Small Business Saturday

Thanksgiving has always meant turkey, stuffing, gravy and family, but what about and credit cards, shopping bags and cash registers opening at midnight? Although Black Friday has been creeping into Thanksgiving, some consumers have been generating more interest in the shopping day that includes a full day’s break after the feast: Small Business Saturday.

Historic Third Ward Milwaukee / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

More than ever, this two-year-old shopping event calls for small businesses to undertake special public relations and social media efforts. The Shop Small organization has completed a lot of the leg-work as far as social media, with more than 3.1 million supporters on Facebook.  Plus, the American Express-sponsored event has advertised a $25 gift card offer to cardholders who purchase at small businesses on Saturday, November 24.

However, small businesses should develop a social media plan, tailored to their own shops. By participating in the event through social networking efforts, you can contribute to the community-based “buy local” efforts in your area—as well as help drive your sales. According to the “Shop Small” infographic, independent retailers that are in communities with a “buy local” initiative reported revenue growth of 5.6% on average in 2010, compared to 2.1% for those elsewhere.

The Shop Small website provides pre-made, editable email messages and posts for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn for the convenience of small businesses. Whether your business follows these outlines or creates your own messages, we’re offering a few tips in spreading the word:

  1. Stick to your usual platforms Now is not the time to open a social media account to promote this weekend’s event. Continue posting where you have already built your fan base, whether this be through your Facebook page, an email account, or simply the window of your store (you can download free “Shop Small” signage.)
  2. Control your posts – Avoid posting too little so that the message does not go out, but do not post so much that you bother customers. Post enough so that you show your involvement and share how you are participating,
  3. Thank your customers – Do more than just announce the event; give your customers a reason to come out with any special offers or rewards. Then, thank the customers for their support through your original communications channels.

As a small business, we appreciate the efforts of this day in supporting small businesses, as it proved last year with these shops.

As PR professionals, we also applaud American Express for conceiving the idea for the event and setting an example for an increasingly successful – and smart – integrated public relations, marketing and social media campaign for their own business.

We’ll be shopping small and local at the Easton, PA Farmers Market. Who are you supporting this Small Business Saturday?

Photo credit: Historic Third Ward Milwaukee / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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