Is Black Friday About the Best Things?

Black Friday!Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, more turkey, and succulent pumpkin pie, it truly is that time of year. At the end of each November, Americans gather and celebrate various holidays. Thanksgiving is among them.

The main purpose of this holiday is to be grateful for what we have. Unfortunately, I feel that we are becoming too focused on what we don’t have. The day following Thanksgiving has evolved into a holiday in and out of itself, a day that everyone calls Black Friday.

For those of you who may not know about Black Friday, it is a day in which stores and malls across the nation open at the wee hours of the morning, have basically their entire inventory on sale, and within minutes, there are at least a few severe injuries due to shoppers fighting over the very last, coveted (insert popular product of the season here).

My sister and I used to go just to watch all the mayhem and chaos that takes place, but now, we have decided that it just isn’t worth it.

The Internet and social media has taken Black Friday to a whole new level.

Companies such as Best Buy place their reputation on the line and encourage Black Friday shoppers to create Vines about their experiences. Many other retailers battle it out online, hoping to win the most sales. Despite the long lines at stores and high traffic on their respective websites this year, social media didn’t play as big of a roll as expected.

According to IBM, 1% of purchases and traffic on e-commerce websites for Black Friday and the week as a whole directly came from social media sites. Jay Henderson, strategy director at IBM Smarter Commerce said, “I would essential describe it as being flat year-over-year, no dramatic change.” He also mentions that social media does also influence shopping decisions by building product awareness and the brand.

Whether it be Black Friday, or any other day of the year, I feel that a recent Altimeter report said it best:

Organizations [need to] understand that revenue generation is only one benefit of social media and that its main business value is to deepen relationships with customers and community.

I feel that too many organizations get so caught up in trying to prove how social improves the bottom line that they fail to miss its real value. Social is all about conversation. Social is about providing excellent customer service. It is about getting to know your customers and what truly matters to them.

What do you think? Do you think companies are missing the mark when it comes to understanding the true value of social? Did you purchase anything on Black Friday, as a direct result from seeing something on the company’s social media channels?

Ethan Parry is a public relations professional who is particularly passionate about social media and its impact on society. Tweet him at @ethanparry3 and visit his website