Remember Black Friday’s of a bygone era? Countless people camped outside of retailers in the early morning the day after Thanksgiving—some even on Thanksgiving night. The stores offered unbeatable deals. There was mayhem in every aisle. It was a national pastime that became a worldwide phenomenon.
Spurred by the growth of online shopping and social commerce, Black Friday evolved into a month-long event. Camp-outs turned into late nights on retailer websites and social media shops. If you want to make the most of the holiday shopping surge this year, your Black Friday marketing strategy must transform, too.
In this guide, we walk through how to build Black Friday social media campaigns that will boost your overall strategy this holiday season.
Types of Black Friday social media campaigns (with examples)
According to Sprout Social’s Advanced Social Listening tool, there was a 21% increase in total Black Friday mentions on social from 2020 to 2021, suggesting buzz for the retail holiday continues to grow. But with an 18% decrease in total engagements, the fight to gain consumer attention will be harder than ever.
Shoppers are most likely to focus their attention on retail segments with the most enticing offers. Companies known for featuring the best Black Friday deals include:
- Clothing retailers
- Electronics retailers
- Department stores
- Small businesses
- Ecommerce brands
- Skincare and makeup companies
- Furniture and home improvement retailers
- Toy makers
But any brand can create a winning Black Friday marketing strategy by tapping into the power of social. Here are some proven Black Friday marketing strategy examples that have worked for other brands and can help inspire your campaign planning.
Giveaways and contests
Grab consumer attention by giving away free merchandise. Create a social media giveaway or contest to improve your engagement and supercharge the buzz around your brand.
Giveaways and contests boost your follower count, convert leads, amplify brand awareness and increase loyalty.
Get ready, besties. We’re giving away 1,000 Brrr the Snowman ice cream cakes. Unscramble the code to claim yours. Available online only. pic.twitter.com/m7ObHbBC8N
— Baskin-Robbins (@BaskinRobbins) November 26, 2021
Last Black Friday, Baskin Robbins gave away 1,000 ice cream cakes to their followers. To take home a cake, they had to unscramble the code the ice cream chain shared on social media.
Their Twitter post about the giveaway received almost 6,500 views, an impressive feat considering most people aren’t thinking about ice cream while holiday shopping.
If you want to incentivize your audience to return to your website or shop with you after Black Friday ends, promote your rewards or loyalty program. These programs typically offer discounts, coupons or early access to repeat shoppers.
Brands that give their repeat customers extra perks can encourage brand loyalty, especially if they provide an experience that people enjoy.
GameStop offered four times the rewards points to their Pros during their Black Friday sale in 2021. This was the highest rewards value their customers received all year, making it the perfect can’t-miss opportunity to promote during Black Friday.
Consumers are discerning. When they are looking to buy, the average consumer will now consult 10 or more brand channels before making a purchasing decision.
During Black Friday, tap into omnichannel marketing by creating a seamless customer experience—from your social platforms and chatbots to email strategy and customer care. Meet your customers exactly where they’re at in every stage of their journey.
Share your promotions across channels and use different social platform tools to captivate your audience. During Macy’s Cyber Monday Specials campaign, they promoted their LiveDeals Facebook event on Instagram. The campaign created a new way for customers to interact with the department store and their products.
A brand community is made up of people who have an emotional connection to your brand. When you reach your community effectively, you will increase brand loyalty and even encourage customers to become brand evangelists.
Take a cue from your community when creating your Black Friday content. Get to know their other favorite brands, favorite social media aesthetics and how they spend their holidays. Use your insights to guide your social content development.
For example, Golde released three holiday gift guides last Black Friday. Their guides featured their superfoods and other products from small businesses they knew their community would love. Fun? Check. Aesthetically pleasing? Check. Happy community? Check.
Black Friday marketing strategy tips
When developing a Black Friday marketing strategy for social, you need to plan ahead. Now is the time to get your content calendar in order, take stock of what’s been successful for you this year (metrics-wise) and think about how you’re going to stand out in a swarm of other Black Friday social media campaigns.
Follow these tips to execute your Black Friday marketing strategy successfully.
Encourage opt-ins and new followers
Start building awareness for your brand by engaging new potential followers and email subscribers. Use an early-bird special to entice customers to follow your social accounts or to opt-in to your email newsletter for a special Black Friday discount code.
Focus on growing your customer base long before Black Friday so your content can reach a wider audience.
A/B test different creative strategies
By kicking off your Black Friday campaigns early, you can A/B test your different creative options. For example, analyze how a short-form video performs compared to an infographic with the same message.
When it grows closer to Black Friday, go with the creative format that will bring the most engagements, awareness and positive sentiment.
Partner with creators and influencers
Working with creators and influencers can help you generate more engagement, reach new audiences and strengthen your community on social this Black Friday. Start reaching out to them as soon as possible.
Find creators and influencers that resonate with your audience and have experience with your products to build the most impactful campaigns. Remember the best content is educational and entertaining.
Prepare your profiles
One of the easiest things you need to do to prepare for Black Friday is get your profiles ready. An up-to-date profile is an essential part of converting viewers and followers into buyers and brand superfans.
People will notice your profile photos (both headers and profile pics) first. Consider updating your photos with a holiday-inspired theme.
You should add links in your profile bios (Instagram, Twitter) or in the about sections (Facebook, LinkedIn) to your Black Friday promos.
Make sure all of the links in your profiles are in working order. You don’t want people hitting error pages.
You can also pin posts to the top of your profile. Be sure to pin the best promotion you’re running this holiday season.
Automate elements of your social strategy
As we head toward the holiday season, expect to ramp up your customer care strategy and your content production. To build a strategy that prevents your team from getting burned out during this busy season, use automated tools to scale smoothly.
By using a social media management platform like Sprout, you will be able to:
- Schedule posts in advance at the best time of day
- Program chatbots to handle the influx of messages
- Track the performance of different post types
- Use social listening to monitor brand sentiment and conversations around your brand/industry
These tools will help you seamlessly and effectively execute in advance and during the big sale.
Create different promotions for different audiences
If you serve one specific, hyper-niche audience, then skip down to the next section. But, if you have several audience types, you should create different Black Friday social posts for each market segment.
For example, department stores should create posts highlighting their holiday deals geared toward different members of their audience. Whether it’s a customer who’s interested in home decor and electronics or a customer who’s looking for clothing and outdoor gear.
Black Friday social media campaigns to inspire you
One of the most challenging parts of building a successful Black Friday social media strategy is holding your own in the sea of other brands vying to grab consumer attention.
Let’s take a look at examples of brands producing stand-out Black Friday campaigns on social that you can use for inspiration.
REI believes a life outdoors is a life well-lived. This Black Friday (and every Black Friday in the future), they are closing their doors to give their employees a paid holiday and a chance to recharge (presumably outdoors).
REI is closing its stores and call centers on Black Friday forever and paying their employees to do anything else but shop. Their Opt Outside program is about “choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales” says their CEO.https://t.co/Yp4nmUyL2O
— The Progress Network (@progressntwrk) October 17, 2022
While the #OptOutside campaign might seem unorthodox, it’s perfectly aligned with the brand’s mission and values.
In addition to being closed, REI also encourages their customers to donate to grassroots groups that support their corporate mission.
Donate to the REI Cooperative Action Fund today. We’ll match every dollar up to $1 million through 12/31/21. Give back to the organizations honoring and protecting everyone’s right to be outside. #GivingTuesday
— REI (@REI) November 30, 2021
If a mission-based campaign seems like it could be a good fit for your brand, make sure it will seem authentic. The last thing you need during Black Friday is a PR stunt gone wrong. Stay true to your brand.
2. Primally Pure
Primally Pure, the online skincare brand with a cult following, goes all out for Black Friday. As a small business, their strategy on social media is to retain customers and build brand loyalty.
They go beyond the standard deals. Last year, Primally Pure’s week-long Black Friday content line-up was full of special perks for those in their loyalty program, giveaways and new product drops—content that reflects their larger business goals.
When designing your Black Friday social media campaign, remember to align with your business objectives (examples: build loyalty, raise awareness, increase revenue).
3. Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective makes eco-friendly activewear stylish, and their 2021 Black Friday social media campaign was just as chic as their products.
On TikTok, they leaned into user-generated content, while on Instagram they used eye-catching animations. By optimizing their content for each platform, they made their creative count, gaining tens of thousands of views on each of their Instagram Reels while the creator they partnered with gained 5,000 views on her sponsored video.
Girlfriend also stirred up major buzz when they started their holiday sales a week before Black Friday.
Take a lesson from their playbook when developing your campaign content:
- Optimize your visuals and social copy for each channel.
- Partner with creators who can inform your brand’s aesthetic and help you increase your awareness.
- Launch your Black Friday campaign before the holiday to gain media traction.
4. Shea Moisture
During Black Friday sales last year, Shea Moisture decided to go back to their roots and support the Black community. They launched the Next Black Millionaire Fund, a project that bolsters Black-owned businesses with grant money, distribution support and collaboration with Shea Moisture.
We are so excited to announce the launch of the Next Black Millionaire Fund!
Submit your application for a chance to grow your business, win 💰 $100,000 in innovation seeding + document your journey to becoming a millionaire.
For more information visit https://t.co/kTgzX89Pgw. pic.twitter.com/nyCBjZcEVH
— sheamoisture (@SheaMoisture) November 26, 2021
Though they also promoted Black Friday deals, it was the contest that gained the most attention. It was clear Shea Moisture understood their community.
Make sure your Black Friday content meets your community’s needs. Get to know your audience. Find out what they need during the holiday season—whether it’s a contest or helpful resources.
Start planning (and scheduling) your Black Friday social media posts
Black Friday is almost here. Don’t expect busy shopping malls and crowded parking lots. Your customers will be looking for deals online and on social.
To prepare for the retail holiday, make sure your Black Friday social media campaign and customer care strategy are in place well before the end of November.
As you build your campaign, remember to reinforce your mission, align with your organization’s goals, make your creative count and schedule your content ahead of time.
For more resources to help you plan your holiday strategy, check out our insights about holiday retail social media data.