With only four days left until the single biggest shopping day of the year, it is almost impossible to avoid Black Friday ads on any medium, including social media.  There are literally thousands of tweets, posts and ads compelling us to “Save Early!”, “Preview the Holiday Gift Guide”, and hurry up because “Special Prices Start Now….” And while it is too early to tell which retailers will ultimately come out on top, the research team at Shareablee, a social business intelligence platform, has identified which brands are leading the pack along with suggestions on how the laggards might be able to catch up.

Walmart Has Most Engaged Fans on Facebook

Among the top 25 retailers on Facebook in the first half of November, Walmart accounted for 27% of the total shares by fans on this all-important platform. The next nearest competitor is QVC with 9% of the shares followed by Macy’s and Nordstrom’s both at 8%.  What this means is that of all the content being posted on all 25 of these retailer Facebook pages, Walmart fans are sharing 3 times more content than its largest rivals.  “Sharing is particularly important when it comes to retailers” explains Tania Yuki, CEO of Shareablee, “Because there is no stronger measure of the pass-along value of a retailer’s message or offer, than having customers amplify it for you.”  

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BestBuy Has Most Engaged Followers on Twitter

On Twitter, it's a different story altogether with BestBuy being the dominant player.  According to Shareablee’s data, BestBuy fans were responsible for 30% of all the retweets in the category, followed by Nordstrom at 9% and Ebay and Target at 8% respectively.  Walmart, on the hand, has 5 times smaller share of the retweets with a mere 6% of the RTs.  Just like shares on Facebook, “retweets are the best indicator of word of mouth velocity,” adds Shareablee’s CEO.  “If your followers bother to retweet your content, it’s a strong sign that they actually care about what you are saying at least enough to share with their friends,” she adds.  

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Bloomingdales is Leading on Facebook Loyalty

When it comes to keeping fans coming back for more, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus own the winning formula with over 40% of their fans returning to engage with content in the first half of November.  By comparison, only 10% of Walmart fans returned to engage with their Facebook page during this time frame.  This is a critical metric instructs Yuki since “most retailers rely on repeat sales and customer loyalty for revenue growth and profits.”  “Motivating a broad base of loyal fans to get the word out about promotions could lead to huge returns.” she adds.

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Target Posting Most Often But Not Most Effectively

Lest anyone forget what’s happening this coming Friday, Target has outpaced all competition in the retail category with six times more Black Friday posts than any other brand, reports Shareablee.  However, it is interesting to note that all this activity has not necessarily motivated Target’s over 22 million Facebook fans.  Notes Yuki, “Target’s best performing post generated less than 18,000 actions – activating just 0.08% of their fan-base.” “There is still a lot of opportunity to grow engagement in time for the big shopping event - other retailers have benefited from specific calls to action and post-strategy diversification, helping to cut through the clutter of the newsfeed and inspire engagement.” she adds.  

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JC Penney’s Solitary Black Friday Post Wins!

In contrast to Target, JC Penney released just one Black Friday post in the first half of November, but it earned the highest level of engagement with over 54,000 actions (combined total of likes, comments and shares).  Shareablee credits the success of this particular post to a combination of best practices including the use of a playful question, a photo with an embedded offer, a hashtag and a call to action that links to Pinterest for deeper discovery.  “It is clear,” offers Yuki, “that the folks at JC Penney took the time to make their post more socially effective, by including many of the levers that the most engaging content shares across categories.”

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The Bottom Line: Black Friday is About Sparking Inspiration

Though there are less than 100 waking hours until the big day, “there’s still time left to optimize, engage and ultimately rally your fans,” advises Yuki.  “Tap into your social messengers by encouraging them to share your content on each platform in each post,” she adds.  For the brands with highly loyal fan bases, there is still an opportunity to reward them with special offers on Facebook.  And finally, make sure your ads on social channels have social components that will in turn drive engagement and extend your reach so the biggest crowds go out shopping with your brand in mind!  Good luck and good shopping to all!