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6 Instagram Marketing Tips for Businesses this Holiday Season

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Is your business on Instagram? Looking for ways to stand out this holiday season? There are simple tactics you can use to grab attention and increase engagement with holiday shoppers on Instagram. In this article you’ll find six tips to boost your Instagram marketing for the holidays.

Ask Followers to Choose Their Favorite

It’s a well-known fact that asking questions on social media is a good way to generate engagement. This season, you can take that strategy a step further by asking your audience, “Which one?” Put two similarly themed products next to each other in one image and ask users which one they prefer for the holiday season. A fried turkey or a roasted one? The green dress or the blue dress? Presents under the tree or stocking stuffers?

Partner With a Cause

Giving back is always good for both your community and your brand reputation, and this is particularly true during the holidays. With the focus on giving to others, many customers will not only take more notice of your charitable work and donations, but may also participate along with you.

Some businesses collect donations of money, food or toys and drop them off at a local charity. Others will sell products to raise money, as Sterling Jewelers does by selling Christmas bears for St. Jude (which consumers can either keep for themselves or donate to families in need). Businesses also hold events to raise money or donate time to volunteer with a charity.

No matter what option you choose for your business, supporting a charity can be a massive opportunity for positive brand-building. If you feature content of your company‘s good deeds on Instagram, such as your employees doing volunteer work or an image of the product you’re selling, users will take notice.

Launch a Seasonal Fan Content Campaign

Fan content offers two distinct benefits to your business. It increases user engagement, while building rapport and loyalty. Also you get great ready-made content for no cost to your business, aside from the effort it took to find the content.

Starbucks does particularly well with Instagram marketing. They’ve successfully generated engagement by sharing user-generated content. With their annual Red Cup Contest, Starbucks asks users to share images of how they celebrate the return of the red holiday cups by using the hashtag #RedCupContest. The prize for winners is a Starbucks gift card, and the contest generates a ton of great content every year.

Encourage your Instagram audience to create and share holiday–themed content using a branded hashtag. Consider offering some sort of reward, whether you’re running an official contest or not. The prize can be a gift card, giveaway or the chance to have their content featured by your brand. Use a tool like Iconosquare to help you run contests to increase fan content, allowing you to schedule the contest and moderate responses in bulk.

Remember to prompt users to use your campaign hashtag so you‘ll be able to find their content, as Starbucks did with #RedCupContest. Use a tool like Gramfeed to help you sort through Instagram content quickly. You can not only search for a particular topic or hashtag, but also refine your results by keywords and by the time the post was uploaded.

Make sure you ask permission to re-purpose users‘ content, particularly if they weren't participating in a contest or giveaway. You can do this by commenting directly on their posts.

Feature Complementary Products

Many salespeople are trained to present “perfect pairs” to customers, showing them both the product they’re interested in and a product that complements it. This technique often results in higher sales, and works just as well for Instagram marketing as it does in person.

Feature perfect pairs in your Instagram posts to flesh them out and form a more visually dynamic image. Showing the second item not only increases the chances of a larger sale, but can also make the first item look even more alluring.

Many customers love to give and receive gift sets. A blue diamond pendant looks even better with a matching ring, a fishing rod is more appealing with a full tackle box and an assortment of tea flavors with an exquisite teapot adds a personal touch.

Come the holiday season, customers are looking for gifts, and they’re going to be more willing to splurge on multiple items at once since they’re already in the shopping mood (particularly on Black Friday).

Highlight Holiday Sales and Discounts

As fun and exciting as the holiday season is for many, there is no doubt that it’s often an expensive time of year. Though all the focus for sales is on Black Friday, you can benefit from heavily promoting your upcoming or current sales or discounts throughout the holiday season on Instagram.

To generate conversions and increase sales and impulse buys, use high–quality images of your products with mentions of sales, promotions and giveaways. Also add a note in the description with a coupon code or to tell customers where to find those deals.

With many users more willing to splurge come the holiday season, promoting sales and discounts on Instagram gives them the perfect reason to do so.

Run Instagram Ads

Instagram ads are here just in time for the holiday marketing season. As users’ Instagram feeds become overrun with holiday-themed posts, it can be hard to stand out, especially when you’re trying to connect with new users.

Though relatively new, Instagram is emerging as a strong ad platform, as it’s partnered with (and run through) the incredibly successful Facebook ads.

Carousel ads and video ads perform well on Instagram. Carousel ads allow you to feature multiple images (often of products) that can be used to show a variety of choices or tell a story, and it’s no secret that video content is taking social media by storm.

While all types of ads can perform well on Instagram, these two options in particular will help your content stand out in the holiday season.


The holiday marketing season starts early, and this year is no exception. You’ll be facing increased competition to get your target audience’s attention and engagement. Incorporating these six tips with your Instagram best practices will help your content perform well throughout the holiday season.

Remember, too, that it’s important to make good use of hashtags and choose interesting, eye-catching images users will want to see.

I'm a Melbourne based beauty, glamour and lifestyle photographer specializing in modeling portfolios. With a dark and moody approach to creativity and a penchant for the dramatic, my love for shooting beauty and glamour has allowed me to travel and work with professional and aspiring models across New Zealand and Australia.

Reggie Singh is a accomplished professional photographer, digital strategist and social media influencer based in Melbourne, Australia.