Twitter as Santa’s new little helper?

Santa is making his list and checking it twice, but how is he figuring out where to get all those presents? If you said his little elves, you’d be totally old-fashioned. This holiday shopping season it appears retailers are turning to social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get the word out and help gift-givers find that perfect gift.

Some of the biggest retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy used Facebook to publicize their Black Friday deals early to those who “liked” them.  Other retailers, such as Target and Amazon, offered giveaways and ran contests to entice people to follow them.  Exclusive information before the infamous Black Friday was a hot item sought after by rabid shoppers anxious to know what items would be marked down.

While it appears Facebook is largely most used social site for retailers this shopping season, other social media sites are getting into the game too.  J.C. Penney used Foursqaure as part of the incentive to get shoppers to come on Black Friday, promising to donate $25 to the Salvation Army each time someone “checked in” that morning.  Retailers also used Twitter to promote mobile apps that offered coupons and even virtual shopping assistants.  The Disney Store actually rolled out a Twitter initiative just for Black Friday (which they called “Magical Friday”) that allowed users to send a tweet asking holiday shopping-related questions using the hastag #FairyGodmother.  They employed a small team to answer customer tweets within thirty minutes, answering questions such as which gifts are the most age appropriate, which fall into a certain budget, and even where the best parking spots are.

So, it looks like we’ve got Black Friday and Cyber Monday (my personal favorite- no crowds!), could there be a Social Media Tuesday in the future?  Or is this just a passing fad?  Have you used social media or mobile devices to help in your holiday shopping?

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