Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a day to help entrepreneurs get more exposure during the biggest holiday shopping weekends of the year: Black Friday weekend.
There are approximately 23 million small businesses in America, which account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales, according to the Small Business Administration.
Throughout the year, small businesses urge customers to eat, shop and play locally, and it looks as it’s paying off. Small Business Saturday 2012 took place on Nov. 24, and it seems that customers are willing and wanting to buy from local vendors. Consumers spent $5.5 billion on Saturday, surpassing the estimates of $5.3 billion, according to the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express.
Small Business Saturday Really Works
Hundreds of businesses had increases in their sales during Small Business Saturday. Here are a few success stories, courtesy of American Express:
- Distinctive Gardens, Dixon, IL: This small shop saw an increase in sales by 45 percent. To help them succeed they started a grass roots alliance with over 70 local businesses and joined forces. They also started a Facebook page where consumers and owners could interact with each other.
- Butter Lane Cupcakes, New York, NY: This cupcake shop in New York saw an increase in sales by 400 percent. To help them succeed they dropped the price of one dozen cupcakes and used the Small Business Saturday tool kit to create postcards encouraging shoppers to pre-order theirs. They also used email, Facebook, Twitter and their blog page to encourage customers to take advantage of their special one-day only deal.
- Walnut Street Traditions, Lafayette, IN: This shop had their best sales day on Small Business Saturday than they had in six years! To help them succeed they customized their emails and Facebook posts and printed posters promoting their small business. Their posters got notice from a local news station, so they were able to get news coverage of their shop.
Social Media & Small Businesses
According to Social Media Today, one billion people actively use Facebook each month. Twitter has over 500 million users, an astonishing 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and 62 percent of adults worldwide use social media.
Social media has become a necessary tool to promote small business. Over 3.2 million Facebook users have “liked” the Small Business Saturday page and more that 213,000 Tweets were sent out in support of Small Business Saturday back in November, according to American Express. To get the most out of social media, businesses should be smart: diving into all platforms at once could be discouraging if quick results are met. For business professionals, LinkedIn is a great starting point. Mom-and-pop shops and boutiques will do well on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.
Shop Locally All Year Long
Consumers shouldn’t show their support for small business only one day a year; to keep small businesses growing, people should show their support every day by shopping in your neighborhood. Take part in Farmer’s Markets, shop at that hipster-chic boutique down the road, buy your cleaning supplies from the all-natural shop around the corner.