Black Friday outweighs Thanksgiving on social media, suggests Salesforce data

So much for all those recipes listing dozens of new ways to cook stuffing and pumpkin pie.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

As many Americans are navigating numerous travel hurdles ahead of Thanksgiving on Thursday, many others are plotting their warpaths for the day after.

Black Friday is nearly upon us, although many retailers have rolled out holiday promos by now.

Based on new data from the Salesforce.com Marketing Cloud -- a blossoming cornerstone for the CRM giant -- Black Friday fervor is stirring up more conversations (for good or bad) on social media than the holiday of giving thanks itself.

So much for all those recipes listing dozens of new ways to cook stuffing and pumpkin pie.

For instance, roughly 278,000 posts have been stamped with the hashtag "#blackfriday" and another 8,000 labeled "#deals" versus just 85,000 with "#Thanksgiving."

So who's behind the social media war on Thanksgiving? According to the report, Walmart is leading the way with approximately 57,000 posts this holiday season across various social media channels, followed by Target at 30,000 (which likely has to walk a fine line given last year's security debacle), Best Buy at 27,000 and Amazon at 23,000.

These posts ranged from announcing extended hours and teaser promos to conducting damage control in response to consumers reacting negatively to early and extended Thanksgiving hours.

Curiously, Apple -- which doesn't actually offer any Black Friday deals in its stores beyond iTunes gift card specials -- has spawned 23,000 posts too, which is a whopping 282 percent increase from last year.

Overall, there has been a 36 percent increase in social media conversations initiated by brands during this holiday season thus far compared to last year.

But the surge in stirring up the social media scene is just the first step for retailers looking to make bigger bucks this winter.

Kyle Lacy, senior manager of marketing content and research for Salesforce's Marketing Cloud, posited in prepared remarks that "consumers are clearly looking to shop and spend," but that brands still need to connect the dots offline to secure a "complete customer journey," meaning a sale.

"It’s more than simply alerting and re-alerting customers about deals and extended store hours," Lacy asserted. "Brands must personalize the journey at every touchpoint along the way."

Jeff Rohrs, vice president of marketing insights on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud team, concurred, stressing "it’s important that retailers are watching what consumers are doing on digital channels -- especially social -- as they try to capture their piece of the holiday shopping pie."

For reference, Salesforce's latest updated is based upon 1,574,834 social media conversations.

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