Black Friday is the annual retail extravaganza that kicks off the holiday shopping season with colossal discounts. We’ll be delving into the dynamics of Black Friday and its relationship with the powerhouse of modern marketing, social media.
We’ll also look at seven Black Friday social media campaign strategies, peppered with real-life examples, to help brands navigate this tumultuous spree of spending. Join us as we uncover the secrets to a successful Black Friday in the digital age.
What is Black Friday?
Every year on the last Friday in November, Black Friday, begins. Typically, Black Friday sales start in the week(s) preceding giving consumers more time to make purchase decisions, and brands more time to start implementing their strategies across social and influencer channels.
Black Friday is when retailers offer big discounts on items across a range of categories. Fancy a new laptop? Cop one in the Black Friday sales.
The tradition of Black Friday started out in the US and marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season as it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving. Thousands if not millions of shoppers flock to their nearest retail outlet to do-battle over new goods. The rise of social, e-commerce and online shopping has changed the narrative however. Retailers now look to use social platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter/X and YouTube to drive interest around their time sensitive sales wherever possible.
Why are Black Friday social media campaigns important?
Social platforms are perhaps the most useful tool available to brands ahead of Black Friday. Leveraging real-time updates, broad reach, and interactive engagement have altered the way many brands approach the period.
Platforms like Twitter/X, Instagram, and TikTok can be used to instantly inform audiences about Black Friday deals, helping to build anticipation and hype. Brands also benefit from user-generated content that encourages users to share their experiences, which helps to generate credibility during a time where many brands are looking to drive as many sales as possible. Social platforms also enable brands to implement strategic targeting through influencer partnerships and the range of paid ad formats available across today’s platforms.
Social media is the driving force behind a lot of retailers Black Friday strategies, helping them amplify visibility, facilitate interaction, and provide a memorable experience to consumers looking to make the most of the lucrative Black Friday deals.
7 tips for Black Friday social media campaigns (+ brands getting it right)
1. Utilize Influencers
You might have noticed by now that we’re a global leader in the influencer marketing sector, so it was only a matter of time before touting the power of influencers.
Influencer partnerships can significantly bolster Black Friday campaigns for brands by leveraging the reach and trust influencers have with their dedicated audiences. By collaborating with influencers whose demographics align with their target market, brands can tap into a pre-existing engaged audience, boosting visibility and credibility. These influencers can create authentic content showcasing products or promotions, effectively driving traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Influencers often offer a fresh and relatable perspective, making them valuable assets for crafting compelling Black Friday narratives that resonate with consumers and ultimately lead to increased sales and brand recognition.
Last year, Gillette launched a Black Friday campaign with the goal of driving sales of its Gillette Labs Exfoliating Razor. The brand chose to partner with male Instagram influencers from lifestyle and parent verticals, aiming to target the male millennial audience.
The creative played out like a lot of Gillette’s traditional TV ads, with influencers filming the product in use, documenting their selfcare/shaving routine. The creators used the post captions to drive followers over to Amazon where they could make the most of Gillette’s lucrative Black Friday deal.
2. Harness Hashtags Strategically
For every hashtag, there’s a community interested in that niche. For example, #BlackFridayDeals on Instagram is a community filled with users looking for content around the best discounts available during the Black Friday period.
Brands should use strategic hashtags on Black Friday to maximize their online visibility and engagement. Black Friday is a highly competitive shopping event, and relevant hashtags can help brands stand out in the digital crowd. They enable easy discoverability of products and promotions by potential customers actively searching for deals.
Well-selected hashtags can align with a brand’s messaging, fostering a sense of community and loyalty among consumers. Choosing and implementing the right hashtags at Black Friday can be crucial to the success of a Black Friday social media marketing campaign.
3. Run a Black Friday Giveaway
Black Friday specific giveaways are an excellent way to capitalize on the shopping frenzy and generate hype around selected products. Giveaways offer a powerful incentive for customer engagement and participation, driving traffic to websites and stores. They generate excitement and anticipation, attracting a broader audience and potential new customers. Hosting a Black Friday giveaway can also strengthen brand loyalty, increase social media visibility, and serve as a cost-effective marketing tactic to outshine competitors in the crowded retail landscape, ultimately boosting sales and brand recognition.
Hundreds of brands launch giveaway campaigns around Black Friday to garner attention, Regatta being one. Last November, the outdoors brand held a giveaway competition on their Instagram channel, announcing the winner via an influencer partnership with Josie Gibson – during the content she also went on to announce the brand’s Black Friday sale, driving hot traffic over to the brand’s website.
4. Offer Exclusive or Early Access Discount Codes
Brands often begin their Black Friday campaign activity before the final Friday in November, which provides them with an excellent opportunity to offer early access codes to consumers.
Providing exclusive access to discounts or products before the official sale begins creates a sense of privilege and urgency, encouraging early shoppers. This strategy not only cultivates brand loyalty but also generates early revenue, helping brands gauge demand and make inventory adjustments. Early access codes can also foster engagement on social media as customers share their exclusive shopping experiences, amplifying a brand’s presence during the Black Friday shopping frenzy.
5. Create Fun and Engaging Content that Stands Out
Sometimes the most successful brands at Black Friday are the ones that aren’t hell-bent on talking about deals and products. Sometimes focusing on nailing the creative matters more than the lucrative deals.
Creative and entertaining content can cut through the noise, making brands more memorable and shareable. It can build excitement and anticipation around sales, encouraging customer participation and social sharing. Enjoyable content helps to humanize a brand, and strengthen emotional connections with customers.
Take this 2020 campaign from Durex for example. The brand partnered with creators on TikTok to create a number of funny videos that focused on a creative that was fun and engaging rather than focusing on time sensitive discounts.
6. Leverage User-Generated Content
Brands should utilize user-generated content (UGC) during Black Friday to enhance authenticity and engagement. Real customer experiences and testimonials are a great way to create trust and drive purchases, making it a potent marketing tool. UGC humanizes the brand, builds a sense of community, and extends reach through shared experiences, ultimately amplifying the impact of Black Friday campaigns.
One of the best ways for brands to encourage UGC is through brand specific hashtags and, even better, the hashtag challenge.
Hashtag challenges are a great way to encourage authentic audience engagement across platforms like Instagram and TikTok that congregate communities using hashtags. For its 2020 Black Friday campaign, Walmart took to TikTok to launch the #WalmartSyncAlong challenge. The campaign consisted of a trending TikTok audio, developed by JVKE, and a hashtag that users could submit their own lip-sync videos too, with the incentive of winning a $100 Walmart gift card. Walmart kicked the campaign off with a few creator partnerships to get the ball rolling, users then began to upload their own submissions. In total the campaign generated 3323 submissions, thus demonstrating the power of encouraging UGC.
7. Create a Cohesive Strategy Across Social Platforms
Consistency is key. This extends to Black Friday strategies launched across multiple social platforms. While it’s unwise to post the exact same content on each selected platform, the messaging should remain the same to keep things cohesive.
Among the best Black Friday campaigns to date, Gymshark’s 2021 promotion of its sale demonstrates a best-in-class example of a multi-platform strategy with a cohesive and consistent message, themed around pop-culture and reactivity over pure product.
Gymshark partnered with popular creators within the fitness vertical, deploying them to recreate recognizable meme templates, a simple but unique and rather effective method of capturing audience attention by appealing to them through humor. Gymshark’s partnered influencers recreated some of the most popular meme templates, along with a Cameo video pranking prominent celebrities into wishing a ‘Happy Birthday’ to “Jim Shark”.
The campaign took place across Instagram, TikTok, and X or Twitter as it was known then. The content differed across each channel, but the messaging remained the same… Tomfoolery at the highest scale.
Concluding Thoughts – Black Friday social media campaigns at Goat
Black Friday has evolved massively over the years. Once a frenzied in-store shopping day, has now transitioned into a digital shopping mania heavily influenced by social media. The connection between brands and social platforms has revolutionized the way Black Friday is approached.
Leveraging influencers, strategic hashtags, captivating content, and user-generated engagement has become paramount. Brands extending exclusive discounts and organizing exciting giveaways earlier, all contribute to a comprehensive strategy. It’s a dynamic blend of creativity and cohesive messaging across platforms that dictate success, making Black Friday not just a shopping spree.
Goat has been helping brands diversify their Black Friday campaigns for the past 8 years, delivering social and influencer activations at a global scale. Find out more about how we can support your brand ahead of Black Friday!