It used to be all about Boxing Day deals and pre-winter holiday shopping sprees. But experts predict Black Friday and Cyber Monday are readying to usurp the long-standing champions as the busiest shopping days of the year, and companies need to be ready for the frenzied, pre-holiday shopping onslaught.
Every year, on the Friday after American Thanksgiving, the lines seem to grow longer and start earlier. Twitter is inundated with photos of eager shoppers outside electronics stores with every passing year and YouTube videos surface of customers rushing past security staff and fighting each other for limited door-crasher deals.
What are Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
The data show that this Thanksgiving-Christmas period is when consumers are ready to spend. Some 92 million people – more than half online – shopped Black Friday deals last year, according to USA Today. Online shoppers spent $1.198 billion that day, according to Statista, and on Cyber Monday they spent $1.735 billion US.
In stores, the total was $12.9 billion US spent on Black Friday and Thanksgiving day combined, according to Business Insider.
It all started in 1960s as a Philadelphia-only phenomenon, but it has since evolved, with companies across America offering enticing door-crasher deals to shoppers willing to come for hyper early opening times.
It took a bit longer for the digital version to appear. Cyber Monday didn’t enter popular lexicon until about the new millennium to describe the influx of internet shopping on the Monday after American Thanksgiving.
Some shoppers assume the odd hours and long November nights account for the “black” monicker, but it has more to do with the cold, hard economics of the retail business. For many businesses, this crucial period is when they finally cross into “the black” and start turning profits for the year.
This year, Black Friday falls on November 28th; while the online version, Cyber Monday, is December 1st. That’s only 24 shopping days until Christmas, people.
Holiday prep for social media
With so many consumer dollars on the line and millions of potential customers scouring the web for deals, retail businesses can’t afford to be caught asleep at the social media switch. For a quick way to clean up your profiles, download our free social media audit template. Now is the time to make sure your social strategy is in place and ready for the holiday hordes.
Step 1: Spreadsheet
Create a spreadsheet and write down all the social networks you own and the owner for each.
Step 2: Search check
Go on Google and search up any other social media profiles that is representing your company that you don’t own (impostors). Create a separate spreadsheet.
Step 3: One channel, one mission
Evaluate the needs for all your social media profiles and create a holiday mission statement for each. For example: on your Instagram profile you may share photos of happy shopping crowds at your flagship store. If you’re strapped for time, you might decide to drop a social network or two here if you can’t find alignment with your objectives.
Step 4: Brand check
Make sure all your accounts are on brand. Proper profile photo, cover photo, icons, bios and descriptions are proper, and URLs need to be correct.
Step 5: Passwords and permissions
Centralize the ownership of passwords. For example: have your IT department own the key to all the passwords for the social media profiles. Use a tool like LastPass to share access on a need to use basis.
Step 6: New accounts
Once everything is in tip top shape, create a strategy for opening new accounts. The strategy should include criteria for why the account ought to be started and a designated staff member to approve such requests.
Making the most of Hootsuite features
Once you have all your social media accounts up to date, you can use Hootsuite’s features to prepare for a successful social media experience from the early hours of Black Friday to the end of the weekend with Cyber Monday.
Set up search streams
Set up the right streams to monitor your brand name. For example, know what relevant, branded hashtags your company is using and set up a search stream in Hootsuite that shows you all the mentions—positive and negative—of that tag. You can also set up search streams for your competitors’ hashtags to stay on top of the competition.
Filter search by Klout
Search for mentions of your company or bespoke hashtags by influencers by filtering your search by Klout score. This way, you can publicly engage about your deals and services with individuals who have a broad social media reach.
Engage Hootsuite teams
Be prepared to offer fast customer service. Have a social media customer service strategy to quickly and efficiently respond to inquiries from customers across all your company’s social networks. The search streams will help you find those customer service requests and then you can streamline your efforts across different departments using Hootsuite teams. Teams lets you share your account – but not your password – with a different department. Then you can delegate and assign messages or streams to particular staff.
Customize analytics reports
Set goals and track your success with a customized analytics report you can set up beforehand. It can measure how many people are clicking on your content, how people are currently feeling about your brand, and where traffic to your site is coming from.
Assess and adjust
Regularly assess and adjust to ensure your content is resonating with customers. (You can do this with Hootsuite Analytics). Bonus! You can also share these reports with your team members so everyone stays up to date on progress and can tweak responses as needed.
Remember that even on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s not only about the deals for shoppers, but also about the customer experience — and by being ready on social media, you can help keep your customers happy.