No matter the season, the best social media campaign will echo your audience’s values, offer a fresh take on a familiar product, service or industry and create a memorable brand experience.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re serving up some of the best Thanksgiving social media posts in recent memory. And we’re sharing advice on how to (pumpkin) spice up your content marketing.
Consider this guide your recipe for social media success.
- Embracing Friendsgiving With Target
- A Whole Foods Holiday Collaboration
- REI’s ‘How to: Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal’
- Coca-Cola: More Than Just Carbonation
- Butterball’s ‘Time Is of the Essence’
- The Turkey Hotline You Never Knew You Needed from Jennie-O
- food52 ‘SIDES Week’
The reality of Thanksgiving for many younger generations is that they don’t necessarily live close to family, and they’re less likely to have time off work. This is where Friendsgiving comes in, a gathering of pals to enjoy dinner.
That’s the true joy of Friendsgiving: you, your friends, vibes.
Target recognizes that with their Pinterest post, which hopes to inspire by offering “Friendsgiving ideas to serve up and share.”
Why It Works
Target leans into one of its core customer bases’ favorite pastimes: celebrating Thanksgiving with like-minded friends instead of family. And the retailer links readers to a full-length article complete with simple, but visually appealing, ideas that you can implement in your Friendsgiving this year.
While your parents and extended family may traditionally have a stranglehold on what food can be served, at whose house and at what time, you can always do your own thing for Thanksgiving. That’s exactly why about 40% of Gen Z and Millennials celebrate the non-traditional version of the holiday, according to Collage Group.
Successful lifestyle influencer Bonnie Barton, known as Flashesofstyle online, partnered with Whole Foods to showcase an easy way to create a fall bouquet that can be used as a Thanksgiving decoration — all captured in an Instagram Reel.
This a great example of using items from the store that some people may not know are available to create an aesthetically pleasing reel that can be easily recreated.
Why It Works
What’s great about this post is that it checks a lot of social media boxes. It’s:
- Topically aware.
It’s also very visual, personal and tactical. Viewers can gather interesting tips to spruce up their Thanksgiving decorations in the future, all while staying within budget and impressing family with their floral arrangement skills.
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3. Coca-Cola: More Than Just Carbonation
People cook with Coca-Cola and use the bottles for decoration?
At least that’s the message the beverage maker conveys in its Thanksgiving campaign on Pinterest.
In a truly resourceful example of squeaking every last bit of marketing value out of your product, Coca-Cola prompts fans and children to turn each bottle into a colorful turkey. And the company ensures its product placement is perfect for each pin.
Why It Works
Whereas some of the companies on this list are explicitly food brands with close ties to Thanksgiving, Coca-Cola isn’t really. That doesn’t stop the carbonated soft drink manufacturer from elbowing its way into the Thanksgiving cheer.
With creative displays of tangential use cases and simple product-based recipes, Coca-Cola uses its social posts to solidify its brand image and brand association with all things Thanksgiving.
4. food52 ‘SIDES Week’
What do you get when you stir together a community of foodies, influencers and seasonal recipes?
A delectable social media campaign from food52.
As the name suggests, the company got its start sharing weekly recipes with followers. This holiday season, food52 has embarked on a “SIDES Week,” in which a new recipe for Thanksgiving dinner sides is posted and tagged to contributors.
If you’re looking to expand your Thanksgiving plates with some foodie-approved sides or just want to salivate at casserole, you’ve come to the right place.
Why It Works
Bringing a stellar side to Thanksgiving dinner is a great way to one-up your annoying aunt and express gratitude to the glory of a huge meal. And food52 has given you just that opportunity.
By staying true to its roots and posting weekly recipes, food52 delivers brand consistency. Putting a Thanksgiving spin on their namesake is a no-brainer this time of year. Followers of the food brand know they can trust the quality and the source of food52 recipe ideas, and they can engage with like-minded commenters in a meaningful, supportive way.
An online community extends the reach of your brand voice, and it defines your image on social media. And that’s something food52 can be thankful for because they’ve cultivated a passionate and polite following during a time of giving and gratitude.
5. Butterball’s ‘Time Is of the Essence’
Turkey seller Butterball is probably more excited about Thanksgiving than your average brand. Thanksgiving day is not just a one-off affair — the leadup and the leftovers are just as important.
In this Instagram post, the company slaps its brand colors and logo on a simple November calendar to emphasize its humorous side. The meme offers a change from Butterball’s conventional marketing style — heavy on hi-res photography and juicy turkeys — while also intuitively promoting the urgency of their campaign.
The countdown to Thanksgiving begins early and Butterball is perfectly positioned to capitalize on sales.
Why It Works
Butterball has stretched the definition of a holiday season marketing campaign. In Butterball’s universe, Thanksgiving is a month-long holiday with loved ones, pumpkin pie and gravy — there’s no need to contain turkey day to the fourth Thursday of November.
This post builds excitement and appreciation for Thanksgiving while at the same time setting the stage for continued Thanksgiving reminders even after the holiday has passed. There are still plenty of leftovers!
6. This or That with Walmart
Walmart is a master of visually appealing content on Instagram, while still appealing to the average person. Their Thanksgiving post is a GIF that asks age-old questions like “Pumpkin or pecan pie?” and “Mashed or sweet potatoes?”
Why It Works
This GIF is perfect for a Thanksgiving post because it is nice to look at and fits in well with the typical holiday theme while remaining branded as Walmart. The caption mentions that they are closed during the holiday, but still encourages online interaction by asking questions that can be answered in the comments.
7. How to Use Trends with Abercombie
Abercrombie and Fitch is one of the most interesting brands, with their early 2000’s popularity waning only to come back in full force within the past two years. Part of the reason they were able to become a more trendy brand again is their smart usage of social media. Their 2022 post on TikTok is a great example of this.
Why It Works
Tik Tok is one of the most popular social media platforms, with over one billion monthly active users worldwide, according to DataReportal. Abercrombie posts a TikTok that shares one of their model’s favorite fall outfits that would be great for a casual Thanksgiving meal with your friends or family. This strategy ticks several boxes:
- Gets on board with the Fall Favorites trend.
- Uses a popular social media platform.
This gets the audience thinking about what they’re going to wear to the next fall gathering and might encourage them to head on over to their website to scout something out.
8. Creatively Cracking Jokes with Ulta Beauty
On Twitter, Ulta Beauty takes an unexpected approach to their Thanksgiving day post. Taking the idea of the pie chart to the next level, they gently poke fun at some of the stressors that come with the holiday, all while connecting to their specific target audience.
Why it works
This is a relatively simple post, but its simplicity is one of its strengths. Not only is it creative and a little funny, but the image itself can be used across platforms. It’s likely to perform well on Twitter, Instagram and even Pinterest. The image is visually appealing but also encourages interaction without being too pushy. Talk about a win-win!
B2C vs B2B Social Media Pointers
Thanksgiving in today’s climate is not as celebrated or lucrative as Halloween or Christmas. In fact, when compiling this list, it was clear that many of the world’s top brands skip right over Thanksgiving in their content marketing and social media campaigns — they jump straight to Black Friday and Christmas.
This reality offers insight into whether it even makes sense to devote marketing dollars to Thanksgiving, depending on your business and industry.
Thanksgiving is inherently a consumer holiday, and many B2C brands run a specific sale, giveaway or special event to drive conversions. But be mindful that:
- The holiday season aligns with higher levels of loneliness and anxiety. Comforting, positive messaging is important.
- Consumers celebrate Thanksgiving in lots of different ways, including virtual or with friends, so don’t make blanket statements that might diminish your reach.
- Not everyone is meticulously planning a holiday meal weeks in advance. Some will buy a turkey the day of! Offer followers the ability to engage with your brand online and in person at all times of the day, depending on where they are in the funnel.
Historically, B2B brands are less active on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. LinkedIn and Twitter are more on their playing field. So:
- Know your audience’s preferred social channels.
- Don’t use every holiday as an excuse to post content that’s not really relevant to your business or your customers’ interests. You don’t have to have an opinion on everything.
- Craft content that is educational and empathetic — not opportunistic.
How Will Your Brand Say ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ This Season?
In developing your Thanksgiving post strategy, think about what messages your audience members really want and need to hear during this complicated time of year.
With that as your guide, you’ll be able to create posts your followers will gobble up.
Editor’s Note: Updated November 2022