By Caroline Henley

November 24th, 2015

Black Friday presents a unique opportunity for retailers–it’s the one day of the year that mobilizes people to all go shopping. Consumers go out of their way to look for deals and are often purchase-ready upon entering the store’s doors or landing page.

So how can advertisers use social media to reach customers to drum up anticipation for Black Friday? And how can they break through the noise in what’s become a ridiculously competitive shopping landscape?

In their attempt to outflank their competition, many brands are continuing the trend of offering deals earlier in Thanksgiving week, often before Black Friday and Thanksgiving even take place. Let’s take a look at what campaigns are already trending and the social media content that is resonating with deal-hungry shoppers.

Black Friday 7x more popular than Cyber Monday
That retailers are opening stores earlier and earlier (from 5am a few years ago, to 4am, to 6pm the day before) points to the power of the day after Thanksgiving as a major source of profit.

According to Pymnts.com, “In 2014, $50.9 billion was spent during the 4-day Black Friday weekend.”

And Cyber Monday has grown in prominence as well. According to Fundivo, “In 2014, Cyber Monday online sales grew to a record $2.68 billion, compared with 2013’s $2.29 billion.”

Historically, Black Friday has been 25x more profitable than Cyber Monday, but as Cyber Monday is an online event–we can ask if these holidays’ profit growths have scaled alongside their growing reach on Twitter?

This year, the #BlackFriday hashtag is seven times more popular than #CyberMonday.

black friday social media

#BlackFriday began trending on Twitter a week ahead of the actual event, growing in popularity in the lead-up to Friday.

Let’s look at the biggest retailers that are trending alongside the hashtag, “#BlackFriday.”

black friday social media

Best Buy spiked early, and Macy’s took the lead on Friday–let’s look at what these retailers are doing to make waves on Twitter.

black friday social media

Best Buy lays it all on the table
Looking at Best Buy’s spike on Friday, November 12th, reveals the chain had released its deals in an ad, two weeks before the shopping event itself. The ad inspired some press and the full list of Best Buy’s deals was shared widely on Twitter.  

Looking back at previous press pick-up these deals have received, the release came a full week earlier than in past years. Clearly there’s a demand for informing shoppers earlier, and rallying Black Friday hype through the press.

black friday social media

black friday social media

Macy’s leverages its stars
On Friday, November 20th, Macy’s released a star-studded TV commercial online, which feature the celebrities from its clothing lines–Martha Stewart, Ariana Grande, Ryan Seacrest Jessica Simpson, and Thalía Sodi.

Popular singer Thalía shared the video ad on Twitter to her 8 million followers, which made way for Macy’s biggest Black Friday push on Twitter thus far. She’s the one celebrity involved who chose to share it–but in doing so, gave Macy’s some great additional exposure.

black friday social media

By leveraging their partner talent, Macy’s was able to pick up a thousand shares on Twitter a week before Black Friday.

Victoria’s Secret asks for its fans’ help
Now let’s take a look at a slew of fashion brandsH&M, Topshop, Uniqlo, Sephora, Zara, Forever21, etc. These clothing stores have been quieter on the #BlackFriday hashtag than the big box retailers.

Save for oneVictoria’s Secret.

In fact, Victoria’s Secret #BlackFriday tweets has earned the handle six times the reach over Best Buy and Macy’s efforts.

black friday social media

What drove this spike of 6k mentions for Victoria’s Secret in one day on Twitter?

black friday social media

The brand asked its fans for help using a quick call-to-action: if a tweet received 5k retweets in two days, Victoria’s Secret would reveal a Black Friday deal.

black friday social media

Victoria’s Secret’s informal, mysterious, insider tone resulted in over 6k retweets. And the reveal? A $30 crew, available on sale throughout the week of Thanksgiving.

black friday social media

So how did the reveal go over with fans–was it worth their shares, did the deal add value to what they’d want from Victoria’s Secret?

We can take a look at sentiment around the Victoria’s Secret Black Friday mentions on Sunday to see how the contest and reveal was received by those who participated. There is no evidence of negative sentiment–0%–so it looks like their fans were happy with the contest and prize. 

black friday social media

We can also look at a sampling of positive comments.

black friday social media

Letting fans in on the action–and leaning in on what works best within the medium of Twitter–gave the brand huge traction the weekend before Black Friday.

How to win Black Friday… or any Friday 
Victoria’s Secret gained 6k views the weekend before Black Friday, and it cost them nothing–in fact, people were eager to share the brand’s own advertising.

So what are the takeaways here for your brand’s organic efforts on social?

Combine the learnings from these three brands to win Black Friday, or any Friday:

  1. Use social as a channel to inform–like Best Buy did, listing out the coming deals in an announcement 
  2. Draw out crowd-pleasing content–like Macy’s putting its celebrities front and center
  3. Lean in to your social media channel’s unique ways to share–like Victoria’s Secret calling on its fans to retweet to unlock its deal

Have you seen some noteworthy Black Friday social marketing? Share it with us on Twitter, tweeting to @FalconIO, and we’ll retweet the best examples.

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