Black Friday: Top US Retailers Battle for Social Media Attention

Posted on November 29th 2013

Black Friday: Top US Retailers Battle for Social Media Attention

Walmart begun its fight for Black Friday supremacy last week, when the world's largest retailer decided to match some of Target and Best Buy’s top Black Friday bargains. Since last Friday when the promotion took place, on to yesterday, when Walmart opened its doors to Black Friday shoppers earlier than ever, the company managed to drive shoppers' interest not only using traditional marketing and PR strategies, but also engaging them via social media, like never before.

On Facebook and Twitter overall, Walmart took 19.65% of the share of social media word of mouth, according to data revealed by Shareablee. The company scored a total of 823393 engaged actions by November 27, and keeps on counting today, as some of its best deals are still available in stores, and online.

Walmart competitors like Amazon, Nordstrom, Macy's, Toys ''R'' Us, Kohl's, Target, and others, were less engaged overall, each grabbing around 7-8% of the total share of social media word of mouth. Their total engaged actions lagged too. 

Black Friday social media

While Walmart ranks absolute in terms of active audience on Facebook, the winner on Twitter is, however, Best Buy, activating more than double the re-tweeters and total actions on Twitter than any other brand. In fact, Walmart is upstaged on Twitter by three other competitors: Nordstrom, Target and eBay, managing only a 5th position in the top 10, followed by Lord & Taylor, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy's.

Still, Walmart's success on Facebook is outstanding, and its content strategy on the popular social network should serve as a model for other businesses too. The company's aggressive promotions are flawlessly presented, with image rich posts, detailed special offers, and engaging, compelling texts.

The same offers duplicated on Twitter, however, are not as successful - not because they are uninteresting, but because compared to other retailers competing on the social network, Walmart's tweets are poorly optimized. 

Despite its success on Twitter, Best Buy didn't make it to the top 10 in terms of total share of social media word of mouth on both networks analyzed by Shareablee. Nevertheless, their content strategy on Twitter provides a very interesting case study on how to optimize tweets for special, seasonal promotions.

Social mentions, as well as sharing and retweeting, provide excellent data to measure brand loyalty for any business. In the case of the world's biggest retailers competing for revenues this Black Friday, while social word of mouth is not necessarily indicative of financial ROI, it is a critical tool to boost the ROI of PR.


Mihaela Lica Butler

CEO, Pamil Visions

Mihaela Lica-Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR and editor at Everything PR. She is a widely cited authority on search engine optimization and public relations issues (BBC News, Reuters, Yahoo! Small Business Adviser, Al Jazeera and others), with an experience of over 10 years in online PR.

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Posted on November 29th 2013 at 12:02PM

Can we make it a law to shop this year at only Lord & Taylor, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy's, and to leave Walmart sucking eggs? 

Walmart is broadcasting their El Cheapo stuff like it is going out of style. Can somebody tell them this is a conversation :---D

Endurance Seo
Posted on November 29th 2013 at 11:05AM

They're even at it in the UK now!!!

Posted on November 29th 2013 at 11:44AM

Holy Toledo! Or should I say Holy Edinburgh? Soon we'll have Black Friday in Timbuktu!

Ryan Riley
Posted on December 1st 2013 at 3:06PM

I didn't see any of Wal-Mart's posts on Facebook or Twitter but you mentioned the posts being duplicated to Twitter were not as successful as on Facebook which is interesting to me. I am someone who follows brands on all platforms if I am going to folllow them so I am often frustrated by duplicate posts across platforms, but I'm still the same person. So if I like something on Facebook, you would think I may still favorite on Twitter. It's weird that the same content didn't produce positive results on both platforms because I would assume they would still be hitting the same target market!