Black Friday Deals – how small and medium businesses can use social media
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now key dates in retail, both in shops and online. What started as a US craze is now a firm fixture for UK businesses and shoppers.
GoCompare have released data showing 31 percent of households plan to browse online or in shops, of which 49 percent said they expect to shop online. From 2,000 individual respondents, only 21 percent plan to physically visit the high-street for Black Friday deals, so we can expect them to be shopping online instead. Stats from this Independent piece.
When you’re a small or medium-sized business, it can be hard to stand out online among all the madness and get noticed by the millions of customers looking for Black Friday deals. We’ve put together a guide to help you make the most of the busiest online shopping weekend of the year.
Read on and start planning a Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaign that will bring in sales.
Black Friday through to Cyber Monday is one of the biggest and busiest periods for online marketing, due to businesses wanting to really push their sales. Coming up with a relevant, well-timed strategy is a must.
For most, this strategy will involve Facebook boosting and ads.
Facebook Ads for Black Friday
Competition for advert placements is always going to be fierce throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as big brands give it their all to get buyers to come to them. This should certainly be considered when planning adverts for the week, as larger budgets may be required to compete. Even the price of engagement and traffic boosts is likely to go up, but we won’t know until it all kicks off.
In the build up to Black Friday, and on the day itself, everyone’s Facebook feeds are going to be filled with sponsored sales adverts – and it’s going to be difficult and expensive for smaller local businesses to be seen and get reach.
Therefore, Facebook adverts should be created and scheduled ASAP and not left to the last minute, or even worse, left to the day itself.
How can small and medium businesses compete on Black Friday using Facebook ads?
Businesses looking to get direct sales from Black Friday offers will need to carefully plan when and how they post on Facebook. So posts will need to be scheduled for throughout the day to reach those shopping in the morning, during a lunch break, and into the night.
Organic reach will be lower than usual – putting money behind posts will be crucial to helping with reach and advertising your online bargain. Those in charge of creating posts should learn to do this in advance, and do trials beforehand to make sure it all goes smoothly.
Getting the right type of advert, and carefully targeting your perfect audience, will also be essential. Know your audience, know what you want to sell to who, and create posts and ads that reach the right people.
Thinking outside the box could be a winner:
- With the shops opening early, could a well placed late night Ad get last minute sales?
- Would a Sunday sale beat the system if you pushed Friday leftovers?
- Could a Friday afternoon post asking if people are knackered from shopping and offering cheap drinks or food get people into your restaurant?
- Do you have time to think about all of this? Message BlueFrog to ask for help!
The Best types of Facebook adverts for Black Friday
Here at BlueFrog we predict many companies are going to be producing adverts based around brand awareness, reach, or engagement. Which is a good tactic, but as a smaller business it’s good to try a range of other ad options:
- Retargeting ads – These target anyone who has bought from you previously, or has added items to a basket but not purchased. By targeting these people, they may be more inclined to click buy on your Black Friday deals as they’ve seen a discount on products that have caught their eye before.
- Carousel ads – The wide range of product pictures available in a Carousel Ad mean posts can tell a story. A brief bit of text allows for an introduction to your range before pictures and call to action buttons allow easy clicks to the exact items on sale.
- Lead Generation ads – If your objective is Lead Generation, you can produce a Facebook form that the customer will be prompted to fill in when they click a call to action button, e.g, Sign Up. We’ve mentioned this because it can be used in the weeks leading up to Black Friday to gain new email sign ups to send your marketing emails to – details on this to come.
There are of course more options, and we’re almost spoilt for choice on Facebook Advert tactics. But it all comes down to what works best for your business; practising and planning in advance will always be the best way to figure this out.
It’s a matter of being smart about the times you choose to schedule your ads, so that you avoid blowing all your budget trying to compete with the big boys. For example, if you know your customers are mainly parents, avoid targeting them during the school rush and during key working hours. A well placed advert at the times they are relaxing in the morning, during lunch, or in the evening could work well.
We covered this topic generally in a previous blog entitled The best times to post your content to Facebook. Check it out, especially the Shopping section at the end which shows that posts are best published at four key points during the day.
Plan Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing emails
Many of us are regularly bombarded with marketing emails in the build up to the big weekend as companies and online sellers tell as many people as possible about the deals and products they’ll have available. Small businesses should be doing the same.
If you have an audience to email, do so – and tell them what to expect so they know to come to you directly. Match your targeted Facebook ads to the same audience so they have easy access to your website.
Usually we’d recommend not sending too many marketing emails at once but Black Friday is the time to break rules. Regular updates to your email list in the weeks and days are a reliable way to raise awareness of what you’re putting on sale. Lots of shoppers count on these emails to build up information on the offers that will be available, and when.
When to send these marketing emails?
For a long time now it’s considered common practice to state that the best time to send marketing emails is a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday morning, between 8 and 10am. After 6pm during the working week is also said to get a high open rate. But as more and more people are on mobiles the weekend is wide open to send special Black Friday promotions, as is between 8pm and midnight.
To reach the greatest audience and get the most opens, email people as they get up or as they go to bed and are not distracted by anything else in the day. Knowing your key audience will determine what times work best for individual companies.
The best way to get marketing emails to be opened, especially for Black Friday offers, is to put the offer in the email heading and to state what the recipient will gain by opening the email. Then the email content can explain how, when and where said offer will be available. Some examples:
- “Open now for 50% off…”
- “Discover our Black Friday Deals, including 30% off…”
- “Get [this product] for only [price], usually [much higher price]”
Keep it short, snappy and sweet – 70 characters or less ideally.
Wording your related Facebook ads in the same way will allow people to associate posts they see with the emails they received.
Twitter and Instagram
Twitter have conveniently launched their 280 Character Tweets, so there’s more room to shout about your biggest discounts and load Tweets with carefully thought out hashtags, tags and links:
- Think of your audience, and create Tweets that appeal to them and encourage link clicks.
- Schedule Tweets in advance, to go live throughout the day, telling a story of your company and your offers. There are several ways of doing this; Tweetdeck is one option. Talk to us if you need further guidance.
- “Flash sales” can still be scheduled days in advance; plan ahead and don’t leave it to the day.
- Being free of writing sales Tweets during the day means you have more time to keep up to date with other things, and add any spontaneous replies as you see fit.
Instagram is all about their Stories feature right now, and we recommend this feature for telling your audience about your offers and sales items, both in the days building up to Black Friday and on the day itself.
For more guidance on this, check out our blog post: Instagram Stories the essential guide.
Going anti Black Friday
Finally, the idea of Black Friday is no longer just a set day, it has a Christmas like build up that people either love or hate. A part of this mindset is smaller and local businesses doing a sale a week before or after the main weekend, beating their competition (and avoiding the power of the national brands) and getting the attention of customers who are looking to avoid the shops over the weekend.
It’s fair to say that to get a return of investment on Black Friday itself, you have to be all in. For many companies, especially those not after direct sales, the weekend is a time for a peaceful social media presence – posting items that are fun and engaging to break up the sales related feeds.
We’d recommend that nobody boosts over the long weekend unless it’s for Black Friday or Cyber Monday; save your posts, your reach, and money, for another day.
Alternatively, take a look at what our friends at dryrobe did last year, going against Black Friday completely, despite all their revenue being through online sales.
“Opt out of Black Friday & Cyber Monday. We’re closing our office and giving the staff a paid day off. Read the full story: dryrobe.com/blogs/latest-news/black-friday-cyber-monday-dryrobe-opt-out-optoutside”
This had a hugely positive reaction from the brand’s fans and many other people, who were tired of the commercialism and hype that surrounds Black Friday.
Do you have a Black Friday plan in place ready? It can be daunting, so if there’s anything BlueFrog can do to help, we’re only a message or call away. Or we’re on Facebook and Twitter if you wish to discuss plans there.
For those promoting your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and products through Google Adword accounts: Three ways to immediately improve your AdWords account.