Why This Is Social Media’s Best Holiday Season Yet
Lisa Tranum

There is always plenty of speculation about the holiday season. What’s the hot new toy? Will consumers spend more? What sales can certain retailers expect compared to last year? But on one point there can be little argument: in 2012, social media will impact holiday sales like never before.

Not surprisingly, Facebook is leading the way, apparently with some inspiration from Pinterest. Facebook Offers are a “viral hit,” according to TechCrunch, which quoted David Fischer, Facebook’s vice president of marketing and business partnerships, as saying that among the 100 most popular offers on Facebook, three-fourths of the claims came not from the people who had been initially targeted but from someone with whom they had shared it. TechCrunch said, “Offers seems to be a genuinely social product, with redemptions driven by sharing—as opposed to just another deal that happens to be delivered on Facebook.”In October, Facebook tested Facebook Collections, letting users view retailer look books with the option to buy straight from the page. The move was seen by some as a reaction to the growth of Pinterest. Facebook has also developed its own e-commerce platform, Payvment, which is behind Lish.com, a Pinterest-style shopping site just out of beta that highlights products trending on Facebook and Twitter.

Retailers can directly display their products on Lish, which exposes the product to a broader base of shoppers compared to hosting the products only on their own retail websites. While the idea is great for consumers and retailers alike, there has been some snarking. TechCrunch called Lish “an impulse shopping site for cheap ridiculousness.”

Cheap ridiculousness aside, impulse buying represents a huge potential market for Facebook. By hosting flash sales it can capitalize on the I-don’t-know-if-I-want-this-but-if-I-don’t-buy-it’s-gone-forever reaction. Social media dominates here because users are prompted to post flash sale items on their newsfeeds, enticing more people to participate, and, in turn, spreading the flash sale buy-now hysteria.

With all these new vehicles online, is anyone still willing to do their shopping the traditional route in brick-and-mortar stores? Undoubtedly yes. The secret to keeping social media approaches in harmony with more traditional retail strategies is to use them in tandem. Look at Neiman Marcus, one of the first retailers to utilize Facebook Collections. It started two collections, “Borrowed From the Boys” and “Leather Leg” that showcase the pieces in these two lines. Neiman’s 600,000 fans can look through and buy straight from the page, something that they may not have done without the collections so readily available to them.

Social media is affecting holiday sales this year like never before. Whether this is a positive or negative for retailers depends on how quickly and how effectively they can leverage these new sales vehicles. And they had better hurry. The holidays are coming soon.


Lisa Tranum is the CEO and co-founder of BluMoxy, the leading social media memory book service. She has a passion for online scrapbooking, photography and photo editing. As an entrepreneur, she is a sought-after speaker for women’s conferences and has sponsored events such as Mama’s Write. Before founding BluMoxy, Lisa served as marketing coordinator for a number of companies, including the Service Group Insurance and Financial Company, Tranum Auto Group and the Republic National Distributing Company.