Squeezing in between it’s older, bigger and more attention-grabbing siblings Black Friday and Cyber Monday, looking for some love on the holidays is Small Business Saturday. Born in 2010 from the minds at American Express as a way to encourage consumers not to forget about the little guys, Small Business Saturday has been able to insert itself into the hearts of consumers and their holiday shopping habits for the last 4 years.
As the buzz around this newer shopping holiday gears up for its 5th year, we wanted to provide some ideas for promoting your business on social channels that all brands, small and large can learn from.
1. Boost Your Consumer Awareness with Social Media.
The key for locally owned small businesses to have a successful holiday shopping season this go round is simple: consumer awareness. Your strength lies in the face-to-face interactions you have with your patrons everyday, but sometimes this can be very limiting in getting the word out. Beat the “virtual pavement” and let more folks know, “Hey we’re here,” with quick posts.
You can post or tweet something as simple as your hours of operation for Small Business Saturday, even if they will not change. Just letting people know you’re going to be open can go a long way.
For example: “It’s Small Business Saturday this weekend. We’ll be here from 8am-9pm. Come on over and see us.”
2. Educate Shoppers Why Shopping With You is a Good Thing.
Even before there was a special shopping holiday, local businesses have been helping consumers realize the benefits of shopping locally. There is information out there, so why not create posts and tweets around it. This time of the year is perfect to remind folks why shopping locally not only helps your business, but helps to boost your community’s economy as well. Quick posts or tweets leading up to Small Business Saturday centered around this is a great way to get folks out for this event.
For example: “#6 on the top 10 reasons to shop local – “Because waiting in long lines stinks. Get better service when you shop at [insert place of business here] this Small Business Saturday.”
For the complete list visit Sustainable Connections: http://sustainableconnections.org/thinklocal/why
3. Ask Your Customers To Give Your Business a Shout Out Online.
Picture courtesy of http://www.freepik.com, http://www.graphicsfuel.com and http://pixgood.com
In preparation for this year’s Small Business Saturday, begin to ask your regular customers to go on social and let their friends know about you.
Being local, you know your patrons on a more intimate level than bigger brands. Use that advantage to garner more awareness. Simply asking your patrons to give your business a shout out can go a long way. After having some of the best coffee and red velvet cake in a local café, the owner asked me to give him a review on Facebook. It was a totally natural request and didn’t feel forced since he and I had been having the easiest conversation while I enjoyed my purchases.
Bigger brands are always looking for ways to build the type of relationships you already have with your customers. Chances are you also share more than purchase experiences with these folks. They are your neighbors and friends and they’d be happy to give you some love online. Pretty sure all you’ll have to do is ask.
That leads me to the next tip.
4. Continue to Be Your Usual, Charming Self.
Gif courtesy of http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/flynn-rider-gif
Stay authentic to your business’ in-store culture while online. Try not to succumb to the peer pressure to be just like the big brands on social this year. Avoid the temptation to become part of the noise during the chaos of holiday shopping. Keep the nice and easy conversation going online.
Most local small businesses have owners and employers with personalities as big as the dreams they have for their labor of love. Let that shine through in your social media posts for Small Business Saturday.
Share pictures of in-store activities that capture what makes you a great place to do business. Show customers enjoying their shopping experience.
Post pictures of your unique product offerings. Add special discounts for these items as part of the post, which brings me to my final tip.
5. Offer Discounts in Social for New and Old Customers Alike.
As shoppers wind down from the Black Friday frenzies and ramp up for the Cyber Monday madness, local small businesses can offer some relief in the shopping experience with “no-fuss,” “no-hassle” ways for these weary warriors to get the products and services they want.
Give special in-store discounts for those customers that take the extra step to like you on Facebook or retweet you on Twitter.
Last year, 67% of small businesses were reported to “offer discounts to drive consumers to ‘Shop Small’ . . .” according to the Small Business Saturday Insights Survey.
In Closing, Own Your Saturday Shopping Day.
Small businesses should own the Saturday after Thanksgiving as their biggest shopping day of the year. I mean Saturdays are by far the most popular days of the week to shop throughout the rest of the year anyway. Use these ideas to make this year’s Small Business Saturday one for the books.