For many marketers, the holiday shopping season is the most important time of year, which in many cases also means it’s the season where social media strategy is the most critical. To help teams in the holiday social media planning stage, we took advantage of the competitive ranking and benchmarking capabilities of the ListenFirst social media data analytics tool to look at the 81 Top U.S. Retailers’ social performance during the 2018 holiday season.
Based on the results of that study, here are 5 key insights for social media planning around the holiday season.
Insight #1: Start Holiday Social Campaigns In October, Wait to Call Out Black Friday Until November
Using our proprietary social media analytics tool, ListenFirst analyzed the 2,000 best performing social media posts from top U.S. Retailers in October 2018 and none of them referenced Black Friday or Cyber Monday. However 28 of those 2,000 top performing social media posts by U.S. Retailers during the month mentioned Gift, 26 posts mentioned Holiday, 25 posts mentioned Christmas, with 19 of those posts referencing Thanksgiving.
The social media audience is receptive to holiday shopping messaging as early as October but, during that time, messaging that uses more general phrases like Thanksgiving, Gift, Holiday, and Christmas, as opposed to talking specifically about Black Friday or Cyber Monday will deliver the best social media ROI.
Insights #2: There’s A Two Week Window Where Black Friday Messaging Is Most Relevant On Social Media
In your holiday social media planning, even targeting November for talking about Black Friday is overly broad.
During 2018, Black Friday was on November 23. During the week of November 4-10, 2018, only 1.6% of the top 2,000 social media posts included in ListenFirst’s analysis mentioned either Black Friday or the hashtag #BlackFriday. During the week of November 11-17, 2018 that number increased to 3.3% while during the week of November 18-24, 2018, 16.2% of the 2,000 best performing social media posts by top U.S. retailers mentioned Black Friday or #BlackFriday.
That essentially means that the week before Black Friday and the week of Black Friday is when posting about the shopping event is most relevant for retailers on social media.
Insight #3: You Don’t Need To Post About Big Ticket Items to Win Social Media Around Black Friday
The top performing post by a top U.S. retailer that mentioned the phrase ‘Black Friday’ during November 2018 was a Sephora Instagram Image talking about Black Friday deals $15 and under which generated more than 93K Responses. Also, among the top 5 best performing retailer posts mentioning the shopping event in November 2018 was a Kohl’s Video Tweet that offered a chance to win a $20 gift card by retweeting, and a Walmart Facebook image post advertising free Keurig coffee in person during Black Friday.
While Black Friday is traditionally associated with such big tickets items as televisions or laptops, social media retailer posts focusing on value at the $20 or lower price point will likely generate the most audience engagement.
Insights #4: Holiday Social Media Planning Needs To Start With Instagram, But…
There’s no question that Instagram is currently the social media platform offering marketers the most traction—between November-December 2018, 98 of the 100 social media posts by Top U.S. Retailers that generated the most content responses were shared on Instagram.
That said, while Instagram generates the most engagement overall, ListenFirst’s Instagram analytics show that around holiday content specifically, the platform underperforms. For instance, between November-December 2018, of the 200 social media posts by Top U.S. Retailers that generated the most content responses on Instagram, 9.5% of those posts directly mentioned the word Holiday. However, in the same time period, 22.5% of the 200 Top U.S. Retailers posts on Facebook that generated the most content responses mentioned the word Holiday, with 19% of the 200 Top U.S. Retailers posts on YouTube mentioning Holiday.
Instagram still offers great value for marketers at any time of year, but as Facebook and YouTube proportionately perform better around holiday content specifically, retail marketers should avoid a holiday campaign that just focuses on the Instagram audience.
Insight #5: Cyber Monday Posts Should Be On Cyber Monday
Of the 2,000 posts by Top U.S. Retailers that generated the most content responses in November 2018, 15 mentioned either Cyber Monday or the hashtag #CyberMonday. Of those 15 top performing posts, 11 of the posts were released on November 26, 2018, meaning literally Cyber Monday.
Since Cyber Monday is a shopping event that is meant to occur entirely online, the audiences’ expectation is that once you hear about a deal, you should be able to take advantage of it immediately. This means the most effective Cyber Monday social media posts will be released on Cyber Monday and should be direct response marketing.
There’s a lot on the line for most retailers during Q4 and brands shouldn’t have to deal with holiday social media planning without some serious help. ListenFirst is an enterprise social media solution that takes the guesswork out of understanding seasonal best practices, giving you all the owned and competitive insights necessary to make sure your holiday campaign is fully optimized.
Want more information about how ListenFirst can help with holiday social media planning?
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