As we’re currently going through what many call the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, many of us have changed our spending habits and most consumers will think twice before splashing out on non-essentials this festive season, even on Black Friday.
US retailers have been running sales much earlier than usual to move stock before the holidays, and Black Friday sales are well underway for various UK retailers (hello John Lewis and Currys). Consumers are still expected to take advantage of these sales to shop for gifts and other holiday essentials, but the spending won’t be as extravagant as normal.
More than ever this Black Friday and across December, getting the tone right with your social content will be extremely important.
We saw the need for empathetic marketing rise these past few years and this season, it will be key to connect with your consumers.
Because of the current economic situation, the risk of appearing out of touch with the reality of the situation is much more present this year than in the past. While content shouldn’t be gloomy, going all out to promote big-ticket items and showcase large parties and holiday feasts could alienate some audiences.
How can brands promote Black Friday and the holiday sales in an empathic way?
Use social media to showcase deals on everyday essentials
Families especially are struggling to afford essentials right now. One of the ways brands can help is to offer discounts on everyday essentials (and promote these on social media).
This Walmart employee influencer created a fantastic Black Friday TikTok that went viral, partly because of her amazing sass, it goes without saying, but also because of her relatability: she clearly understood what many shoppers really need right now.
The TikTok video shows her walking around the store and showing the discounts on basics like kids’ backpacks, purses, everyday clothes, shoes and toys for kids instead of the more aspirational big-ticket items.
Of course, there will be people who want a great deal on a laptop or TV, but many more people will be waiting for the sales, not just for present buying but to get the smaller items they desperately need.
Work with creators to reach niche audiences and passionate fans
For brands that want to reach their superfans and specific audiences, working with creators who specialize in a related area could really help.
Gymshark has been working with YouTubers like fitness fashion content creator Ashley Gaita to promote upcoming Black Friday deals.
It goes without saying that people who view videos about fitness fashion are much more likely to be interested in fitness wear deals than a general audience. The same logic applies to most verticals.
When people are looking for deals on non-essential items, they often know to find them in communities and from creators who specialize in covering those products.
Offer high-value giveaways and contest prizes
Many brands are opting to offer great giveaway deals to entice people to buy more expensive non-essential items.
In this case, more than ever right now, the real-life value of the prize is much more important than the creativity of the post promoting it. People want offers that are worth their money, so clear and easy-to-understand information is crucial.
In the UK, Currys is offering six months of free Apple TV with all audio purchases over £49 and various other tech products over £99. With many people cutting back on streaming subscriptions, this deal could offer them an affordable way to keep entertained.
Argos is offering £250 gift cards with selected TVs. Again, this could be really useful for people who need to buy things like school, baby, or kitchen essentials as well as replace their TV.
Another UK store, The Perfume Shop, has been running a Twitter contest with a free Lancôme product as the prize – which could make a fantastic Christmas gift.
Black Friday may be on the 25th of November, but many brands started their sales early. As an American living in London, I was very confused when offered Black Friday discounts on Remembrance Day, but quickly realized that this was not a cultural misunderstanding, but rather retailers’ way of adjusting to culture, and to people’s reality.
This year sadly sees a very strong consumer reliance on offers and deals to make Christmas happen as usual, and more people will be using the sales to get a headstart on gift shopping.
However much Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertising your brand does this year, and Christmas sales, don’t hesitate to start early, and you’ll likely get the best results from relatable, empathetic content.