With “Black Friday” just one week away, holiday shoppers are gearing up to get the best deals and hot items this year. And Black Friday is no longer just about the brick-and-mortar stores—online retailers have joined the fun too with internet specials, and shoppers turn to the web for research, discount codes and coupons to be used online or in-store.
What’s next? Social media.
Small and medium sized businesses in particular have at their fingertips a whole new world of opportunities to attract shoppers this year through social media. Jennifer Van Grove from Mashable, the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Networking news, recently blogged about this topic on American Express’ OPEN Forum. She suggests three innovative ways to lure more shoppers to your store.
- Direct Message Discounts—This strategy utilizes Twitter as a method to reach tweet-savvy shoppers. The basic concept is to tweet about a special offer or discount for followers and getting them to send you a direct message in order to obtain a special code for the promotion.
- Facebook Freebies—This Facebook-based method is already gaining ground quickly. Businesses set up a Fan Page and then offer “fan only” deals and coupons to customers. This will beef up the online fan base and hopefully get them in the store.
- Social Media Sharing—This one takes into account all social media and email marketing. Ask customers to share what they love about your store or product, and even upload photos or videos or blog about it, and tag and share all of this information. In exchange for participating, they are offered a discount code—spreading the positive word about your business and getting them shopping at the same time.
At Austin & Williams we are strong advocates of using Social media to attract consumers, for not just businesses selling a product, but museums, colleges and universities, even banks and credit unions. Social media usage is on the rise and not just among teens and college students. We recommend integrating social media into almost every media plan we put together. We’ll be following closely to see how widespread it becomes among retailers this holiday season.