Back in November 2010, American Express came up with a brilliant campaign to encourage holiday shoppers to shop local. They called it Small Business Saturday®. In lieu of shopping at “big box” stores on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the idea is to celebrate shopping small and local the weekend of Thanksgiving.
In 2015, Hyde Park Village in Tampa held a celebration for Small Business Saturday and invited the entire community out for a day of fun, complete with live music and shopping specials. Tampa Bay Bloggers, a group I’m proud to be a part of, used it to not only promote local businesses, but also to garner additional page views on their blogs.
If you’re looking to take advantage of Small Biz Saturday with your blog, here’s a simple guide for spotlighting businesses in your area and thus garnering more page views.
Make a list of all the stores that will be offering their own deals for Small Business Saturday. It’s extra helpful if there are several located close together so you can hit a bunch of them in your limited amount of time.
Tip: Check out tweets tagged #ShopSmall for insights.
2. Reach out to other local bloggers in your area.
Create a meetup to shop small together. The sooner you can plan this, the better. When you’re trying to rally a group to shop the weekend of Thanksgiving, don’t be surprised if a lot of people turn you down (it’s a busy weekend). But inviting them could still encourage additional social shares.
3. Let businesses know you’ll be blogging about Small Business Saturday.
A heads up could encourage small businesses in your area to hook you up with their products or services in hopes that you include them when you blog about Small Business Saturday. You can still benefit from cold blogging, but awareness ahead of time could give your blog some serious attention.
4. Create a social media strategy.
Once you know who in your blogosphere will be participating in Small Business Saturday festivities, you can work together to ramp up the promotions on your social media pages.
In the chat, include a Q&A about the stores you’re most excited to visit for the big day, who you’re shopping for, what makes the perfect gift, etc. Invite bloggers, as well as the brands you plan to support, to participate in the chat to get more attention.
5. Do a promotional blog post ahead of the day.
In your blog post for Small Business Saturday, write a promo about why it’s so important to Shop Small®. Include links to your favorite local businesses. Explain the ideas you have for your shopping list. You could even write what you want for Christmas.
6. Promote the blog post everywhere.
Add images and tag the stores on Instagram. Tweet it out and mention the Twitter handles of the brands. Pin the post on Pinterest under shopping, fashion and small business. You could even create a small business board on Pinterest, pinning your post and an image from each of the small businesses you support. Encourage your bloggy friends to do the same. RT, re-gram, re-pin and Facebook share all the posts for each other.
7. On the day of Small Business Saturday, go shopping with all your bloggy friends.
It’s a good idea to create an agenda for shopping ahead of time. Having a timeline will also prevent you from spending too much time at a store. At each shop, you should be snapping pics and sharing on social media. You could do a Facebook Live, Instagram Story or Snapchat video at each one as well.
Remember, with every post include the handles of the brands you’re supporting, and the official #ShopSmall or #SmallBizSat hashtag, to encourage social shares.
And by making it a group adventure, you’ll also get access to more audiences. You could even get some media attention. Who says you can’t tell the press a blogger group is going shopping for Small Business Saturday? Heck, you could invite the whole town and make it a community-wide affair!
If you’re visiting Tom’s Balm Shop at 1 p.m., your scheduled post at 12:45 p.m. could say something about heading to Tom’s shop next. In some of your scheduled posts, if not all, include links to your “why I’m shopping small this year” blog post. Remember, the goal is to get eyes on your website, so share it all day since it’s relevant to each place you’re shopping.
8. If you buy anything, snap and share a pic.
If you aren’t buying anything that day, snap and share pics anyway! People love following along and looking for gift ideas. Pictures of products, pictures of stores, pictures of you — people love to see what’s happening!
9. At the end of the day, write a wrap-up post.
While it’s fresh in your mind, write a wrap-up post. Include the local coffee shop you grabbed your morning java. Mention the small cafe where you had lunch. Talk about the gifts you bought. Then, it’s time to promote even more.
10. Promote, promote, promote.
Share some of the images with links to your recap post. Tag all the relevant brands. Do a collage of your favorite finds and ask for social shares. Typically, these stores will be grateful for the love, making them more likely to “like” and share your shoutout. You could even do a follow-up Twitter Chat with your fellow bloggers about all the shops you visited.
After the event, you could break up the day into smaller posts, too. Here are just a few smaller articles that could come out of your big day:
- Top 5 local gifts for guys/gals
- Best shoes for a day of shopping
- Must-have gifts for the chef in your life
- Local shop spotlights for each store you went to
- Snack ideas to keep your energy up while holiday shopping
Again, as you write these posts, tag the brands that are included. With every share, that could yield another page view. May your Small Business Saturday yield you, and local businesses, much success!
Also published on Medium.