Gift cards were the biggest drivers of conversation on Twitter among consumers discussing giving and receiving presents this holiday season and nobody generates more likes and retweets than the resurging Best Buy.
Even better, more than 99% of the content was published by users — including but not limited to influencers — instead of the Richfield, Minn.-based retailer itself, according to research by Sysomos, the Toronto-based social media analytics company.
Best Buy actually finished eighth among the Top 10 brands ranked by original posts, following Amazon, Starbucks, Sephora, Visa, Target, iTunes and Victoria’s Secret. But posts about Best Buy gift cards were retweeted by a factor of nine compared to its original posts, the most by far of any brand finishing in the Top 25 brands whose gift cards drove the greatest engagement.
That’s not to say that it happens by chance. Quite the opposite.
“They are very active in engaging with their audience; it’s something that they pay attention to far and away more than a lot of other brands,” says Sysomos chief strategy officer David Berkowitz. “They also have had a lot of experience in the gift cards, so that they have some track record for knowing what works,” he adds, “and they're heavily motivated during the holiday season to really optimize that.”
To cite one example, each Miami and West Virginia player in the Russell Athletic Bowl last December got a $300 Best Buy gift card, which generated posts (not to mention good, old-fashioned stories). And Best Buy’s promoted tweets often tie gift cards to purchases of a particular product, be it a Pixel phone by Google (85 likes, 275 retweets here) or a Samsung Galaxy S7 with a Gear VR headset (65 likes, 155 retweets here) — a tactic that amplifies interest.
“I do think that having paid [media] is something that not every brand has focused on and that will probably continue to be a bigger and bigger opportunity with each holiday season, especially as paid media becomes such a driving force of social activity in general,” Berkowitz says.
Some other takeaways flagged by Sysomos:
Here’s Sysomos’ ranking of the brands whose gift cards drove the most engagement from Veteran’s Day through New Years’ Eve.