Ever since the “Dunk in the Dark” Super Bowl tweet from @Oreo, it has become a certainty that every household brand will try to jump on nearly every major event to try to inject its brand message into the conversation. The result are usually mixed, especially when the relevance of the brand to the event is a stretch, but there couldn’t be a more appropriate event for brand-based social media than the #1 online shopping weekend of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Here’s the least shocking news of the year: The brands that did the best are the ones that consistently create great stuff, and posted relevant content around the holiday.

A girl can never be too prepared… #BlackFriday A photo posted by Macy’s (@macys) on

Macy’s and Nordstrom’s both make a habit of creating high quality posts for the people who follow them, and their primary focus is the retail experience. But what about a brand that typically focuses its content on community? How can a brand that doesn’t typically sell its products through its social media channels remain relevant during the flood of conversation and commerce? The answer for lululemon was the same: stick with the content that it has been creating, step the quality game up, and make only a subtle allusion to the occasion:

You’re a lightning strike, a shooting star in a blackened sky, a white-hot ember in the night. Lights out, let’s go. When your need for speed takes you into the night, this Special Edition gear with 360° high-impact reflectivity will keep you shining bright. (link in profile)

A video posted by lululemon (@lululemon) on

All of those brands sell retail, so they make perfect sense for the Black Friday, Cyber Monday content-spree. The brands that have it tougher are the ones that don’t directly relate to the days, and for those (just like dish soap during the super bowl), sometimes it’s okay to take a step back from the hashtag and leave the trend to those who do relate to it. So who else got involved? You’ve got the Arby’s team, who never saw a trend that they couldn’t parody

Bud Light, who takes pretty much anything and throws a beer next to it (which is a surprisingly awesome strategy)

If you need us, we’ll be taking care of some leftovers. #BlackFriday

A photo posted by Bud Light (@budlight) on

And even Beats By Dre, which posts more about private jets than it does about discounts, found a way to get in on the action with a Snapchat filter featuring people who could wear virtual Beats on their heads as they shopped.

When you find parking on Black Friday. Snapchat takeover in full effect with @kiyoko11 and more. Don’t blow it. #GetBeats ???? BeatsByDre

A video posted by Beats By Dre (@beatsbydre) on

So, what does it all mean?
Two things that are so important: First, content for trending topics is great, as long as it makes sense for you and you’re not trying to draw attention when the conversation’s not about you. Arby’s poked fun, and was able to do that because that’s just what they do.

Second (and you’ll see why this is important now, I’m sure) is the value of an awesome feed. The brands that make great stuff can hop in and out of trends, and when they do, it makes sense for them. The ones that just see events as opportunities fall flat like an uninvited guest dropping a bad joke on a confused crowd.

As always, thanks so much for checking in for this week’s Social Update. This Wednesday we’ll have our Account Manager Flynn sharing some productivity experiments and hacks, and in the meantime, give us a follow on Twitter if you want to be kept in the loop with all of this great context (see what I did there?).

See you all next week,