Forget about the newspaper circular. If consumers are looking for Black Friday deals, chances are, they'll look where they spend a ton of time: Facebook. This year more than ever Facebook is a key tool for retailers to connect with shoppers. And this year big brands aren't just trying to get fans to buy, they're trying to spread their message to fans *friends* -- to leverage the site for the power of its networks.
Facebook's VP of US sales, Tom Arrix, told me the company believes businesses are simply "better in a more social and connected world." He meets with Fortune 500 brands to convince them brands that *aren't* on Facebook are leaving money on the table. This year brands are using the site not just to promote black Friday deals and special hours, but to help people shop for their friends.
Wal-Mart has pages for every one of its 4,400 US stores and recently uploaded maps with info on where to find different deals. JC Penney wants to help shoppers select gifts, with a Facebook guessing game that allows users to share their "wish lists" and learn about friends' lists. eBay also is using Facebook for 'wish lists,' and is going one step further -- allowing gifters to organize groups to chip in for bigger gifts on those lists.