Small Business Saturday: A Guide for Shoppers and Stores

Mashable

Round two of Small Business Saturday -- another post-Thanksgiving national shopping day launched in 2010 -- is taking shape as consumers and businesses prepare for the Nov. 26 event.

Small Business Saturday's goal is to to steer shoppers toward local independently owned businesses during the holiday season instead of bigger stores on Black Friday or online on Cyber Monday.

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This year, the campaign is getting a more support from social media sites such as Facebook, Foursquare and Google. American Express cardholders, for example, can sync their Foursquare accounts to their cards to receive a $25 credit after spending $25 or more on Small Business Saturday. At this time a year ago, the event's Facebook Page had fewer than 1 million Likes. Now, the page has 2.3 million Likes.

Below are some tips for shoppers and stores on how to get involved in the movement.

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What Is Small Business Saturday?


American Express and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the annual day-long initiative last year to boost sales for struggling small business. "One purchase is all it takes," say people in the above video. "So pick your favorite local business and join the movement."

Statistics from American Express OPEN show the inaugural event had some impact: Forty-one elected officials declared Nov. 27, 2010, Small Business Saturday, and people sent 30,000 tweets using the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #SmallBizSaturday.

"Last year, we saw a 28 percent rise in sales volumes for our small business merchants versus the same day in 2009," said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, SVP at American Express OPEN.

The list of supporters for 2011 continues to grow as more cities, states, advocacy groups, public officials and corporate partners jump on board.


How to Participate as a Consumer


Small Business Saturday has grown through press coverage and word-of-mouth marketing offline and online. You can contribute to the latter on the campaign's Facebook Page or on Twitter by using the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #SmallBizSaturday.

As an incentive, you can get $25 back on Small Business Saturday. You have two ways this year to receive the $25 credit for spending $25 or more at a small business:

  • Register your American Express Card here.
  • Sync your Foursquare account to your American Express Card here.

FedEx this year also gave away 40,000 $25 gift cards, which have all already been claimed.


How Small Businesses Can Prepare


Like last year, American Express gave $100 in free Facebook advertising to 10,000 business owners. And although those have all been claimed, many more tools are available for your business to prepare for Nov. 26.

Facebook:

Google:

  • My Business Story: Create custom videos using YouTube's editing tool to entice your customers.

YourBuzz:

  • Take charge of engagement: YourBuzz is a tool that allows users to read and respond to customer reviews and online mentions in one location. For Small Business Saturday, YourBuzz is offering $200 in free advertising credits on LinkedIn Ads ($100 for 6,500 business owners) and Facebook ($100 for 10,000, which is all used up).

Go Social:

  • Coupon-less offers: Provide mobile-based deals to your American Express card-wielding customers.

FedEx:

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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