Holiday Shopping & Social Media: 5 Fantastic Campaigns

By Debra Eckerling 

Brad's Black FridayBlack Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday … It’s almost like social media was created to promote deals during the holiday shopping season.

The post-Thanksgiving shopping season starts earlier every year. There were many people camped out days before in traditional Black Friday Shopping Style. Stores, such as Staples, had Black Friday deals all week. Others, opened their doors early on Thanksgiving Day.

Here are 5 fantastic social media holiday shopping campaigns:

1. Brad’s Black Friday Photo Contest – Brad’s Black Friday  (Facebook page has 888,631 likes, while @BlackFridayFans has 8,400 followers) is an off-shoot of, an editorial-driven deal and coupon website. Brad’sDeals also has a CyberMonday page.

Brad’s Black Friday Hashtag Photo Contest gave shoppers an interactive way to share their shopping experience – generating a ton of user content, while giving four chances to win.

“Enter our #Hashtag for Cash Giveaway! Share pictures of your Black Friday experience on Twitter and Instagram with the tag #BradsFriday and you could win a $500 Amazon Gift Card!”

Shoppers could post as many pics and videos as they wanted on Twitter and Instagram – and were encouraged to share it on their Facebook Timeline with the #BradsFriday tag for a chance to be featured on their Facebook page. Brad’s Black Friday retweeted many of these fun pics, and chose four winners at random: shoppers camping out, an online shopper sprawled out on the floor with ads in hand (pictured), a shopping break, and a mall shot with “princess daughter” on daddy shoulders.

2. Groupon – Email Deal. On Thanksgiving, Groupon (Facebook page has 1,463,348 likes, while @groupon has 95590 followers), the “original” daily deal site, sent out an email with deal:

“Black Friday begins right now at Groupon! To get the holiday shopping season started in epic style, we slipped $100,000,000 in Groupon Bucks to our customers–and you have some.

In fact, you might have scored a $25,000 year-long Groupon shopping spree plus $5,000 in cash, or a $5,000 Groupon holiday shopping spree, or up to $500 in Groupon Bucks to use on one awesome deal before the end of Black Friday.”

Users just needed to log into their account to see how many Groupon bucks they won (I won $5, by the way), and then start shopping – deal is only valid through Black Friday. Email and newsletters are the original social media – and Groupon is just one of many companies using the old standard this year.

3. Marshalls, T.J.Maxx & HomeGoods Tri-Holiday #TheGifter Twitter Contest. The cross-brand contest between Marshalls (Facebook page has 1,944,049 likes, while @Marshalls has 102,027 followers), T.J.Maxx (Facebook page has 1,988,561 likes, while @TJMaxx has 172,476 followers), and HomeGoods (Facebook page has 1,481,811 likes, while @HomeGoods has 110,137 followers) uses a video promo (you’ve seen #TheGifter commercials, right?) and social media to encourage shoppers to chime in to win.

Each week #TheGifter poses a new question, and shoppers just include the hashtag and one of the twitter names in the response. (Shoppers need to follow at least one of their Twitter feeds.) Six weeks, six questions, six winners. This week, naturally, had a black Friday theme:

HomeGoods ‏tweeted: How do you outsmart #BlackFriday madness? Tweet w/ #TheGifter for a chance to win a $500GC @TJMaxx @Marshalls

This promoted tweet received 42 retweets and 62 favorites. The correlating Facebook post – “Tell us how you outsmart Black Friday madness? If you’re on Twitter, tweet your answer using #TheGifter for a chance to win a $500 gift card. Official rules:” – received 849 likes, 48 shares, 208 comments

4. Michael’s Stores Coupon. Michael’s Stores (Facebook page has 1,556,111 likes, while @michaelsstores has 108,034 followers), the go-to place for craft supplies, posted a coupon – and Facebook offer – 30% off entire purchase valid only from 4pm on Thanksgiving until 2am Black Friday. Coupons are another traditional way to promote a business and this one, with a limited time frame – got a great social response. The posted offer received 3,874 likes, 909 shares, 274 comments, 23,399 claimed.

5. Small Business Saturday Photo Campaign. We can’t mention Black Friday without a nod to its newer cousin: Small Business Saturday (Facebook page has 3,291,440 likes, while @ShopSmall has 27,471 followers), a site and campaign to encourage shoppers to go local for their shopping needs the day after Black Friday.

The site posted a series of photos, so people could declare they are shopping small in their big city. Another option? “Fill in the blank: This year I’ll be shopping small on #SmallBizSat in ________.”

One of the most shared: “SHARE this if you agree that shopping small benefits your community.” It received 17,567 Shares, 12,532 likes, and 184 comments.

No matter what your shopping beliefs or strategies, I think we can agree on one thing: social media has made the busiest shopping weekend of the year a lot more fun.

What’s your favorite Holiday Season shopping campaign?