Every year, we update this blog to bring you excellent Valentine's Day campaign ideas for social media, based on best marketing practices and examples of past successes.
There's something for everyone, no matter if you've just started planning your marketing campaign or are looking to add a little last-minute zing to your content schedule. From running price promotions to sparking engagement with contests and creating interactive experiences - this article is full of unique Valentine's Day promotion ideas to complement your marketing strategy!
Before we dive into tips, however, let's look at data you can use to persuade your clients that running a social media campaign for Valentine's Day is an opportunity to produce tangible return-on-investment (ROI).
What does data tell us about marketing on Valentine's Day?
Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is an annual celebration of love and commercialism. Despite its romantic roots, it's a significant spending holiday for shoppers worldwide.
Back in 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic started, the National Research Federation (NRF) reported that Valentine's Day spending is on the up, with the total spend in the USA expected to rise to $27.4 billion - 32% more than 2019's record $20.7 billion!
However, the 2021 survey showed that consumers planned to spend $32 less than they had budgeted in 2020 with a planned spend of $165 on Valentine's Day gifts and celebrations.
The fact that only 24% of consumers said they would celebrate with an evening out last year compared to 34% in 2020 (which is the lowest in the survey's history), underlines the change in consumers' habits caused by the pandemic.
Furthermore, with an impressive 73% of consumers saying they feel it's important to celebrate this holiday with friends and loved ones, planning an exciting Valentine's Day digital marketing campaign became even more crucial for brands.
But, while the traditions of celebrating the holiday have changed, and 41% planned a special dinner or celebration at home, the gifting ideas have remained the same:
- Greeting cards
- Gift card
Another trend that's stood the test of time is who consumers spend their money on when it comes to Valentine's Day.
Consumers are buying gifts not only for their partners (husbands and wives) but also for their co-workers, family, friends and pets. This continues to open doors for established businesses and newly emerged online businesses that produce and sell products that make great gifts that can be given as small tokens of appreciation.
On another note, PWC polled consumers in June 2021 and found that the pandemic had spurred many respondents to become more digital, more local, and more conscious of health and safety.
This resulted in smartphone shopping reaching its historic high! In December 2021, 41% of respondents said they shop daily or weekly via mobile or smartphone compared to 39% at the beginning of 2021, 24% in 2019 and 12% five years ago.
image source: December 2021 PwC Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey
Having this in mind, as well as the fact that users mostly use mobile devices to access social media networks, making purchases possible via these channels could help drive a greater inclination to shop online.
It's important to mention that PWC did extensive research on the permanent change that occurred in consumers' habits and values, and found that they have become more:
- Eco friendly
- Local and
In fact, more than 50% of surveyed consumers said they've become more digital. Even though in-store shopping has recovered somewhat, online shopping continues to grow. It's worth noting that more and more of that consumption is happening on mobile phones. To be more precise - shopping via smartphone keeps climbing steeply, gaining 2 percentage points on in-store shopping since March 2021.
image source: PwC’s June 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, Page 4
This all leads to the conclusion that a wide variety of businesses can use Valentine's Day to run successful digital marketing campaigns. We know it's worth the time and effort as it's a widely celebrated holiday. And we know that social media marketing works when it comes to inspiring customers to buy.
So let's dive right into the ten ways you can boost engagement and sales on social media this Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day ideas for social media
#1 Run Valentine's Day promotion on best-selling products
If your business sells chocolates, flowers or jewellery, this holiday is potentially one of the biggest sales opportunities of the year. Running a promotion on items that can be purchased as gifts is a traditional move. One might argue that it's even anticipated by customers.
However, creative social media managers have found a way to link Valentine's Day with less romantic products with great success. Soak in some inspiration from a book publisher and an inexpensive hotel chain. Penguin India's #LoveInOtherWords campaign and Oyo Rooms #NoRoomForHate campaign both celebrate the concept of love and promote togetherness.
#2 Share the love
This may sound cheesy, but everyone has something to share that could help another person. So if your product is a hard sell on Valentine's Day or your company isn't up for celebrating this holiday, why not consider sharing some of your expertise instead?
This could be in the form of useful content about the holiday (that's what we're doing!). For a beauty business, it could be a string of posts with tips on great skincare regimes or guidance on how to apply makeup for a date night.
Equally, as far as Pinterest Valentine ideas go, you can create lists for inspiration on Pinterest - from unusual gift ideas, romantic restaurants, or the best deals on local leisure activities, and share it with your readers.
Just remember to always keep your social media posts relevant to the brand you manage and its niche.
If your business is food-related, you could opt to share a useful recipe video, like Woolworths South Africa. It's simple, yet really engaging, and shareable. As a bonus, it can produce lots of User-Generated Content.
#3 Use Valentine's Day hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to promote any business on social media. You can easily track how many people are sharing your campaign based on who's using the hashtag. We recommend you use a combination of hashtags, one that's singular to your company and popular ones that are used by others.
But don't just throw the hashtags out there haphazardly! Try experimenting with asking meaningful questions and combining them with relevant hashtags. On Twitter, you could ask for a short description of the best Valentine's Day a person has ever experienced. Or on Instagram, you might ask followers to post images of a great Valentine's Day dessert with your hashtag to take part in a contest (see more tips on contests below).
You can even use hashtags on LinkedIn to further your reach and spread the love this Valentine's Day, but also participate in current trends! Facebook hashtags have also become a “thing” and the platform is working on improving them continuously, so give one or two a try.
In 2021, a cosmetics company, The Body Shop used the #SelfLoveUprising hashtag combined with a traditional #ValentinesDay hashtag to participate in the inspirational and ongoing trend of self-love and self-care. This way they shifted their focus away from couples and instead celebrated all people as individuals while underlining the importance of loving and taking care of oneself.
image source: The Body Shop's Instagram profile
#4 Organise a contest or a poll
Since 2020 it's all about authenticity and original content, so why not try your hand at user-generated content (UGC) campaign? You can go all-out and organise a contest or Valentine's Day giveaway. This is a great way to reward your existing customers and attract potential customers!
If you're not in the mood for free gifts, you can simply run a series of polls to test how engaged your audiences are.
Dunkin Donuts is famous for its fun and colourful social media presence, fuelled by photos taken by its customers. And in 2021, they took their love-themed holiday game on another level! They invited their followers to play a trivia game via Instagram Stories, prove their love for Dunkin Donuts, and unlock a secret promo code. This is an excellent example of engaging and rewarding your most loyal customers at the same time.
If you're a business-to-consumer (B2C) company, you could consider hosting a giveaway as part of the contest on social media. It can be as simple as adding a small box of chocolates with every purchase or a mystery gift for every 10th shopper worth $5 dollars.
On the other hand, if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, you could consider gifting freebies with every order:
- Guide or ebook
- Editable template
- Video training
Tip: Tools like Sendible can help you monitor keywords on social media, allowing you to easily track your contest submissions as well as other relevant conversations, like brand mentions or even your competitors.
#5 Advertise on social media
Organic reach isn't what it used to be and constant algorithm changes make it hard to reach the desired audience (especially for small business owners). While establishing how often should you post on social media is crucial for reaching your existing audience, advertising on key social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn extends your reach to those who are yet to follow you.
Always think about what you want to achieve with each paid campaign:
- Number of visits to the site or landing page
- Number of times a promo code is used
- An increase in engagement rates
- New followers or email submissions
You can also choose to run ads to test the impact you get versus organic posts to prove the argument that if more people saw your creative social media posts, more people would engage with them. Focus on products and services that are in high demand on Valentine's Day and keep it consistent with your social media strategy.
Create irresistible offers to blow your competition out of the water. That additional discount or free gift with the purchase could be enough to help you make the sale!
Pro tip: Instagram Shoppable can be a great way to improve your e-commerce sales around holidays like Valentine's Day. Learn how to expertly leverage this feature with our guide!
#6 Organise a Valentine's Day themed event
Online matchmaking events are a popular practice in February - it's a match and off-they-go kind of event to land a date on Valentine's Day. But that's not the type of event we suggest you run (unless you really want to).
Video is becoming increasingly more popular and successful on social media.
Why not stream live on Instagram or go live on Facebook? It's harder to organise and schedule than a simple post but can prove to be effective if the brand you manage wants to bring their followers a bit closer and show them what happens behind the scenes.
#7 Create interactive apps or experiences
Interactive apps enhance the customer experience and can help you skyrocket your engagement on social media. Back in 2012, Heineken created a Facebook app with Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam called 'The Serenade'. The app allowed customers to create a personalised serenade for their partner from a total of 640 different choices.
Apps like the above take time to develop, but you could achieve a similar effect by creating a tool that shoppers can use to create something themselves. One such example is Tiffany's Valentine's Day Tattoo Shop.
The idea is simple - create your own unique sticker with a transparent background, add it to your photo, and share it on Instagram with the relevant hashtag (#BelieveInLove).
That, paired with some influencer marketing magic does wonders for brand awareness, even for a luxury jewellery brand that not many people can afford.
#8 Create a microsite or landing page
So your social media posts are creating awesome engagement but where do your followers go when they click on the links?
Shoppers don't always know what they want, so give them a hand and make it easy to filter through the products you have in your online shop.
It's common practice to create a dedicated category on an online shop for special occasions like Valentine's Day, just like the online retailer, Not On The High Street does:
If you are in business-to-business (B2B) and budget allows, create a landing page for this Valentine's Day as the pinnacle of your holiday campaign.
It's all well and good to spread awareness and improve a brand's image, but your client will want you to prove the return on investment (ROI) of your social media activities. With a unique page, tracking visitors who visit and convert is easier than a regular website link. Add content you created for the campaign to the page and attach a special offer for your product or service to encourage sales and sign-ups. Alternatively, use UTM codes and tracking on existing pages to do have better visibility over what works and doesn't.
#9 Celebrate small if stretched for time
If you are stretched for time, you may opt for a simple greeting for your followers on Valentine's Day. You can brew up some romance on your social media profiles by creating a sweet image or video to post on the day.
#10 Don't forget about the singles!
Valentine's Day being a day reserved only for couples is a thing of the past. So make sure to include the fabulous single people as well!
According to trends and research highlighted above, this holiday got revamped in the past couple of years, and now it celebrates love in all shapes and sizes, including meaningful relationships we have with others. This means it's a smart move to revamp your social media marketing campaigns as well!
This assumption is backed by the NRF and their recent data on Valentine's Day spending we referenced earlier in the article.
While the majority of couples do plan a special night, among the activities we can notice treating yourself to something special (12%), planning a get-together with family/friends (7%) and interestingly, a small portion of respondents said they would purchase and "anti" Valentine's Day gift (3%).
image source: NRF's 2021 Valentine's Day Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics
Experiment with taglines like "Treat yourself this Valentine's Day" or "Delicious meals for you and your friends" when selling regular products desired by single adults.
Pro tip: If you're thinking about targeting young singles for an alternative Valentine's Day campaign, Instagram is a great place to start. Make sure you create posts with engaging captions full of Valentine's Day puns and plenty of hashtags.
Some examples of lucrative Instagram hashtags related to celebrating Valentine's Day as a single person include:
- #single - 21.8m posts
- #galentinesday - 966k posts
- #antivalentinesday - 81k posts
- #singlesawarenessday - 59.8k posts
- #whoneedsavalentine - 13.8k posts
Over to you
Celebrating special events and holidays on social media is a great way to loosen up a little and show the fun side of a brand. While you need to be results-driven to justify spending your time on this, we'd recommend to most of all, keep things fun and avoid being boring on Valentine's Day (Contently has quite a few good tips and examples on this).
We would love to hear how your campaign went and which tip you found most useful. We wonder which brands will steal the show this year and have the best social media campaigns ever.
By the way, if you like planning your content calendar around trending dates like #ValentinesDay, then you'll love our free and fully interactive social media holiday calendar. ❤️
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