Social media has become an important part of holiday shopping. People look to social networks for shopping inspiration, holiday specials, and creative gift-giving ideas.

How can you capture the attention of holiday shoppers on social media?

Visual content is the way to go! Photos, videos, and word images (text overlayed on a photo or background design) will help your holiday marketing stand out and encourage busy consumers to shop with you.

More than half of customers are influenced by product images, so don’t underestimate the impact images can have on your holiday sales.

If you haven’t been using visual content in your marketing, or you’re not sure what works for the holidays, we suggest creating images around these four ideas: your business, your environment, your expertise, and themes.

Let’s take a closer look at each idea and how it can work for you:

1. Your business

Your customers want to know what goes on behind the scenes of your business. Try showing your audience parts of your business that they typically don’t get a chance to see. They’ll feel closer to your business if they understand your process and how your products or services come to be.

A&J King’s Instagram account is a great example of how to show followers what happens behind the scenes of the business. Their posts include photos of the staff at work, videos of the bakery, and beautiful product shots.

2. Your environment

Make your audience feel like they are right there with you by featuring visual content about your environment. Tell the story of your day and show people what’s happening around you as you prepare for the holiday season.

The Baltimore Humane Society frequently posts images to give followers a look at what’s happening at their shelter and events. Throughout the years, they’ve dressed up some of their adoptable animals in everything from Santa hats and reindeer antlers, to Haloween costumes and holiday sweaters in order to show off their festive atmosphere and highlight animals that need to find their #foreverhome.

3. Your expertise

People love to engage with your expert tips or stats that can help them do something they’re unsure of. Showing off your expertise is a great way to grow engagement and increase your business. Show what you know by sharing tips and tricks that may be common sense to you, but might be new and useful to your audience.

Throughout the year, the Instagram feed for Extend Yoga does a great job of explaining and sharing aspects of yoga that not everyone is familiar with. During the holidays, they give their usual style of posts a holiday twist, like discussing the philosophy behind the corpse pose for Halloween, and posting holiday-themed mantras for #mantramonday.

4. Themes

Using recurring themes in your content is helpful for you and your audience. When you make themes a part of your visual content, it helps you figure out what to create, and your audience knows what to expect.

Try themes that have done well for all types of businesses, such as #TBT (Throwback Thursday) with holiday images of you and your employees at your business or from their childhood.

Motivational quotes are another popular theme, where businesses create word images with a popular, relevant quote overlayed onto a photo or interesting background.

A recurring theme for La Provence from Rockport, Massachusetts is shopping local. During the holidays and throughout the year, La Provence posts photos and word images to encourage customers to shop at small businesses in the area.

constant contact customer la provence example of small business saturday post
Constant Contact customer, La Provence

Looking for tools to help you create holiday content?

If you’re working with photos and video, use tools on your smartphone and within Instagram to crop, enhance colors with filters, create collages, and more.

Some popular photo editing apps include Pixlr for general editing, WordSwag to add text over an image, and Instagram’s Layout app or the Pic Stitch app for collages.

Need ideas for holiday images?

Editor’s Note: Originally posted in 2015, this article has been updated for relevance and accuracy on November 5, 2019.