Feeling anxious about the upcoming Black Friday? Fortunately, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel — we’ve included all the resources you need as a marketer to prepare the perfect campaign. We at Planable know that planning marketing campaigns from scratch can be time-consuming. That’s why we’ve created a complete Holiday Marketing Kit that you can get for free.
From awesome Instagram story background designs to all the popular #hashtags you need, we got your back. This article contains all the resources we’ve gathered in our Black Friday Marketing Kit. And no, you don’t have to buy something to get this kit for free. Nor is it 90% off. We believe everyone should have access to free assets. Now let’s make your brand stand out.
We’ll start with the basics: infographics with the best time to post, best channels & formats, ideal campaign start for each holiday, image sizes, and the most relevant topics. Let’s get started.
The basics. When, where, how, what to post
Best times and days to post on social media
These times are in Eastern Standard Time (EST). You’ll need to convert them to the timezone of your audience.
When to start talking about the upcoming holidays
While planning can start 3-6 months in advance, the moment you begin communicating with your audience is pretty standard.
Frequency of the holiday-related posts
Best social media channels by users
More than half the people on Earth use social media and that number is still growing daily. This means your audience is probably out there. All you have to do is publish your holiday campaigns, engage, and make that sale.
Image size guide for your social media posts
No need to remind you about the importance of visual assets in your campaign, right? Instead, here’s everything you need to know in terms of image sizes for all main social media platforms. This leaves you more time to focus on creating amazing Black Friday social media posts.
Best topics for your Black Friday campaign
If you’re in need of some inspiration for your Black Friday marketing campaigns, check out this collection of topics to get your creative juices flowing.
Merry tools for productive marketing teams
Next, you’ll find a list of hand-picked tools that will make marketers’ lives easier when planning the holiday campaigns.
Best social media tools
Planable helps agencies & in-house marketing teams collaborate to create, approve, and publish social media content faster. With Planable, marketers have an all-in-one platform that streamlines content creation & approval. So no more misunderstandings or wasted time.
Pricing: starts at $33/month billed annually (free plan available)
Kicksta promises pure organic Instagram follower growth powered by a cutting edge Artificial Intelligence technology for your Instagram accounts. They also have a hashtag generator tool which is very simple and includes a search box where you can enter a keyword or topic. Then the tool will generate a list of hashtags related to that topic.
Pricing: starts at $49/user/month
Podium is redefining the way customers interact with local businesses. From collecting reviews on the sites that matter most, textenabling your website with Webchat, collecting payment via text, gathering private feedback to managing all your customer messages from one central dashboard with Inbox, Podium is the answer.
Pricing: Available upon request
BuzzSumo analyzes hundreds of millions of pieces of content, making comprehensive and robust data accessible to businesses of all sizes. It provides insight into what content is working, why, and which influencers can amplify it.
Pricing: starts at $79/month billed annually
Mention is a social media marketing suite that helps brands and agencies drive the conversation. Monitor what’s being said online about your brand or product, get analytics on your industry and measure the impact of your marketing & PR activities.
Pricing: starts at $25/month (free plan available)
Place.Me puts brands and agencies directly in touch with communities of pre-qualified and engaged talent. They are your IR35 solution and pay their freelancers weekly. For more information contact them at [email protected]
Best design tools
Personizely is a conversion marketing toolkit used to make the most of every website visitor. Create high-converting pop-ups, bars, and callouts. You can easily edit your website according to visitor’s activity history, source, geolocation, device, store activity, and many more, creating variations of your website.
Pricing: starts at $23/month billed annually
Venngage empowers you to easily create infographics, presentations, social media posts, and other visual designs with thousands of customizable templates, charts, icons, and design elements.
Pricing: starts at $39/month billed yearly (free plan available)
Designmodo offers best-designed tools to create well-coded websites and beautiful email newsletters. Using this awesome tool, you can create different types of content: promotional, E-Commerce, news, transactional, and more.
Pricing: starts at $15/month billed annually (free plan available)
Canva empowers users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, and other visual content. Featuring a simple drag-and-drop user interface and a vast library of templates and design ingredients, anyone can take an idea and create something beautiful.
Pricing: starts at $9.95/month billed yearly (free plan available)
Lucidpress is a design & brand templating platform that empowers non-designers in your company to create and distribute marketing collateral all on their own (without going off-brand). Lockable templates protect your brand while allowing colleagues to make small design tweaks and customizations, easing the workload off your creative team.
Pricing: starts at $10/user/month (free plan available)
Best task management tools
Paymo is a work management tool that connects teams looking to manage tasks, schedule team workloads, track worked hours, and bill clients from a single platform. Keep your team aligned and engaged.
Pricing: starts at $8.95/user/month
Todoist is a to-do list app that can help anyone get organized, no matter where they are or what device they use. From planning large scale projects to simply remembering to pay the rent, Todoist can be really helpful.
Pricing: starts at $3/month billed annually (free plan available)
Asana helps teams orchestrate their work, from daily tasks to strategic initiatives. With Asana, teams are more confident, move faster, and accomplish more with less, no matter where they are located. Teams do great things when everyone has clarity and is empowered to do their part.
Pricing: starts at €10.99/user/month billed annually (free plan available)
Description: Trello helps teams work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable teams to organize and prioritize projects in a fun and flexible way. Whether it’s for work, a side project or even your next family vacation, Trello helps you stay organized.
Pricing: starts at $9.99/user/month billed annually (free plan available)
Notion is the all-in-one workspace for notes, project management, documents, and collaboration. Tens of thousands of teams and companies around the world use it to keep their employees informed and working together in one place.
Pricing: starts at $4/month billed annually (free plan available)
Best analytics tools
Socialinsider is a social media competitive benchmarking, analytics, and reporting tool. They support all major social media networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and TikTok. With Socialinsider you can impress clients with data they haven’t seen before by comparing their efforts with the efforts of their competitors.
Pricing: starts at $83/month billed annually
Brand24 is a simple yet reliable social media monitoring solution. Brand24 empowers its users to stay updated on what’s being said about their businesses online, get customer insights, engage communities, identify sales leads, improve social customer service, reach out to influencers, and monitor their competition.
Pricing: starts at $49/month billed annually (free plan available)
Awario is a social media & web monitoring tool that will help you track brand mentions, monitor competitors, find sales opportunities and influencers, and engage with your audience online.
Pricing: starts at $24/month billed annually
Cyfe is all about data. This social media management app helps you keep and analyze all of your business data in one single place. From social media to finance and SEO, all your data will find meaning with Cyfe.
Pricing: starts at $26.06/month billed annually (free plan available)
Social Blade tracks user statistics for YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, and Twitter. Social Blade gives all users access to their public database which, using advanced technology, is able to provide you with global analytics for any content creator, live streamer, or brand.
Pricing: starts at $3.34/month billed annually
ClicData is an all-in-one business intelligence and data visualization platform. They integrate with social media platforms, marketing tools, CRM, e-commerce data, and hundreds of other sources. With ClicData, you can centralize all your data in a single place, combine that data to build actionable KPIs, visualize it in interactive dashboards, and stay alerted on your critical data.
Pricing: starts at $71/month billed annually (free trial available)
Bonus! Tools that offer Black Friday discounts
TimeCamp is the leading time tracking software that offers a wide range of features that streamline both companies and freelancers’ work:
Automatic time tracking,
Timesheets – daily and weekly,
Computer activity tracking,
A project tree structure with tags,
Custom user roles,
Idle time tracking,
Integrations with most popular SaaS tools, and many more.
You can get TimeCamp as a web version, or if you prefer, as a desktop and mobile apps. In annual billing, the prices start at 5.25$ per user per month. Free plan and free 14-day trial available!
HeySpaceis an ultimate team collaboration tool packed with:
Kanban-based task management,
Chat: channels, groups, one-on-one and in card view,
Boards, lists, timeline and calendar view,
Overwatch – quick glance at projects without leaving spaces,
File sharing (from computer, Google Drive or Dropbox)
Add-ons and integrations.
You can get HeySpace as a web version, or if you prefer, as a desktop and mobile apps. Cost: 5$ per user in workspace per month. Free plan available!
Check out their Black Friday Promotion
Cloudways is a great choice for growing agencies and ecommerce businesses by avoiding all the web hosting hassle. They guarantee unmatched performance, reliability and choice with 24/7 support that acts as your extended team.
Offer: 40% OFF for 4 Months on all hosting plans
Promo Code: BFCM2020
Validity: 23rd November 2020 till 2nd December 2020
CallHippo is a cloud based phone system that lets you make and receive calls to and from your prospects and customers globally. It can be setup for calling within 3 minutes. Its data driven insights will help you boost productivity, revenue and CSAT scores.
Offer: 25% OFF on platinum plans
Promo Code: BFCM25
Delesign is a flat rate unlimited graphic design service. Our graphic design service is like having a design agency at your fingertips – all for a low monthly subscription price. They are offering new clients 50% off their first month of Delesign with the BLACKFRIDAY2020 coupon.
Offer: 50% OFF your first month
Promo Code: BLACKFRIDAY2020
Validity: 23rd November 2020 till 30th November 2020
Social media activation ideas
Now let’s take a look at some fresh social media ideas to drive engagement and make new users fall in love with your brand.
Best tips to survive the Black Friday madness
From fear to hope to rage to faith, people are on an emotional rollercoaster all the time. So what if they stopped for a minute and saw the good side of this year? Get your audience ready for the biggest sales event of the year. You can share your own survival guide, or you can ask your community what are the best tips they have on how to survive this year’s BF madness.
Whether we talk about how not to buy the entire store, or how to choose the right promotion, any idea will do. People like to be helpful and they’ll share the experiences they’ve had so far.
Another angle on this activation campaign is to ask your employees to share their favorite tips with the entire team. This way, they’ll make their own survival kit.
Best find on Black Friday
We all have that uncle. Or that cousin. And sometimes, we ourselves are the ones to put the foot in the mouth. So why not laugh about it? Bragging time. BF day is here and people started buying like crazy. What better way to show how open you are than asking them what is the best find they got this year. Even though they will also talk about other brands, this will be a milestone in your life as a brand when you can position yourself as an inclusive company that is aware of others’ existence. Give them a clap. Tell them you appreciate their effort. Be awesome!
Craziest find on Black Friday
What’s a holiday without some fun? Enough with bragging about the best price you got this year – or, as Millennials like to call it, the best steal you got this year. Let’s see what crazy items your audience found in their hunt for the devices they waited for a whole year. This type of activation requires some extra attention because you never know what people consider crazy. Or what really crazy items they find for real. Sky’s the limit on the internet.
Most useless thing you ever bought on Black Friday
Similar to craziest find, the most useless thing you ever bought on BF implies your audience also paid for it.
This activation campaign is a little bit safer, as the chances to find comments with bizarre items are smaller. Let your community manager have a break this time.
One item you need, but hasn’t been invented yet
Another successful campaign could be the one where you incite your audience to make up some items that haven’t been invented yet. These types of games are always fun to play, and the creativity of some people will make marketers jealous. Don’t be. You’re creative the entire year-round.
You can start by naming 3-5 items you wish your business invented but have been rejected by the production team.
Examples of successful social media campaigns
We’ve also curated a collection of great Black Friday advertising campaigns from various brands to draw last-minute inspiration from. Black Friday advertisements can be a great way to make consumers think of your brand next time they’re out shopping, so let’s make sure they’re memorable.
Declaring war on Black Friday is not a new marketing strategy. Many brands have done it. But REI’s #OptOutside campaign feels authentic because the brand has always encouraged consumers to do something in the great outdoors. REI decided to stay away from the madness of Black Friday shopping and close its stores when others were fighting to drive more in-store traffic. The hashtag #OptOutside is all about choosing to consume experiences over stuff. And REI’s audience can definitely relate to that.
Patagonia. Don’t buy this jacket
On a similar note, Patagonia’s a brand that’s known for its strong emphasis on ethical consumption. Naturally, their Black Friday campaigns live up to this reputation. The “Don’t buy this jacket” message encourages people to purchase only what they need. Being the opposite of a fast fashion brand, the campaign was in alignment with the brand’s values. Thumbs up!
Cards Against Humanity. No discounts
Cards Against Humanity are well-known for pulling amazing marketing stunts. Their best prank is perhaps when they increased their prices by $5 on Black Friday. Now you may be asking: what kind of Black Friday promotion is that? When all the other brands were offering huge discounts, Cards Against Humanity made a bold move. Some would call it commercial suicide, but it actually increased their sales. That doesn’t mean you should raise your prices on Black Friday. It’s just a great example of aligning your brand’s personality with your marketing strategy.
Barnes & Nobles. Something different
Different is good. For some brands, it’s better than offering discounts. Barnes & Nobles proved that standing out from the crowd can be done in a simple & powerful way. They integrated Black Friday into their Signed Edition campaign. Sure, we’re all happy to find great books at read-iculously low prices, but we’re ecstatic about getting copies signed by our favorite author. This tactic can generate more interest than huge discounts. Be creative.
Chubbies. Need comfy shorts
Chubbies is another brand that successfully used humor in their creative Black Friday campaign. The premise is simple and relatable. You ate the whole turkey, now you need comfy shorts. And their product called “schworts” is the answer to your problem. As a marketer, don’t be afraid to have some fun with your Black Friday campaign. It helps you to stand out and make your brand sound more human.
Instagram story background designs
So you know when to post, you have the tools, you’ve chosen your favorite Black Friday ad and got inspired. Now it’s time for some holiday-themed backgrounds for Instagram stories that any marketer can personalize. Enjoy!
Visuals to the rescue
You also need high quality images to impress users. That’s why we prepared a curated Unsplash collection containing 30 drop-dead gorgeous images that go well with any Black Friday marketing slogans you can imagine.
Black Friday posts should be planned ahead of time. No doubt about that. Get into the holiday spirit by customizing your own posts using Planable.
Have you tried adding #tbt or #picoftheday to your posts but the only engagement you got was the awkward sound of crickets chirping? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.
Hashtags are still a great way to connect your social media content to a specific conversation topic. Since Chris Messina first came up with the idea back in 2007, the popularity of hashtags has skyrocketed. Whether you’re considering adding them to a simple Tweet or incorporate them in a Black Friday advertisement, all you need to do is use them the right way and find the best Black Friday hashtags for your brand.
# Yes, they start with # but please, please don’t use spaces, punctuation or symbols between the words and still hope for the best. Keep the words #together and you’ll see results.
# Although it’s tempting, make sure not to string too many words together. #otherwiseyoullendupwithsomethinglikethis. Short & simple, folks!
# Are your accounts public? If not, this may be the darn reason no one discovers your awesome content. So make that account public and give a warm welcome to those new followers!
# You may feel like #Christmas or #BlackFriday are too broad but #krampusnight2020 or other obscure hashtags won’t do you a favour either. So maybe save the half-goat, half-demon Krampus stories for the description. If your team approves the post.
# Less is more. Using ALL the hashtags you can think of just looks spammy. Choose a few and save the rest for later posts.
Why use hashtags?
#visibility #engagement #support just to name a few.
Most popular & relevant Twitter hashtags related to Black Friday
Most popular & relevant Instagram hashtags related to Black Friday
Dos and don’ts
‘Tis the season to be creative and give your audience a reason to talk about your brand. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you start working on those amazing Black Friday marketing ideas.
Things you should do
Be mindful of your audience’s preferences
Do you worry about the backlash that a holiday-specific phrase can bring? Are you having nightmares about that joke you scheduled for Black Friday? Stop right there. Take a closer look at your audience. Where are your customers from? What kind of content do they share? How about their age? Role? Pain points? No more guessing. Do your research and give your audience what they want, not what you think they might like. Data never lies.
Engage, engage, engage
The holidays are all about sharing. Sharing presents, meals, special moments, and sometimes sharing too much information at family gatherings. This is a huge opportunity for you to engage with your audience. Ask them to tag a friend, share their photo using your hashtag, or share your content with their friends and family. Ask them questions, create polls, initiate conversations, do AMAs. Sky’s the limit.
Say “Thank you!”
Now that we talked about asking for things, let’s take a moment to express gratitude. Thank your customers, your followers, and your team. It can be anything from a simple “Thank you!” to a more creative way of showing how much you appreciate them. For instance, Avon created a customer appreciation week, offering its clients a new deal every day of that week. It doesn’t have to be around Thanksgiving. Think about it. People are going to receive tons of special offers & coupons that day. Surprise your customers. Pick a random day. Make them feel special. After all, your brand is alive and kicking thanks to everyone supporting it.
Use multiple channels in a consistent way
Get in front of as many eyes as possible. Not everyone’s on Instagram. Some prefer Youtube. Or good old email. Make sure your holiday marketing plan isn’t limited to one channel. Also keep in mind that your message should be consistent across each channel and be true to your brand. Your Black Friday campaign doesn’t have to focus on discounts or sound salesy. It can be quirky and funny if your brand’s that way. Think about Cards Against Humanity and its long history of pulling Black Friday stunts. In 2013, it actually raised the price of its game and people still bought it like crazy.
Set smart goals and track ROI
This is something we should all do. At all times. We know it. You know it. Everybody knows it. And yet… a friendly reminder is a friend indeed. Or something along those lines. Here’s the deal. It’s easy to get lost in execution and lose sight of the bigger picture. So before you go into overdrive, set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. It will make your life easier and your manager happier. Don’t forget to track the return on investment and adjust along the way if needed.
Things you should avoid
Don’t change your branding
Now that we covered what you should do, it’s time to meet the don’ts. You’re probably considering one of them for your campaign and don’t even know it. Like maybe change your logo’s colors to something more holiday specific? Or perhaps the typography, packaging, and messaging? After all, it’s that special time of the year, right? Don’t get us wrong. We love it when brands add a twist to their marketing campaigns. And we trust that you’ll find clever ways to incorporate holiday specific elements without actually changing your brand. People are confused enough after having a bit too much to drink at family dinners. At least make it easier for them to recognize your brand.
Don’t go crazy with holiday promotions
There’s nothing wrong with rolling out some special offers to drive in customers. In fact, you should do it. The overdoing part is what we’re referring to here. People love discounts, sure, but they also appreciate good entertainment, engagement, and education. So if your only plan is to make it rain with discounts, we’re sorry to let you know that this falls under the umbrella of don’ts. Mix those special offers with some friendly content. The internet will be flooded with discounts and aggressive marketing. Stand out.
Don’t forget to schedule social media posts
So you went over the top to create this amazing, out of this world content. Graphic designers and videographers were involved. The legal team approved it. And now it’s going to become viral. Except you forget to schedule it. And you’re forced to say “Hey, guys, Black Friday should be celebrated everyday!”. Riiight. Here’s a different scenario. With Planable, you can strategically plan and schedule your content by drag and dropping posts in your predefined time slots. It takes seconds. You can then enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while seeing everything at a glance across all your pages.
Don’t overlook collaboration and approval
We all need some sort of approval process. Even when we say we don’t because “we trust each other”. As a general rule, our industry has to internalize that review and approval are important. They are not about control. Nor are they about a lack of trust. They’re simply there because more brains add up to better results, more pairs of eyes add up to flawless content, and more types of expertise add up to progress. Sure, forgiveness during the holiday season can be one of the best gifts you give to yourself. But we’re pretty sure your audience isn’t going to overlook that typo. Shockingly (not), we recommend trying out Planable. It’s not an add-on, it’s not a feature, it’s an entire tool built for the sole sake of making social media collaboration seamless.
Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach
Not all people are the same. Not all channels bring the same results. Then why use a one-size-fits-all approach? Your goal is not only to reach as many people as possible but also to provide them with content they’ll love, in a format they’ll enjoy. Divide your audience into smaller groups such as existing customers, warm leads, people you want to reach, and so on. Stalk them a little. Where do they hang out? What are they sharing? What’s their mother’s maiden name? Scratch that. This will help you narrow down your channels of distribution and content formats. More time for creativity. Yay!
That’s all, folks!
P.S. If you want super helpful resources for the other upcoming holidays too, download our Holiday Kit 2020 that contains everything you need to create perfect campaigns for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas & New Year’s Eve. Bonus: the kits include exclusive discounts for some of the tools we mentioned.
Now go make magic happen!
Raluca Cîrjan, Digital Marketing Specialist @Planable.io. Advertising enthusiast, fast learner & ailurophile. I believe that one joke a day keeps the doctor away. Feel free to share a funny story with me.