for your brand.

Step #5: Schedule Social Media Content

Once your content is ready to go, you can plan and schedule your posts in advance with Later.

Taking the time to schedule your posts will make your life less stressful during the holiday season, and leave more time for you to engage with your community. 

You can even schedule posts to go live at your best time to post for maximum engagement (which is typically between 5AM and 6AM for most accounts!). 

A user schedules their Instagram using Laters Best Time to Post feature to post when their audience is most engaged.

In addition to scheduling content, you can also preview how your holiday-themed grid will look with Later’s Visual Instagram Planner.

A gif showing how to use Laters visual feed planner

If the posts aren’t looking quite right in your feed, you can easily rearrange or swap out photos from your media library until you’ve found the best composition.

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts in advance with Later – it’s free, no credit card required.

Step #6: Prepare Social Media Ads

If you’re looking for a more guaranteed way to reach new audiences, investing in social media ads can be a great strategy.

Every platform has its own set of advertising options, each with its own unique set of benefits, rules, and audience targeting capabilities.

For example, if you’re an e-commerce brand targeting millennial women in the US, you might want to consider investing in Promoted Pins on Pinterest.

Or if you’re a food delivery service looking to target hyper-local customers, you may want to use Instagram or Facebook Ads.

So while you’re mapping out your holiday season content, it’s worth paying attention to how that content can be repurposed into social ads.

Whatever your target is, there’s an ad platform that will work for you. To help you get started, read our step by step guide to the world of social media ads

Step #7: Measure Your Results

The final step to executing a killer holiday marketing campaign on social media? Analytics!

Whether you’re promoting your holiday campaign on Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest or Instagram, it’s important to check in throughout your campaign to see how your content is performing.

That way you’ll be able to gauge what’s getting the most traction, and what your audience responds to best.

One way to do this is to check each social platform’s analytics.

However, this can be time-consuming, especially if you’re running your campaign across multiple platforms.

To help save time, you can track your Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest performance all in one place with Later Analytics – as well as any traffic and sales from your page.

Plus, with Later’s new Pinterest Click Tracking feature, you can track and measure every click from your scheduled Pinterest posts.

And that’s it!

Holiday marketing campaigns don’t have to be complicated to deliver great results for your brand or business.

But with the holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s important to start planning your social media campaign sooner, rather than later.

Ready to get started? Download our free holiday marketing campaign checklist now to keep track of your holiday campaign this year!

Never Miss a Trend AgainJoin over 1 million marketers to get social news, trends, and tips right to your inbox!Email Address

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

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