Pro Advice

Social Media and Black Friday

This year Black Friday didn’t seem to come soon enough for many of the major retailers. Thanksgiving is one of a handful of days that I have off from the daily grind. One of my peaceful days–away from all of the noise if you will. Yet even on that day, I felt as though I was overwhelmingly bombarded with promotion after promotion. I had advertisements coming into my home through TV, my computer by emails, and my smart phone by texts and app messages. It was crazy!

What does black Friday even mean?

Black friday is simply a day for retailers to go from being in the “red”, to being in the “black”. Basically retailers go from debt to being profitable. I do wonder how they do this when they practically give things away. How can they go from debt to profit by selling items for less than what they pay for them? Simply put… old fashioned lost leaders. Many retailers stock only a few of those super low (below their cost) items, advertise the heck out of them, get as many people in their stores as possible, and when the shopper gets there, they find out that the advertised mega deal is out of stock. What the retailer really hopes, is that you will buy other items, because after all, you’re already there.

So who shops on Black Friday?

Millions of consumers shop on black friday. It’s said that over 130 million shoppers are out in full force on this sacred day for both retailers and buyers. That’s a lot of people, and people equal sales for the retailer. It’s a numbers game.

So what does all of this have to do with social media? 

According to the online publication “Internet retailer”, while shopping for the holidays, buyers say they are using and engaging with the following devices and activities.

Smart phones

54% will compare prices
47% will obtain product information
45% will shop online
44% will read customer reviews
31% will make a purchase
29% will access social networks
24% will sign up for retailers’ text messages for information and deals.


69% will shop online
58% will compare prices
58% will obtain product information
57% will read customer reviews
62% will make a purchase
32% will access a social network.

They also note that the 2013 holiday shopping season is “shaping up to be the most mobile holiday shopping season yet.”

Note that about 29% will access social networks on smart phones and 32% (slightly higher) on tablets. It’s important to see that shoppers are now being influenced by social media more than ever before. It’s also important to note that they carry devices with unprecedented power and that power gives them instant access to almost whatever information they need and at speeds faster than you can blink an eye.

Consider how social media impacts Black Friday sales and beyond

The data above outlines a very narrow snapshot of what is actually taking place in todays world of online retail. It indicates that a large percentage of device owners are relying more and more on their devices and in many cases social media to find deals, products and services, reviews, prices and more. The art of business is quickly becoming social, and in ways that many business owners still don’t get. Sure, the larger retailers get it and they are setting the model for which others will follow, but you don’t have to be in the retail business to use the strategies that they employ.

I still meet many small business owners that don’t see how social media fits into their model. Small business owners should consider planing a strategy with someone who understands the long term benefits of social media. Social media must be part of your marketing mix. It’s not direct marketing. It’s indirect and long term. There are no quick fix’s here, however it’s no longer an option. Keep in mind that every business is different and it does take time and effort, however the payoff in building and enhancing relationships, referrals, trust and business make it worth your investment. Take a look at how retailers are using social media both on black friday and throughout the year. You can learn quite a bit during black friday and the entire holiday season. Study their habits on social media channels and perhaps even interact with them to see how they respond publicly. Much of what you learn can be repurposed for your own business to help drive new sales in ways that you never thought possible.

If you’d like to learn more about social media planning, you can contact Lou Massari here. This article is brought to you by Paragon Media One Inc. A full service web agency.

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