How to Curate Your Instagram Profile for the Holidays

Time to carve the turkey, deck the halls, and make your Instagram grid look merry and bright. The holidays are an advantageous time to connect with your audience on Instagram with almost a quarter of holiday shoppers using social media to knock out their gift list. We’ve gotten in the holiday spirit and gathered a helpful guide for you to prepare your Instagram profile for Q4.

Know Your Audience

Instagram magic doesn’t happen in a silo—it pulls inspiration from platform-specific consumer behavior. Knowing this, what insights can you glean from your audience? Do you know what holidays they participate in or how they celebrate them? The more you know about how your followers spend their time on your page, the more you can talk directly to them, not at them. Look for the following in the built-in insights on your Instagram profile:

  • What posts performed best this time last year? Take note of their composition, content, and copy. Try to identify what it is that appeals to your audience and use those learnings to plan upcoming content.
  • Which of your Stories performed best? While you can only peek at Story analytics from the last 14 days, you can refer to your archive to view past Stories and look at their reach, link clicks, or product clicks. Was your audience interested in storytelling Stories around the holidays? Or were they looking to shop, clicking more on product tags, or swiping up to your website?
  • What are your audience demographics? If your home city plays a part in your brand story, tap into local events. For example, if you sell personalized coffee mugs, show up at the local outdoor Christmas market and Story about how you’re using the mug to transport hot beverages. This helps your followers think of inventive ways to use your products around the season. 

Determine Your Value and Create a Strategy

Sometimes slapping fake snow over a feed image feels incohesive with what you’re selling. Staying authentic to who you are, regardless of the season, is important. For example, if your branding combines quirk and nostalgia, maybe now’s the time to start posting relevant holiday pop culture memes. Changing your profile photo with a clever design to nod to the season is another quick edit that may not impact sales but will establish yourself as an engaged brand on social that cares about their aesthetic.

Also consider creating a holiday-specific campaign. In December 2018, Threadless tapped into the popular “25 days of Christmas” and the artistic appeal of advent calendars to create 25 feed posts featuring new designs, giveaways, and sales. This created a framework with a consistent message and visual aesthetic for each post, while providing a place where users could return to on a daily basis.

Cater to How Your Audience Spends

Instagram’s ever-evolving platform includes new ways for people to interact and spend, which means you can develop a content plan that caters to popular behavior.

For Stories: Create multi-frame Stories with different products natively tagged on each frame. This will generate higher clicks than a one-frame Story that features one product, which grants opportunities for repeatable messages urging followers to swipe up for your latest products. 

For Feed: Ensure that your Facebook Catalog is hooked up to your Instagram profile. That way, you can natively tag products on posts and users can shop in-app by viewing the product page on your site. Consider updating the link in your bio with a landing page that hosts all of your important links, or opt to use a paid tool such as Linktree that helps do it for you.

Pay Attention to UGC

People are on social more over the holidays—66 percent say they’re more likely to post now than any other time of the year, and 47 percent will likely mention a brand in these posts. So take advantage. Repost what you’re tagged in to cultivate a stronger connection with the poster and give others a chance to see themselves in your content.

Establish a Promotional Schedule

Host a giveaway and prompt users to like, comment, and tag a friend to enter (it is the season of giving, after all). This will increase engagement as well as potential for new fans. Be sure to follow the rulebook for hosting. Need ideas? Team up with another small business or artist to give away a package containing both your products. This allows you to be social with like-minded brands while tapping into their follower base.

Also consider adding gift cards into your prizes for giveaways—the most sought after gift idea. Added bonus: customers can use Artist Shop gift certificates in your shop just like a discount code or their credit card. Ensure you’re subscribed to the Artist Shop newsletter as gift codes are given out seasonally to shop owners.

Give Copy a Holiday Angle

Your bio may be the first place people look when visiting your page. Try to keep your existing tagline in conjunction with promotional messaging. That way, you can appeal to returning customers while educating new visitors on your brand story. But be brief—there are only 150 characters to work with.

Hit them right in the holiday spirit and opt for personal caption ideas as well as clear calls-to-action:

  • Remember the time your sis gave you the perfect present? It’s time to return the favor. ↑
  • *Adds to cart.*
  • Save this to your “gift ideas” folder.
  • Head to our Artist Shop at the link in bio for more gift ideas.

Create and include a brand-owned holiday hashtag in caption copy. Coming up with an incentive to use the hashtag would increase your organic reach and amount of UGC.

Use Micro-Influencers

When it comes to holiday shopping on social media, users are looking for trustworthy sources to find product details. 74 percent of holiday shoppers using social media to make purchases are more likely to trust posts by family and friends, followed by brands (58 percent). This is where micro-influencers come into play. Their audiences, while smaller and usually less than 100,000, receive 0.10% higher engagement rates than macro-influencers and are considered to be more trustworthy (even if their posts disclose the paid partnership).

Create an Exit Plan

You’re probably planning to take some well-deserved time off around the holidays, but don’t assume your audience is doing the same. December’s highest traffic day (on mobile at least)—is actually the day after Christmas. Save yourself time by creating an exit plan. 

Compile all your elements in one place to quickly hit refresh and move your profile into the new year. Your tool kit should contain:

  • Plain logo sized to 180 x 180 pixels
  • Bio as it appeared before you edited
  • The first half of January feed posts (visuals and copy) outlined or scheduled
  • The first half of January Stories created without native features (you’ll include those later when posting)

Once you’ve hit your sales goal for the holiday, it’s important to still maintain engagement (the combination of likes and comments). Consider engagement as your main key performance indicator (KPI) for the first half of Q1 to capitalize on your new follower growth from your hard work over the holidays. 

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