How social media changed the game for #blackfriday

This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness may have finally come to an end, but discussion about the season’s winners and losers is only just beginning. Social media changed the game more than ever this year – while Black Friday sales increased just 0.3 percent, social media chatter was up an astounding 250 percent […]

This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness may have finally come to an end, but discussion about the season’s winners and losers is only just beginning. Social media changed the game more than ever this year – while Black Friday sales increased just 0.3 percent, social media chatter was up an astounding 250 percent […]

This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness may have finally come to an end, but discussion about the season’s winners and losers is only just beginning. Social media changed the game more than ever this year – while Black Friday sales increased just 0.3 percent, social media chatter was up an astounding 250 percent from last year.

Retailers and brands have traditionally remained tight-lipped about their offers up until the last minute, but this year, social media allowed marketers to build buzz among consumers in the days leading up to the event. So who did it best?

  • Without a doubt, Target was one of the biggest winners of the day. In addition to a hilarious advertising campaign, the retail giant launched a massive social media campaign – creating a Twitter handle for the star of the ads, @ChristmasChamp and even buying the #BlackFriday hashtag, which posted the company’s tweets above the rest anytime a user clicked the hashtag link. Target also captured the most Foursquare checkins, accounting for 25 percent of all check-in activity on Friday.
  • Radio Shack created a mobile game of sorts and offered up to 20 percent off for users whounlocked their “Holiday Hero” badge on Foursquare by checking in to a “hero” location, such as a gym or place of transit, and then at a RadioShack store. They also created a #ShackFriday hashtag, which localized discussion around the store’s deals.
  • Sports Authority also took the location-based approach, offering a chance to win a $500 gift card to people who check in on Foursquare and post it to Twitter. Twenty winners were chosen at random, and when a winner was selected, the store manager would announce his or her name over the intercom.
  • Toys “R” Us created a mobile shopping app for Blackberry and iPhone users that featured promotions, offers, shopping tips and item availability. They also offered a 15 percent discount for purchases greater than $150 for the first 3,000 people to check in on Foursquare, Facebook Places and Yelp.
  • Amazon.com, which took the #1 spot as the most talked about retailer, drove chatter and promoted Cyber Monday deals through its @AmazonDeals Twitter feed.

  • Wal-Mart implemented a Facebook app, CrowdSaver, to bring Groupon-esque deals to its Facebook fans. The retailer also invited 2,000 of its 2.5 million Facebook followers to an open house at select locations where participants were given free samples and other holiday giveaways.

A few trends are evident in looking at the major social media successes of the two-day shopping extravaganza:

  • Location-based services are more popular than ever before, and by offering exclusive deals for users who check in in-store, retailers and brands can increase foot traffic and sales.
  • The ease-of-use of mobile apps improves the shopping experience for customers and ultimately increases sales. Likewise, the proliferation of Facebook has encouraged retailers to start building promotions right in to their pages.
  • Cross-platform promotions are key to getting customers to engage with a brand – for example, users needed to both check in on Foursquare and post to Twitter in order to receive a special deal.
  • Brands and retailers are starting to utilize more unique platforms for their social media campaigns, but the heaviest promotion still occurs through Facebook and Twitter.

As evidenced this year, there has been a major shift in focus for brands looking to promote major events like this. So –did YOU take advantage of any Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotions? How have you seen brands and retailers rethink their marketing and PR strategy to keep up with the social media evolution?

 

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