7 Instagram Post Ideas for the Holiday Shopping Season

By Hugh Beaulac

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With the holiday shopping season around the corner, customers are ready to spend more money on purchases. According to a recent research by Adobe Analytics, U.S. online spending during the holiday shopping season is predicted to be $124.1B, and consumers plan to spend 57% of their holiday budgets online.


In fact, 20-40% of yearly sales for small-sized retailers take place within the last two months of the year. For small business owners, it means a perfect period to promote their products online and increase sales.

If you use Instagram to grow your small business, that’s great. With over one billion active users, so it has become a powerful marketing tool to reach your target audience, connect with them, and convert them into customers. Plus, Instagram is a visual platform, so it’s a perfect place to show off your product so that potential customers want to buy it. It’s no wonder 39% of small businesses plan to increase investment in Instagram marketing.

However, it’s important to create the right visual content for Instagram, so you’re welcome to look through post ideas that can grab your customers’ attention and engage with them during the holiday season.


Here’s a list of Instagram growth hacks for the holiday shopping season:

1. Time-Based Content

Have you ever heard about the frequency illusion? It is the phenomenon in which people start seeing things they’re thinking about everywhere. When it comes to holidays, most people are obsessed with the gift ideas and planning, so marketers can implement this marketing strategy by posting seasonal content on Instagram.

With seasonal time-based content, you bring your business back into the spotlight. For example, if you're looking for the best Black Friday ideas for your small business, you can consider discounts and coupons as time-based content.When people think about Christmas décor, snow, and gifts, it’s important to feature things that can remind of this period. Let’s take a look at Passion Planner.


Although you can find their product in the picture, the main focus is on the Christmas season. As a result, content doesn’t sound too salesy. For many people, Christmas is a magic period of giving, not a time of selling. Thus, it’s important to sell a solution, not your product. Plus, time-based content is eye-catching, so it grabs followers’ attention. Moreover, you can always use a graphic design tool to create an Instagram post that fits your brand identity. Luckily, you can use graphic design tools like InstaSize to create stunning visuals for Instagram that fits your brand identity.


To bring your business to the next level, you can also make the most out of Instagram Story videos. Being limited to 24 hours, not only do Instagram Stories encourage people to take action, but they are the best solution for sensitive content. 

2. Announce Seasonal Products

If you want to keep up with the latest trends, it’s important to add an additional line of products that better serve during the current seasons. To increase sales, you need to stay flexible and creative to offer something new that fits the trends. For example, as a clothing brand, you can make up Xmas prints for your items, and don’t forget to inform your followers about the new products.

Even if you promote your local business on Instagram, you can learn from Starbucks how to announce seasonal products and encourage potential clients to visit your cafe.


It’s not a secret that customers love new products, and if your product launch matches the current trends it’s a win-win situation for your business.

3. Run a Holiday Contest/Giveaway

The holiday period is the perfect time to treat your followers. Thus, consider running a holiday contest or giveaway, dedicated to the current topic. Not only will it grab your followers’ attention, but it will also boost engagement on your account. What is more, people love giveaways, so this tactic leads to customer success.

For example, The Tasha Tudor Family run a giveaway with simple rules to give away their branded sewing kits. For the followers, it was a perfect opportunity to get a branded gift without spending a dime.


It’s in our nature to love free stuff, so people enter the giveaways for a chance to win something. For brands, it’s a cost-effective way to spread a word about their products online, boost awareness, and build customer loyalty. Plus, you can encourage participants to buy your product by offering a special discount for all of them. Moreover, it can be a great way to find the target audience for your crowdfunding campaign as people are more likely to donate money during the festive period. 

4. Limited-Time Discounts

Again, the holiday season is time for giving, so you can offer your loyal followers something unique and posting limited-time discounts is a great idea to improve customer experience. For a fear of missing out, customers are more likely to make spontaneous purchase decisions when they come across limited-time discounts. Moreover, these posts create a sense of urgency.

Here’s a little case study of this strategy in action by My Bright Journal. The more items you buy, the more you save. For customers, it’s a perfect chance to get holiday gifts with a discount. For the company, it’s an opportunity to get more Instagram likes and drive sales.


To make the most out of your time-limited discount, you need to create the deadlines for it so that customers want to act fast.

5. Funny and Inspirational Posts

People love positive emotions. If you can provide your followers with good emotions, they will never forget you. It’s a well-known fact that words have the power to motivate and inspire people. Therefore, most people like funny and inspirational posts.

Letterfolk knows that all people have holiday traditions, and singing Christmas songs is one of them. When they had decided to publish the following post, they knew many people would recognize themselves in the joke. As a result, it might have lead to a better engagement rate.


There’s no need to hire professional designers to great content for you: encourage your followers to share user-generated content on social media and use their images with a photo credit to drive attention to their accounts and get free images. 

6. Lifestyle Photos

Customers are fed up with branded advertising and they crave something genuine. Thus, lifestyle photos are popular among Instagrammers. Even if you want to promote your product on Instagram, you should sell a lifestyle with your post. Lifestyle photos cause emotions, so they drive more engagement than branded flat lays.

Let’s take a look at Cluse. Although this company sells jewelry and watches, their posts don’t have a focus on the products: they are all about a lifestyle a potential customer can get with the purchase.


The good news? You can take lifestyle photos on your phone, so it’s a cost-effective way for small business owners to generate content that drives engagement.

7. Influencer Content

Most customers seek recommendations from people they trust (friends, relatives, opinion leaders) before buying something, so using influencer content is better than brand content. If you want to enter an already-established community, get new photos, and get traffic with Instagram influencers, choose a niche-focused opinion leader whose following is the same as your target audience.

For example, a blogger Naomi Davis (a.k.a. @taza) in a partnership with Lego was able to create engaging and interesting content for her followers.


If you don’t have a budget to work with top bloggers, don’t hasten to avoid using influencer content: rely on micro-influencers who charge less than other opinion leaders or create a referral program as it can help to bring your business to the next level.

Bonus Tips

Once you know Instagram ideas you can post during the holiday season, it’s important to understand how to make the most out of your seasonal marketing campaign.

1. Optimize Your Instagram Account for eCommerce. Modern users are spoiled with the amount of branded information. Since they know there are many options on the market, they don’t want to waste their time finding how to buy your product. Thus, it’s important to simplify the checkout process: the easier the buying process is, the more likely your Instagram followers will complete their purchases. To promote your ecommerce business on Instagram, you need to provide followers with detailed information about the products and prices. Use shoppable tags to sell directly on the platform, and take care of your followers.

2. Provide Free Shipping. Customers are ready to spend big bucks when it comes to the holiday season. However, they want to save money when it’s possible, so the majority of them look for free shipping. According to one study, 9 in 10 customers say free shipping is the number one incentive to shop online. Thus, it’s no wonder one of the reasons why users don’t complete their purchases is paid shipping. If you want to sell more online, provide users with free shipping and stay one step ahead of your competitors.

3. Offer Free Gift Wrapping. During the holiday season, most customers are pressed for time, so they don’t have an opportunity to wrap their gifts even if they want to. To take care of your customers, you can offer free gift wrapping which will positively affect your brand reputation. Not to mention, gift wrapping offers customers a convenience, so they will never forget you.

4. Send Small Gifts. We all love free stuff, and receiving a gift makes customers happier. It’s an authentic way to connect with your customers and make them want to come back for more. In fact, 90% of consumers agree that small free gifts increase brand loyalty. Talking about the holiday season, you can put a branded postcard to greet your customers on holidays.

5. Focus on attracting new followers. When people follow your business on the platform, this means they find your brand useful and therefore they can recommend your products to their friends and family. The more people know about your Instagram business profile, the better. Getting ready for holiday shopping season, it's important to gain real Instagram followers in advance and therefore let more people read about your seasonal offers and deals.

In a Word

The holiday season is a perfect period for shopping which means small business owners should make the most out of this buzz and prevent social media crisis. Don’t wait until the last minute to act: use any of the above-mentioned ideas to promote your product on Instagram and bring your business to the next level.


About the Author: Hugh Beaulac is a content creator at MC2 website who also works as a social media manager to help small businesses grow online. With over 5 years experience in the digital marketing, Hugh contributes to different websites to share his tips on this topic. Follow him on Twitter to stay tuned for more.

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