Mom & Pop shops, sometimes derogatorily referred to as the dinosaurs of the retail industry have of recent date been able to exert some clout during the holiday buying season, at least for one day out of the year. Founded by American Express, since 2010, the "SHOP SMALL" movement (aka Small Business Saturday®) is a way for smaller enterprises to receive an economic boost, where shoppers can escape the anxiety that often accompanies the big-box-shopping-mall experience.
Small Business Saturday® follows Black Friday and proceeds Cyber Monday, where shoppers normally resort to online purchasing versus physically frequenting a store. This year, the Mom and Pops are now capitalizing on a missed opportunity of the past. Up from 20 percent, 33 percent will rely on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, G+, Foursquare and others to promote their boutique operations.
Digi Buzz Shop
However, for most small business owners, social media as a marketing discipline is a challenge and one many don't have to time to master while running a full-time retail business. Analyzing that need, Digi Buzz Shop seeks to fill that void. Founded by social media expert, Cheryl Kosloske -- as an entrepreneur herself - she is providing small business owners with social media management to engage with customers online and create a positive brand awareness that heretofore was lacking.
Social media packages are offered on a per-month or on-demand basis. “Monthly Buzz” plans have selectable options regarding the number of Facebook posts and Tweets per week, and ricing is based on the options selected. The “On Demand Buzz” package enables a customer to choose services at a discounted rate.
By utilizing the power of social media marketing, DBS expands traditional "word of mouth" advertising from 'the few' to the 'crowdsourced many.' Allowing business owners to remain free to concentrate on what they know best, a third-party service can attend to both the strategical and tactical day-to-day tasks. In turn, status updates, tweets, monitoring and maintaining social media accounts is addressed by the Kosloske team.
Foursquare has partnered with American Express this year with an incentive for shopkeepers to actually earn $50 in Foursquare "ad credits." for merchants who advertise with the geolocation app. From now until December 31st, store owners are incented to create a Foursquare ad for their business with the ability to turn it on within minutes.
As a premier partner of Small Business Saturday®, Twitter is also offering ad credits. Dedicating up to a total of $1 million in free advertising, eligible business advisors who register will receive $100 in free Twitter advertising while supplies last.
Additionally, Twitter is offering all the merchants who participate with a tool kit of helpful add-ons to assist in their marketing endeavors, inclusive of:
- Write Tweets to excite followers and drive word of mouth
- Launch exclusive promotions to help increase sales
How do you create a national movement? See how American Express brought Small Business Saturday®, to life on Facebook, driving sales to SMB's across America, with over 1.1 million liking their fan page, 'FacebookforBusiness.' Leveraging their billion-plus global followers, Facebook's advantage over some of the other social media platforms is their engagement on mobile devices and desktop computers. Presently Facebook's reach is accessible from three our of every four smartphones, where 90% of people registered with Facebook visit every day.
G+ & LinkedIn
While it doesn't appear that G+ struck a formal partnership deal with AMEX to join in this year's SHOP SMALL campaign, last year a G+ for Small Business was published by Lynette Young for small business owners. As the promo indicates, this how-to guide demonstrates "how the small businessperson can execute on a tiny (make that non-existent) budget," even if they have practically no technical expertise with social media.
LinkedIn probably should also consider partnering with AMEX in the future since on September 26 this year they reached the milestone of 50,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses registered on their network.
What's in it for the Consumer?
In addition, to the deep discounts offered at most stores that participate in this year's campaign, AMEX will also be incentvizing shoppers to come out on November 30. Card Members who use their American Express® Cards will get a one-time $10 statement credit when they use their registered Card to spend $10 or more on November 30, 2013, in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location.
So Moms & Pops have a leg up this holiday season, at least for one-day. Now it's up to them to devise a long term social media marketing strategy that sustains them the other 364 days.
Happy Holidays Readers, and don't forget to shop small.