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Social Media Trends to Inspire Your 2021 Holiday Marketing Campaigns

By Reading Time: 7 minutes

Black Friday Cyber Monday officially kicks off the festive season, and it’s expected to be the main sales event of the year. To extend the holiday shopping period, marketers will launch their campaigns sooner this year. And so should you! 

Preparing your online store for such a big event should be a marathon, not a sprint, so you can never start too early. Your brand’s social media accounts need to be equipped and ready to direct the flow of customers to your store.

In this article, we’ll give you an outline of this year’s marketing trends. Apply these in your social media marketing campaigns to spice up your posts and boost sales.

1. On-brand social media stories

Hundreds of millions social media followers use story features every day. Currently, Instagram and Facebook have the biggest story engagement—in 2018, Facebook stories surpassed the 500 million daily active user mark, and Instagram hit the same milestone shortly after. 

Stories are popular for a simple reason—they allow us to tell our stories and share our experiences in creative ways. If they’re not reposted, stories disappear after 24h, so this keeps users curious and engaged at the same time. For businesses, stories have become a marketing staple as they help brands build a strong social media presence. Marketers use them to showcase their products through fun educational content, interactive polls, or short how-to clips. You could say stories are a new type of digital shop window—you get to see the product in action as well as the person behind the counter.

People want to see the human side of your business, so use stories to reveal authentic glimpses of the work that goes behind your products. They are a fantastic opportunity to create gleams of holiday cheer and create positive associations, for Black Friday Cyber Monday and beyond.

Pick a platform and a message

Once you’ve decided which platform works best for your audience (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube), it’s time to get creative. Find a visual look that complements your brand identity—with so many filters, tagging options, gifs, emojis, and music to play around with, you have endless ways to create story content that your audience will enjoy.

Below are a few ideas on how you can use stories for holiday social media:

  • Go live and share a teaser for an upcoming product
  • Remind your followers about holiday deals, steals, and order deadlines
  • Create a poll to get feedback and crowdsource ideas
  • Share behind-the-scenes footage of your store—show your audience your product creation process or how you’re brainstorming new ideas
  • Give a tour of your workstation, whether it’s your dining room table, a study, your office, or any other place you work at 
  • Collaborate with an influencer or a partner—put together a story takeover, co-host a giveaway, etc.
  • Spread holiday cheer and show people how you’re preparing for the festivities
  • Share gift ideas from your store with festive decorations
  • Create videos or posts of people receiving your products as holiday gifts

Most stories look impromptu, but in reality they’re often anything but—they’re carefully constructed and curated. So use social media stories as an opportunity to live out a little directorial fantasy.

We know Instagram for its photo sharing feature, but the platform offers a lot more than that. If you want to go more in-depth on how Instagram can grow your brand, we’ve got a couple of useful resources for you:

2. A defined video content strategy

During Black Friday Cyber Monday, social media platforms will be filled with product offers, all fighting for customer engagement. Things are going to get tight, but luckily there’s another creative way to get noticed.

A study from Mention reveals that people engage with Instagram feed videos more than image carousels. Similarly, Facebook videos are known to be better for driving views and engagement than photos. 

Videos can take longer to prepare, but the quality, storytelling, and attention to detail will pay off and bring in more store visits.

Decide on your message

The golden rule for any marketing campaign: don’t hard sell. Your audience knows you’re after sales, and they’re not going to buy from you just for the hell of it. Give them something in exchange for their time and money. In the content world, it’s either entertainment or education.

Here’s Asos’ take on entertaining video marketing. This highly shareable video was a nod to the much-loved cards scene from the movie “Love Actually”:

This campaign works for several reasons. For one, it deviates from the cookie-cutter promo content you’d see from similar brands. Secondly, it brings something exciting and relevant to Asos’ target audience of fashion lovers in their twenties. The promotion is subtle, feels authentic, and creates a sense of familiarity for those who get the movie reference.

Aside from picking the message type, you’ll also need to decide on a specific goal of your holiday video marketing campaign:

  • Gaining extra exposure (e.g. sharing holiday spirit through creative brand storytelling)
  • Increasing sales (e.g. showcasing new products or items that would make great gifts)

No matter what you do, focus on content that shows your brand personality and helps nurture relationships with your customers. The holiday season is the best time to let your guard down a little and be more personal with your audience.

Read also: Social Media Best Practices For Ecommerce Store Owners During and After Covid-19

Choose a video editing tool

Creating video content used to be an incredibly pricey endeavor, reserved only for those who had the necessary equipment, knew how to edit footage, or could afford to outsource all these services. Thanks to modern technologies and market demand, plenty of video tools have cropped up to make the lives of marketers and small business owners easier.

Remember, your video doesn’t have to be complicated to be a hit! Keep it simple and sweet. These are the tools you can start with:

  • Lumen5—transform your ready-made blog posts into video materials
  • Placeit—choose from a ton of photo and video mockups and place your own designs
  • Magisto—shoot small video clips on your phone, then add captions, elements, backgrounds, and music

Think mobile-first

People are going to watch most of your videos on smartphones—devices held vertically. If you come across a horizontally filmed video on your social media while on the go, how likely is it you’re going to turn your phone to get the full viewing experience?

Compared to horizontally filmed videos, vertical video content takes up a proportionately larger amount of the screen (and looks nicer). So bye-bye 16:9, and hello 9:16—the vertical format.

Read also: How to Make Your Business Mobile-Friendly

Subtitle your videos

A lot of us are on our phones while in line at the grocery store, in a doctor’s waiting room, or on our morning commute. These are all situations you might not want to turn the sound on, and who has time for headphones? Captions are also a vital accessibility tool and are helpful for people whose first language isn’t English.

Don’t let your hard work go to waste—subtitle your social media videos

Here are some free tools you can use to create video subs:

  • Movavi—add subtitles, edit videos, create stylish transitions, and enhance video quality
  • Subtitle Edit—adjust out-of-sync subtitles or create subtitles from scratch
  • Windows Movie Maker (for Windows users)—choose from different subtitle formats in the Movie Maker’s “subtitle” feature
  • TikTok—add and edit captions on all of your TikTok videos within the app

Need extra help with your videos? Get in touch with the talented videographers of Printful’s Video Production Services team—they’ve got the industry know-how to make your brand shine.

3. Personalized advertising

The battle to win customers’ attention has never been as competitive as it is today. If you’re not personalizing your advertising efforts, chances are you’re losing customers to competitors who have it sorted out.

Let’s look into a few personalized advertising methods.

Use social media retargeting

Retargeting is a form of targeted online advertising that allows brands to present personalized offers to visitors based on their on-site behavior. It can help build brand awareness, acquire new customers, or even steal your competitors’ customers.

Let’s say a customer viewed a few items on your website and left without taking action. Using retargeting ads, you can showcase the same products on social media feeds. Even better, give them a special discount to encourage immediate conversion.

When it comes to retargeting ads, be flexible and patient. Just because a visitor hasn’t clicked on your ad yet doesn’t mean that they’re not going to. If your ads aren’t converting, change up your copy, design, CTA, or display frequency of the ad, and try testing different variations.

Read also: How to Convert Visitors Into Customers With Retargeting Ads

Cross-sell or upsell your existing customers

You probably have products in your store that go well together, so make these product pairings part of your customer shopping experience. For example, if someone has purchased a pair of yoga leggings, let them know they can get a matching sports bra and a sporty fanny pack to complete the look!

And if it’s been quite a while since your customer purchased, say, a t-shirt, reach out to them with an offer to get a new one. Or even better, if it’s getting colder in their neck of the woods, promote a hoodie or hat with a complementing design.

Upselling means helping your customers visualize the value they’ll get when ordering a higher-priced item. E.g. If you have a more expensive option of a similar product they have in their chart, emphasise its best selling points.

Boost sales with geo-targeting

Most social media platforms let you segment your audience by geographical location. This is a great opportunity to make your messages more relevant, depending on where your followers are. Here are just a few ways you can make the most of this targeting option and add new dates to your marketing calendar:

  • Thanksgiving campaigns for Canadians. Target customers in Canada with personalized ads and Thanksgiving offers. Thanksgiving in Canada falls on Monday, October 11 this year. Why not send them a shout-out, thanking them for their business? Or perhaps a Canada-only discount or deal?
  • Chinese New Year. Over 20% of the entire population celebrate Chinese New Year (falls on February 1 in 2022), explaining why more and more brands choose to mark it on their holiday marketing calendars. 
  • Southern Hemisphere vs. Northern Hemisphere. When thinking of holiday ecommerce sales, northerners tend to think about beanies, sweaters, and scarves. However, those on the Southern side of the Earth are actually gearing up for the summertime.
    Try targeting a warm-weather deal to customers in Australia and New Zealand, for example. Or even better, match summer essentials with upcoming holidays. That’s what Startup Vitamins did by creating an “ugly Christmas t-shirt” line:

For more inspiration on how to celebrate your customers during the holidays and all year round, download our 2022 holiday calendar for ecommerce! You don’t have to create an entire product collection to celebrate each occasion, but putting together a marketing campaign for a select few will pay off.

Don’t just advertise, tell an engaging story

Whatever you decide to do for your holiday marketing campaigns, keep your customers in mind. As long as you know your customer base and you’ve picked up some of the tools we suggested in this article—you can create beautiful content that’ll have your audience hooked. The secret ingredient is a little creativity!

Excited to try out some ideas for your social media channels? Well, then we’ve got a treat for you—we put together a set of free visuals you can use for your holiday social media. Use them as they are or edit to add a personal touch. Have fun!

This article was originally published in September 2017; it has since been updated.


  1. Cathy Cawood

    You might not be aware, but Windows Movie Maker is…
    NOT free
    Not affiliated with Microsoft in any way
    NOT at all the same as the movie making software once included in Windows

    I discovered this after wasting a great deal of my time, and I’m still annoyed about it.

    The software strongly resembles the old free Windows Movie Maker in look and use as well as name, but it is owned by some other organization.
    ” Note: We are not affiliated with Microsoft. The windows movie maker software is also available on Microsoft official site.”

    You can download the software for free, but if you want to use it (like upload your videos to You Tube or somewhere) you have to register the software. Full price is $39.95, but it is reduced to $29.95.

    If you want to make videos for any commercial purpose it’s too bad because they don’t seem to have a business version, but…
    (From the T.O.S. – #2. Use of Materials
    “You may download, store, display on your computer, view, listen to, play and print Materials that publishes or broadcasts on the Site or makes available for download through the Site subject to the following conditions:
    The Materials may be used solely for your personal, informational, internal, noncommercial purposes.”

  2. Dell printer support

    The process is very easy but the changing is taken on a daily basis,, so you can improve the marketing term and the social media game is having the part in the video marketing field which is very much mortar.

  3. CEM Solutions

    Seasonality is a very important factor in the marketing and sales. Knowing the user behaviour will help businesses to succeed in holiday marketing plan.

  4. Inner B.

    I’ve been trying to boost sales with FB ads but with no luck. I might with video ads to see the results. So far, Instagram is my good to go. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Robiul Islam

      may be you won’t have the right algorithm of facebook boosting algorithm. That is the best reason to be get traffic & sells. Use best algorithm or can get a support from us.

  5. Rich Briggs

    I am going to reflect my age here, but I am often left with a lot of whys with regards to marketing and social media. There was a time when you opened a brick and mortar store, maybe bought some advertising and/or word of mouth, opened your doors and began selling. Today, you have so many, and maybe too many, social media outlets and it seems you spend more time marketing than you do creating, which entirely defeats the purpose. I am by no means a marketer. I am a creator. So how does one, like me, solve that problem, or get around it? Thank you.

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey, Rich, thanks for sharing this with us! I can easily understand how scary or even frustrating this can feel. There are two main roads that you could take—challenge yourself, try to learn this, and experiment as you go, or work together with someone who’s not a creator, but enjoys marketing. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but you have to understand what works better for you. 🙂

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