Black Friday Fever

BlackFridayFeverBlack Friday fever – the excitement of the crowds, the anticipation of the sale, the rush of adrenaline as you grab the last of that coveted half-priced item – what’s not to love? For some, this is an annual rite of passage and a way to knock out all of your holiday shopping in one night. For others, it is a perversion of a much loved family holiday.

Regardless how you feel about it, Black Friday doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down anytime soon. With retailers opening earlier and earlier (and some who never even closed), the public has made it clear that they will set aside whatever misgivings they may have if the price is right. And luckily for marketers, they can see evidence of this in real time on social media. This ocean of tweets, posts, and videos creates a flood of data allowing executives to measure what items generate the most excitement as well as examine overall sentiment about their brand.

According to an infographic from Mashable, iPads, HDTVs and cameras received the most mentions on Twitter. The top mentioned brands were Amazon, Walmart and LG. This year, nearly 2.5 million tweets worldwide mentioned Black Friday with the following raking in the most tweets:

@elizabethwnews with 1204 tweets

@Walmart with 823 tweets

@i4unews with 530 tweets

@blackfriday with 525 tweet

@20blackfriday13 with 379 tweets

California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois were the top five states for Black Friday Twitter activity.

The most popular hashtag of the night though wasn’t so positive. @YourAnonNews, which is linked to Anonymous, encouraged Twitter users to record Black Friday fights using the hashtag #WalmartFights. Around midnight CST, the hashtag began trending nationally as shoppers recorded and posted fights on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook and YouTube.

#WalmartStrikes, designed to help promote the fight for living wages by Walmart workers nationwide, received some notice but failed to trend nationwide.

But it’s not just about Twitter. Websites like BlackFriday.com released sales circulars early while other sites like CouponFollow.com saw a huge “influx in the number of online retailers that participated in pre-Black Friday coupon promotions on social media,” according to founder Marc Mezzacca.

Walmart and other big box retailers have taken increased precautions every year since a Walmart worker died during a Black Friday stampede in 2008 at a Long Island store and two died that same year in a shooting at a Southern California Toys ‘R’ Us, but that hasn’t stopped the violence.  In fact, according to a website called blackfridaydeathcount.com, seven people have died since 2006 and 90 people have been seriously injured (three of those deaths were the result of post-shopping car accidents).

Despite all that, it seems that people still felt more excitement and were overall positive according to an analysis of Twitter sentiment by Crimson Hexagon. Their research shows that 45% of Black Friday tweets in the week before Thanksgiving were positive, up from 38% last year. Nearly 25% of the 674,000 tweets analyzed expressed excitement while 19% mentioned specific sales and bargains. Approximately 36% of tweets were negative and nearly half of those were from workers complaining about having to work the Black Friday sales. Surprisingly, only about 5% of Black Friday tweets mentioned boycotting the day.

Whether you were in the middle of the mayhem tweeting tips and fight videos, protesting outside of your workplace, sitting at home searching for the best online deals, or analyzing your brand’s holiday social media strategy, one thing is for sure. Social media offers something for everyone afflicted with Black Friday Fever.

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