Thanksgiving may be a few months away, but brands and retailers are already deep in their Black Friday marketing campaign planning. From putting the final touches on their media schedules to working through their social media content and publishing strategies, brands are investing millions in marketing campaigns to capture their share of the holiday shopping frenzy. The first battle? None other than the World Championship of Shopping: Black Friday.
For brands looking to further support their media buying, email, and in-store Black Friday marketing initiatives, an advocacy marketing program empowers your brand’s biggest fans to share your Black Friday content on their social networks. Through the power of advocacy marketing, brands report that their Black Friday marketing offers receive increased visibility and awareness, greater levels of content engagement, and more of those all-important holiday sales.
Why Advocacy Marketing Can Bolster Your Black Friday Marketing Efforts
Last year, 174 million Americans spent roughly $15 billion on holiday gifts between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, and that number is only expected to increase this year. So how can advocacy marketing help your brand or retail location capture a larger piece of this holiday shopping pie? By fostering trust in, and engagement with, your content and brand.
Studies have found that as content engagement grows, retailers experience a 21% increase in shopping visits. Not only are people visiting these stores more, those same studies show that people who regularly engage with a brand or retailer’s content spend more with that brand than average customers.
Not only does advocacy marketing help to drive engagement and visibility of your program, but it also helps to foster loyalty in your brand. The more often someone has a positive non-transactional interaction with your business, the more loyalty they develop for your brand. This loyalty can mean big bucks when it comes to holiday shopping season.
Adding an Advocacy Program to Your Black Friday Marketing Strategy
Advocacy marketing is the next iteration of word-of-mouth marketing. Brands and retailers have relied on word-of-mouth since the dawn of commerce to drive sales. However, instead of one person telling another person about your brand in a casual conversation, an advocacy marketing program gives your biggest fans the opportunity to share your content with their entire social network at once.
As most people are connected to 600+ people on social media, this means a few thousand advocates can have a reach of over a million friends and family members on social media.
So what type of content should you have your advocates share leading into Black Friday?
3 Types of Black Friday Content for Advocates to Share
Sale and Discount Announcements
Perhaps a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many brands forget to use the awesome sharing power of their advocates to drive awareness of their major Black Friday marketing discounts and promotions. Create fun graphics, videos, and even blog posts that disclose the major sales and discounts your brand or retailer is offering on Black Friday, then use your advocates to share those pieces of content.
Product Launch or Preview Posts
Is your brand launching a new product over the holiday season? Whether it’s a new color palette for your lipstick line or a fresh new piece of electronic wonder, your advocates can be counted on to introduce your new offering to the world.
Many of your advocates actually join advocacy marketing programs because they want to be on the inside when it comes to new company announcements and product offerings. They’re the early adopters and innovators that feel compelled to be on the front line of “what’s next”. Build advocacy loyalty by leveraging this desire and rewarding their participation.
User Generated Content
This requires a bit of planning as you’ll need to lean on your advocates to create content in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, but it’s worth it. User generated content (UGC) is a powerful content marketing tool: UGC posts are 2x as more likely to be shared by your advocates (and your advocate’s friends and family) and see on average a 28% increase in engagement when published.
Use your advocates to build excitement for this year’s Black Friday sale by encouraging them to participate in UGC-centric contests:
- Black Friday Ready – Have your advocates submit a short video or picture that shows how they get ready for Black Friday sales
- Best Black Friday Buy – Encourage your advocates share their best Black Friday purchase or success story
- Black Friday Shopping Tips – Ask your advocates to share their tips and wisdom for how to make the most of Black Friday
Pro Tip: Be sure to have your advocates use a hashtag to designate their UGC entries. Once hash-tagged, you can then use an advocacy marketing platform (like SocialToaster) to curate and monitor the posts.
Get the Most Out of Your Black Friday Advocacy Marketing Efforts
When it comes to advocacy marketing success, great content is key. However, great content is not the only driver of success. Here are some tips and tactics for getting the most out of your Black Friday marketing and advocacy efforts.
Start Building Your Audience Now
Recruiting a critical number of advocates can take a bit of time. The sooner you start building your advocacy army, the more advocates you’ll have sharing your content when it comes time for the holiday season.
On average, it can take a few weeks to get a program fully operational. However, once that program is live, you can start to drive membership immediately. When driving awareness of your new advocacy marketing program, we recommend using these channels to widely publicize your program:
- Social media announcements
- Private groups/channels
- Email lists
- In-store advertisements
The earlier you start your recruitment efforts, the higher your reach. Don’t wait until October to start building your advocacy marketing program.
Promote Black Friday Content Before Thanksgiving
Last year, 36% of all holiday shopping took place BEFORE Thanksgiving. People are purchasing gifts for their friends and family long before that turkey goes into the oven. If you’re waiting until the week of Thanksgiving to start sharing your Black Friday marketing messages, you’re potentially missing out on major revenue.
Even if a discount or offer doesn’t go into effect until Black Friday, it doesn’t mean that it can’t drive sales that day. Some individuals would rather pay full price than navigate Black Friday crowds, and your content could be exactly what they need to solidify a gift-giving plan for their loved ones.
Keep Your Advocates Engaged With Extra Incentives
The holidays are a busy time of the year for your brand AND your advocates. Between making their way to Grandma’s house, driving to 12 grocery stores for a can of cranberry sauce, and entertaining their home-bound kids, it’s easy for your customers to forget to breathe, let alone check for new content to share.
That’s why it’s extremely important to provide your best incentives during the week leading up to Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Make it worth your advocate’s time to share your content. A some of our favorite incentives include:
- Special discounts and pricing available only to your advocates
- An invite to a private shopping event open only to select advocates
- The opportunity to win free gifts for their family and friends
We predict that this year’s holiday season will be driven by influencer and advocacy marketing. Paid media continues to become more expensive as its effectiveness wanes. Cut through the clutter of online advertising by using a trusted source – your advocates – to deliver your Black Friday marketing messages.
Ready to launch your Black Friday advocacy marketing program? The experts at SocialToaster are here to help!