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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! If you don’t have a game plan in place for how your store is going to capture its share of the holiday spending, don’t fret! There’s still time to launch a social media campaign to drive those last minute purchases. From contests to carefully curated shoppable gift guides, we’ve collected our favorite last-minute Valentine’s Day social media marketing ideas both you and your customers will love.

You Can’t Buy Love…

But you can buy lavish gifts, exquisite dinners, decadent chocolates, and stunning floral arrangements.

Valentine’s Day is the 4th largest spending holiday, with the average person doling out about $145 on gifts, dinner, and sweet treats for their sweetie. But unlike Christmas, where the shopping season starts months in advance, many people tend to do their Valentine’s Day shopping last minute. About 32% of shoppers do their shopping the week of Valentine’s Day, while 9% risk it all and shop the day of.

The last minute, impulsive nature of consumers makes this holiday ideal for social media-centric campaigns. Whether you’re trying to drive gift card purchases or day-of prix-fixe menu reservations, these social media campaigns will capture the hearts – and wallets – of love-stricken individuals everywhere.

Our Top 4 Social Media Campaign Ideas

1) Sponsor A Contest Fit for Cupid

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, ad space becomes a commodity.  With increased competition and rising costs, you’ll want to think outside the paid media box. Keep in mind that you’re not the only company or brand vying for those precious Valentine’s dollars.

Instead of following the crowd by sponsoring posts and running ads, consider hosting a fun contest that makes customers aware of both your brand AND your amazing Valentine’s Day offers. Here are two contest ideas to get you started:

Who’s Your Valentine?

Valentine’s Day used to focus solely on two people in love. Now, romantic involvement isn’t necessary for people to share their love far and wide on the big day. From gal pals to favorite teachers to four-legged fur-iends, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a Valentine.

These Valentine declarations aren’t solely lip-service either. Consumers spend about $26 on their pet, $50 on their family, and $36 on their friends for Valentine’s Day. Leverage this broadening of the term “Valentine” to your brand’s advantage by hosting a contest that encourages your fans to post a photo of their Valentine – regardless who or what they are!

As a best practice, you’ll want to tie an incentive to your contest to encourage participation. Some ideas for prizes or other incentives are:

  • Gift cards
  • Themed swag bags
  • Free products
  • Experiences like trips/special dinners

Story Contest

Have you ever read a post online that moved you in an unexpected way? There you were casually scrolling Facebook when all of a sudden a rogue post has you reaching for the tissue box.

It seems like Valentine’s Day brings out the Nicholas Sparks in people, as stories of found love and lost opportunities start taking over your customers’ social news feeds. Leverage this eagerness to share by hosting a story contest.

You can encourage your social fans to share a variety of personal stories, including::

  • How you met your love;
  • When you knew they were “the one”;
  • Best/worst Valentine’s Day;
  • Best/worst first date.

Remember that these stories do not have to apply to couples only. Some people may submit their story based on their adopted pet or best friend (which could be one and the same). You can ask fans and followers to vote for their favorite story and dole out prizes based on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

If your fans and followers are on the fence about participating, make it worth their while! Offer all participants a discount code upon submission. Even if they don’t win a sweet prize, you can still treat them to a little discount shopping.   

Regardless of the type of Valentine’s Day contest you execute be sure to keep these best practices in mind:

  1. Make sure your contest is legal in your state. Pay attention to the difference between sweepstakes, contests, and lotteries to ensure your contest is on the up-and-up.
  2. On top of following the law, you also need to ensure your contest aligns with Facebook’s rules and regulations (or the social platform you’re hosting the contest on).
  3. Make sure your consumers are aware of the contest. The more people that know about your contest, the more entries you’ll receive.
  4. Keep your contest simple and make it easy to enter in order to earn even more entries.
  5. Ditch the spreadsheets and manual verification. Use an advocacy marketing tool (like SocialToaster) to help you manage and communicate your contest efforts.

2) Create and Post Valentine’s Day Gift Guides

Shopping for someone else is easier said than done. Providing your fan base with a Valentine’s Day gift guide can take the stress out of their holiday shopping and solve that what-to-buy-them dilemma. To turn your gift guides into purchase driving machines, use a platform like Polyvore, Pinterest, or Instagram to create “shoppable” posts.

Understanding that Valentine’s Day is celebrated by a broad spectrum of consumers, be sure to create guide lists that appeal to a variety of customers:

  • Gifts for Him
  • Gifts for Her
  • Gifts for your Bestie
  • Gifts for Mom
  • Gifts for Dad
  • Gifts for Pets
  • Gifts for Yourself
  • Gifts for Teachers

As you create your guides, be sure to publish and share them across all of your social media accounts. You can even kick your gift guides up a notch by filtering your selections based on “traditional,” theme, and price point.

3) Host and Promote Flash Sales

Over 300 million people are interacting with Instagram Stories daily, and there are nearly 150 million Story watchers on Facebook. With this many viewers utilizing the Story feature on each platform, Stories have become a can’t-miss social media tool.

Nearly 59% of business page Stories take users to a shoppable page. Embrace the Story-feature by creating and promoting story content that advertises a Valentine’s Day-themed flash sale – or a limited-quantity, limited-time promotional offer offered by an ecommerce store, and help to create a sense of buying urgency. Additionally, since the sales are only live for a limited time or in limited quantity, many businesses use these sales to support a higher discount.

Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat only last for 24 hours, which makes them ideal for promoting short-lived flash sales. Consider running a week of flash sales leading up to Valentine’s Day to further push sales during the holiday.

4) Don’t Forget About the Singles

With all this talk about love, it’s easy to forget that over half of Americans are single for Valentine’s Day – but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to participate. In fact, a quarter of all singles will participate in some sort of Valentine’s Day spending and he average woman will spend $40 on something special for herself or someone else in her life (like a pet or galentine).

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only holiday that your single social media fans are participating in. February 15th has been commandeered in the UK (and by most in the US) as Single Awareness Day. A day of celebrating and embracing an individual’s single status.  

Be sure to have a social media strategy that leverages both days in order to reach as wide an audience as possible with your social media single posts. To help increase the visibility of these posts, be sure to use relevant hashtags including:

  • #treatyoself
  • #singlesawarnessday
  • #galentinesday
  • #singlelife

Life’s Better When We’re Together

Hate the idea of facing another Valentine’s Day alone? We’re here to help!

SocialToaster is an award-winning advocacy marketing tool that has helped businesses both big and small leverage their biggest fans to drive social engagement and sales. Learn more about how SocialToaster can help you capture last-minute sales this Valentine’s Day. Contact us at 443.393.2600 to request your free demo.