Saturday, December 4, 2010

How Top Retailers Used Twitter on Black Friday

Target was not the only large U.S. retailer that invested resources in Twitter this year to push its Black Friday deals. While Target made a splash by purchasing the Promoted Trend on Twitter before the big holiday shopping day, other top department stores, consumer electronics, and home retailers used their Twitter accounts to promote specific in-store and online offers, and to engage with consumers who embraced the holiday shopping spirit.

Yet, although retailers like Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Sears promoted deals through Twitter, others - most notably JC Penney - barely made a peep.

ClickZ News looked at Kantar Retail's Top 100 U.S. retailers list for 2010 and from it chose the top 10 department stores, consumer electronics, and home goods stores. Then, with help from information provided by eData Source, analyzed their Black Friday marketing activity on Twitter.

BestBuy @BestBuy Twitter followers: 107,945 Holiday-themed Twitter background: No Most retweeted post (Retweeted 7 times): "Save $1,000 on this LG washer + dryer pair: Limited time only, in store only! via @BestBuy_deals"

The consumer electronics giant not only has the most followers among the top retailers assessed, the company was the most prolific on Twitter on November 26. The @BestBuy account featured around 70 posts on Black Friday, including several specific offers on items such as digital cameras and appliances. Though many posts - also tweeted through the official @BestBuy_deals account - featured deals on particular products, several of @BestBuy's posts highlighted photos of shoppers on line at its stores.

"Treating customers at Best Buy Union Square with snuggies, scarves and other fun treats #bbyfriday," noted one post.

Walmart @WalmartSpecials Twitter followers: 90,818 Holiday-themed Twitter background: Yes Most retweeted post (Retweeted 4 times): “Good news for late sleepers, shop our stores for Black Friday advertised items until 11:59pm tonight, while supplies last"

Many of the 49 posts made to the official @WalmartSpecials account on Black Friday employed key phrases like "Black Friday Offer," "Cyber Week Specials!" and "Black Friday In-Store."

The company featured several specific deals in posts without links to promote products such as a SanDisk USB flash drive, Disney baby pajamas, and a Jeep luggage set.

Home Depot @HomeDepotDeals Twitter followers: 44,048 Holiday-themed Twitter background: No Most retweeted post (Retweeted 3 times): "Fresh $.99 6" Poinsettia WAS $3.98 IN-STORE & TODAY ONLY While supplies Last!"

Home Depot also included a variety of specific deals in the 41 posts made to its @HomeDepotDeals account on Black Friday. Many posts pushing offers on items like faucets, tile, ornaments, appliances, area rugs, and tools linked to specific pages on the company's retail site.

Staples @StaplesTweets Twitter followers: 85,883 Holiday-themed Twitter background: No Most retweeted post (Retweeted 10 times): "Did you sleep in? Don’t worry, save all day w/ 40% off a ton of office supplies in store! Plus, get tomorrow's coupon:"

In over 25 Black Friday posts, @StaplesTweets focused on corresponding with consumers rather than pushing offers on specific products. "Hey Gary. I hope you enjoy your HP drive. Did you pick up anything else while you were there?" inquired one post.

Target @Target Twitter followers: 55,359 Holiday-themed Twitter background: Yes Most retweeted post (Retweeted 57 times): "Want a $25 GiftCard to @Target? Giddy-up. Enter for a chance to win in the Black Friday Sweeps:"

Target spent tens of thousands to sponsor Twitter's Promoted Trend about a week before Black Friday, which used the #BlackFriday hashtag and featured a tweet similar to the one above promoting its Black Friday Sweeps gift card offer. Many of @Target's 13 tweets were communications with consumers posting about Target shopping experiences, some linking to photos taken by shoppers at Target stores. One tweet garnering 50 retweets commanded, "Black Friday checklist: Get up early. Wait in line. Grab door busters @Target."

The more popular @TargetDailyDeal account, which has 92,277 followers, also got in on the Black Friday act. Its sole post for the day featured a 40 percent discount off the Plum Kodak EasyShare digital camera and linked to the Daily Deal page on the Target site.

Sears @SearsDeals Twitter followers: 37,448 Holiday-themed Twitter background: No Most retweeted post (Retweeted 2 times): "Holiday Doormats on Sale $2.99"

The majority of the 15 tweets posted to the @SearsDeals account pushed deals on particular items like Kenmore washers and dryers and a Presto deep fryer. Many included the hashtags #blackfriday and #deals. Several product offers were also posted on the company's category-specific accounts like @BlueToolCrew and @SearsBlueCrewHA, an account dedicated to appliances.

Macy's @MacysInc Twitter followers: 18,219 Holiday-themed Twitter background: Yes Most retweeted post (Retweeted 13 times): "It's #BlackFriday! Shop, shop, shop away! Stores opened at 4AM! What's on your list? Shop the #specials now:"


Macy's is synonymous with Thanksgiving holiday shopping thanks to its sponsorship of the annual Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. Still, this "shop, shop, shop away!" tweet was the only one posted to the official Macy's account on Black Friday.

Lowe's @Lowes Twitter followers: 13,545 Holiday-themed Twitter background: Yes Most retweeted post: N/A

Of the six posts made to the official Lowe's Twitter account, all but one were communications with specific consumers. "We've found more inventory on #BlackFriday values. The other guys may be sold out, but we're stocked up online on many items!" noted the single Black Friday-related post.

JCPenney @JCPenney Twitter followers: 9,662 Holiday-themed Twitter background: No Most retweeted post: N/A

JC Penney touted its Black Friday sales event as its largest ever, featuring "300 Doorbuster specials - the most offered in Company history," according to a November press release from the company. But the firm's Twitter account made no mention of the big sales push. Indeed, no posts were made to the account on November 26. The company also battled poor customer experiences on its site on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Kohl's @Kohls_Official Twitter followers: 8,026 Holiday-themed Twitter background: Yes Most retweeted post: N/A

Of the 31 posts made to the Kohl's Twitter account, nearly all were communications with consumers. Some used the #KohlsDeals and #BlackFriday hashtags. "I am happy you made it out in such a great record time this morning! Did you earn Kohl's Cash?" asked one tweet aimed at a shopper. Another suggested consumers "Twitpic the best deal you found at Kohl's today!" Just one BlackFriday post linked out, in this case to the homepage.

Note: Retweet data was provided by eData Source which tracks only posts that include links. Twitter follower data was gathered on November 29.

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