Another Black Friday has come and gone, and this year it seems retailers shouted louder than ever. But were shoppers really listening? We know the challenge…
“Black Friday is a double-edged sword for most digital marketers. We know consumer engagement is going to be unusually high so it’s an ideal time to try and capture their attention, but we also know that all marketers are having the very same thought, so it can be difficult to stand out in such a crowded space."
– Spongecell chief executive, Ben Kartzman
Especially for shoppers active on social media and following multiple brands and retailers, constant streams of Tweets and posts about the “best deals” created more noise in an already cluttered environment.
The downfall of most retailers during this time is that they’re still treating social as just another touchpoint, relying on the same content they are pushing in already established vehicles – messages about price deals, sweepstakes, bundled offers and special coupons.
Sure, deals are an important, if not the most important part of Black Friday, and serve as easy content to drive traffic and sales. But there’s a more meaningful connection to be made. And social media, an already established place for shoppers to connect and become inspired, should have been and can always be a ripe opportunity to do so.
While it’s too early to tell who was a real winner in sales, we can learn from brands that connected with shoppers in the #blackfriday conversation in a more emotional way.
Winners created meaning: If you think about the essence of Black Friday, there are virtually no human-friendly activities because everyone is so focused on price, and competing with others to get to it on time. The value of a personal, genuine connection from a brand is substantial because you can stand out. Be friendly! Examples…
- This year, Dyson had a Black Friday sale at major retailers, but also created “outdoor pods” in Chicago featuring its AM05 Heater, where shoppers could stay warm while waiting to get into stores, thereby making their product the hero by rescuing shoppers from the cold – while demonstrating their product’s strengths. They promoted this experience to shoppers in line regularly throughout the night on Twitter.
Winners added value after Black Friday: Use Black Friday as a spring board to continue the conversation with shoppers after the holiday rush. Example…
- Walgreens created a socially driven campaign called “7 resolutions for real life.” The campaign promoted seven beauty and healthcare products to help start the New Year off on the right track.
Winners made it simple: Black Friday is about one thing, and that’s shopping. Trying to make it more than that can sometimes backfire. Winners keep the shopper “ask” on social platforms easy and turnkey to engage people. Examples…
- Best Buy did a campaign last year called #VineinLine, a “Better Way to Black Friday.” The idea was for shoppers to capture their experience standing in line waiting on the store to open, in an effort for shoppers to share the chaos. This was an easy way to make Best Buy stand out, keep shoppers engaged and relieve some boredom.
- Lowe’s also recognized the simplicity and directness of Vine that helps them cut through the clutter. They produced short-form video ads as part of the “Fix in Six” campaign, offering a quick, simple answer to a problem (including generous deals on Lowe’s merchandise).
Winners gave helpful guidance: Give shoppers content that inspires and informs in their need to find the products they want. Example…
- Best Buy knows that social is providing an unsolicited recommendation engine for products, so they leveraged a new technology to display to shoppers, both online and in-store, the products that are garnering the most buzz on Twitter. Their social platform, bestbuy.com/trending aggregates this content, including the top shopping-related Tweets.
Winners deliver the unexpected: It’s no more complicated than that. Examples…
- Knowing that people feel guilty about all of the calories consumed on Thanksgiving, Gold’s Gym delivered truly helpful content that went beyond just selling memberships. They partnered with a Food Network Chef to provide healthy recipes to their “Trim the Fat Friday” page on GoldsGym.com, and promoted this same recipe content on their social platforms
Original ideas paired with a social platform are a great way to reinforce the inherent strengths and identity of your brand, and will help broaden the shopper’s perception from a retail destination with deals and discounts to an environment of unique engagement, value and experience.
- Go beyond the promotion block and tackle
- Use social to deliver emotional cues, unique experiences, real value
- Understand the larger role that social plays in driving relevance and meaning for your retail or product brand
Mary Kotyuk is a Director of Marketing Activation based out of Momentum Chicago