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, whether you've just started planning your holiday marketing campaign or are looking to add a bit of last-minute zing to your content schedule. From running price promotions to sparking customer engagement with contests and interactive social media posts - 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 a tangible return on investment (ROI).
- What does data tell us about marketing on Valentine's Day
- 10 ideas to help you celebrate Valentine's Day on social media
- [Bonus] Free interactive social media holiday calendar for 2023
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.
According to NRF's 2022 Valentine's Day Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Valentine's Day spending reached its historic high in 2020 with $ 27.4B in the U.S. After a drop in 2021 ($ 21.8B) it recovered in 2022 ($ 23.9B).
Source: NRF's 2022 Valentine's Day Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics
NRF's report also shows us that an evening out made a comeback in 2022 after a big drop in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since it's very likely this trend will keep going up, you should take extra care of your 2023 Valentine's day promotion if you're in the hospitality industry.
Read our guide to social media marketing for restaurants to pick up on some additional tips and tricks.
Source: NRF's 2022 Valentine's Day spending survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics
As for the rest, the gifting ideas have remained almost unchanged:
- Greeting cards
- An evening out
Having said this, we need to highlight one gifting idea that didn't make the top five but is slowly but surely increasing in popularity: gift cards.
Source: NRF's 2022 Valentine's Day Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics
If you have an e-Commerce business, you might want to include digital vouchers and gift cards in your Valentine's Day marketing. This tactic could help separate you from the competition and allow you to reach a new target audience.
Ensure to plan this holiday campaign according to the social media trends for 2023. The key to launching a successful social media campaign is to keep in mind the changes in your customers' behaviour and needs, as well as trending formats and changes in the algorithm.
10 ideas to help you celebrate Valentine's Day on social media
- Run Valentine's Day promotion on best-selling products
- Shower your audience with love and value
- Use Valentine's Day hashtags
- Post interactive posts to boost engagement
- Share your love with a new audience via ads
- Organise a Valentine's Day-themed event
- Create interactive apps or experiences
- Launch a microsite or landing page
- Use Valentine's Day Instagram captions
- Don't forget about the singles
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 customers even anticipate it.
However, creative social media managers have found a way to link Valentine's Day with less romantic products successfully. Soak in some inspiration from LG! Home appliances and other gadgets might not be romantic throughout the year, but they can be excellent Valentine's gifts for couples starting to live together - as long as you pair them with the right message.
2. Shower your audience with love and value
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 is an excellent way to shower you audience with love!
It could be in the form of helpful 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 share a helpful 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 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 participate in a contest (see more tips on contests below).
You can even use hashtags on LinkedIn to further your reach, spread love this Valentine's Day, and 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. And don't get us started on hashtags on TikTok, as they are one of the factors that actually impact its algorithm.
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 celebrated all people as individuals while underlining the importance of loving and caring for oneself.
Source: The Body Shop's Instagram profile
4. Post interactive posts to boost engagement
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 interactive posts to test how engaged your audiences are.
Interactive posts are your "secret" weapon to boost engagement not just during holidays, but throughout the year. So make sure to include a generous amount of them in your social media content calendar.
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 to 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 simultaneously engaging and rewarding your most loyal customers.
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 and other relevant conversations, like brand mentions or competitors.
5. Share your love with a new audience via ads
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 you should post on social media is crucial for reaching your existing audience, advertising on key social media networks like Facebook, TikTok, 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 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 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 significantly improve your e-commerce sales around holidays like Valentine's Day. Learn how to leverage this feature with our guide expertly!
6. Organise a Valentine's Day-themed event
Online matchmaking events are widespread 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 popular and successful on social media.
Why not stream live on Instagram or TikTok? It's harder to organise and schedule than a simple post, but it can be effective if the brand you manage wants to bring its followers 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. 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 few people can afford.
8. Launch 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 your budget allows, create a landing page for this Valentine's Day as the pinnacle of your holiday campaign.
It's all good to spread awareness and improve a brand's image, but your client will want you to prove your social media activities' return on investment (ROI). 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. Use Valentine's Day Instagram captions
If you are stretched for time, you may opt for a simple greeting for your followers on Valentine's Day.
Use your Instagram caption for a love-themed pun that relates to your business, and pair it with a sweet image or video.
Here's some inspiration for your Valentine's Day captions:
- First best is falling in love. Second best is showing your love with ____________. [insert your product]
- All you need is love. But don't let your other half get hangry this Valentine's Day. Book now!
- What's a _________ [insert buyer persona] favourite thing about Valentine's Day? All the _________. [insert a word with double meaning]
- A gift as __________ [insert adjective that describes product] as your love.
- Treat yourself this Valentine's Day with our __________. [insert offer]
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, 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 also smart to revamp your social media marketing campaigns!
This assumption is backed by the NRF and their recent data on Valentine's Day spending.
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%).
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.
If you're considering 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
[Bonus] Free interactive social media holiday calendar for 2023
Celebrating special events and holidays on social media is a great way to loosen up and show a brand's fun side. While you need to be results-driven to justify spending your time on this, we recommend keeping things fun and avoiding being boring on Valentine's Day.
But this holiday is only the first big one of the year. Many more are to come, so plan your content calendar in advance. Our free and fully interactive social media holiday calendar covers over 300 holidays, and each one of them includes an actionable tip and hashtags.