How to Plan Your Social Media Holiday Calendar

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We’ve talked before about the importance of having a social media calendar. We’ve also talked before about how your strategy will need to change across time because when it comes to digital marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that’ll work 24/7, indefinitely. There’s no better example of this scenario than the holiday season. This time of year calls for a unique approach. So, let’s talk about how to plan your social media holiday calendar and what you might consider including in your campaigns.

How to Plan Your Social Media Calendar

1. Remember Two of the Biggest Shopping Days of the Year

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Two days every marketer should be planning ahead for, especially if you work in eCommerce. According to BusinessWire, in 2018, Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales alone. This made for a growth of 23.6% year over year. CNBC reported data from Adobe Analytics stating that Cyber Monday brought in $7.9 billion in online sales, which equated to a 19.3% increase from 2017. This was a record high.

If you’re thinking that your own social media holiday calendar should make room for these two days, you’re absolutely correct.

It’s not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday that you should care about, though, but also the days leading up to them. Don’t wait until the day of to announce your big sales. Post teasers in the week(s) prior and make sure your online followers know exactly how to take advantage of these sales. You might even consider offering special discount codes — like BLACKFRIDAY — to better keep track of your sales and accompanying analytics.

2. Have Themed Templates Ready

Special times call for special graphics. Add some holiday cheer to your standard branded images by adding a seasonal twist. Think of changing up the colors or fonts or adding elements like candy canes, presents, gingerbread men, or garland.

Still, be sure to have your logo in there somewhere, so that people know it’s from you. You should also bear in mind that while this will be a different type of image (meaning a seasonal one), you still want them to flow together and be cohesive in their branding so that people will recognize them as yours.

Here’s a sample Instagram template you can borrow if you’d like!


Pretty cool, huh? Guess what? This took 30 seconds to make using Canva. The background and text were already prepared, and we just changed it to reflect Black Friday sales.

Because Canva integrates into eClincher, you can easily make beautiful graphics in mere seconds. Want to be even more of a social media holiday calendar ninja? Plan all of your assets ahead of time, even if you need to plug in the actual text later. In addition to images, think of videos and GIFs that you might want to use. Have them drafted up and ready to go.

3. Create Customized Gift Guides for Segments of Your Audience

People love gift guides because it makes their lives easier. Think of gift guides for dads, moms, spouses, children, and so on. These are lists you can and should promote on your social media channels, but you might also think of creating blogs around them and also promoting them to your email list.

Gift guides aren’t just extra material for your social media holiday calendar. You might also find that they do wonders for your revenue. Shopping lists like this keep people on your website longer and spending more money. If, for instance, a visitor arrives on your gift guide for dads, it stands to reason that they’re in a place to buy more than one gift for their dad. You make their shopping trip easier, and they spend more money on your brand.

It’s a win-win.


4. Forecast When You’ll Want to Run Ads

You’d be wise to plan ahead for paid ads you’ll want to run leading up to the holidays, as well as what kind of budget you plan to allocate toward them.

While, yes, ads can be done on the fly, you’re better off designating time to come up with creatives (images, videos, carousels, etc.), ad targeting, budget, schedules, the specific offers you’ll promote, exactly how you’ll track progress, and so on.

Also, bear in mind that the conditions of your ads may change over time. For instance, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday specifically, you might have ad creatives that more urgently convey that “time’s almost out!” and people better hurry up and buy before the sale goes away at 11:59 p.m.

5. Contribute to a Greater Good

The holidays are a time of heightened consumerism and material things. For this reason, they’re also a great time for giving back. Find a cause that’s special or meaningful to your business and plan to donate to them. Not only will your social media followers appreciate that you’re thinking of others, but they might even be inspired to donate as well.

In fact, you might actively bring them in on the action. For example, you could agree to match their donations. Or, for every purchase they make with your brand, you’ll donate one item to someone in need.

Get creative and think outside the box. The point is to bring your online community together and do something for the greater good.

For example, if your brand sells shoes, you might donate a pair of shoes or socks for every purchase a customer makes. If you’re a restaurant, perhaps for every cup of coffee people buy during the holidays, you’ll donate a dollar to a local homeless shelter or animal rescue.

6. Run Contests and Themed Promotions to Give Your User-Generated Content a Boost

This offers a few different benefits.

First, contests help amp up audience engagement and get people to interact with you more. That’s a huge win.

Second, brands could always use more user-generated content (UGC). This will easily give you more material to use during the holiday season.

And third, let’s not forget about how powerful UGC is, to begin with. It’s free advertising that your followers offer simply because they love your brand and want to willingly promote and engage with you online.

So, what might this look like? Here are a couple of examples.

If you’re an apparel brand selling “ugly” Christmas sweaters…

… ask your followers to post a selfie, tag your page, and use a branded hashtag you’ll specify. Award the best sweater with a gift card.

If you’re a wedding planner…

… ask engaged followers to post the story of how they met their fiance and why they’d love to work with you. They should once again tag you and use a branded hashtag, and you pick one lucky couple to work with for free.

Get your followers to create a buzz about your brand online, and then give a little something in return.

7. Let the 12 days of Christmas Guide You

Many brands run some kind of “12 days of giveaways” campaign, and that’s because it works! It’s catchy and memorable and gives people a reason to come back to your page tomorrow. While this does require more upfront planning on your end, it’s a powerful way to grow engagement and generate leads.

Remember: Whenever you plan to give away stuff for free, you still want to give things away to your target audience — not people who just want stuff for free! You need a solid way to run this campaign to people who are actually potential shoppers. And bear in mind that you’ll want to collect their email addresses so that you can continue engaging them after the holiday sales end.

The holidays are a special time that calls for a special approach to your digital marketing strategy. Try implementing the ideas above to amp up the holiday cheer, add a little festive spirit into your campaigns, and really get your followers talking. Happy Holidays!

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