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Retailers unleash social media to drive Black Friday chaos

01 December 2014 | 07:33 am

We seem to be pretty good at commercialising things in Europe. From Mother’s day to St Patrick’s – there always seems to be something to celebrate. But this year we appear to have had two new kids on the calendar block,  cramping the style of poor St Andrew, namely Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

But we might forgive a retailer for cancelling Valentines 2015 and putting all their efforts into Black Friday next year, as early indications are that sales rocketed on Friday, by over 20% in year on year comparison.

The viral Youtube images of people fighting over televisions last Friday shocked many.  Initially, we could have mistaken the scene as being something beemed in from a third world economy. But NO, these were scenes being shared live from the great British public’s phones from the frontline of Britain’s shops.

The news channels had free pickings of uploaded content from across the country as people made a grab for bargains.  Just think of all the BBC expense spared in not having to send film crews live to the scenes?  And practically speaking how would they have ever known where it was going to kick off – to capture the spontaneity of people elbowing and goading one another out of the way.

So what whipped us into the Black Friday frenzy this year? It appears that the retailers finally got their act together on social, fully integrating social into sales tactics.  This included getting offers on the go early, innovatively using hash-tags to get promotions out into the social sphere. This drove a much greater quantity of social chatter about Black Friday on the run up to the day itself to fuel the frenzy.

And although much credit has got to go to the email campaigns that got the offers circulating on Friday morning, it appears that social media played a much more prominent role this year in elevating these two dates to stardom through the sharing of information on offers. Signposting people and giving them greater power to listen in on where offers where landing. And no one wants to miss a bargain!

Some retailers went an extra click or three by using clever anti-competitor tactics maneuvering audiences into the less ‘famous’ social media platforms like Snapchat where they knew their competitors had less of a social stronghold with the aid of extra enticing offers.

However, whilst retailers were patting themselves on the back, our friends at the emergency services were left to pick up the pieces.

Greater Manchester Police Deputy Ian Hopkins was quoted as describing the scenes as nothing short of a mini riot as he set about addressing the public in a public information video posted on Youtube.

Again our forces have to be congratulated for their quick response to tackle the unrest in a like for like communications protocol.

So lots to learn and we are even more excited to see what other tactics the retailers have up their sleeves as we head towards Christmas.

CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leading social media risk management and compliance platform, built for enterprise organsiations. We work with retailers to enable them to manage, listen and engage, ensuring that their reputation are protected in social media.


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