How to leverage social media for a successful Small Business Saturday

Editorial Team

6 min read
Couple using phone while holiday shopping

Small Business Saturday is an annual holiday shopping event that focuses on and highlights — you guessed it  — small businesses. Coined in 2010 as a response to the economic recession, Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 26th this year) and encourages people to shop small for the holiday season.

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According to a National Federation of Independent Business Survey, consumers spent over $23 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday in 2021.

Small Business Saturday is an awesome and unique way for small shops to make themselves known, grow their customer base, and compete with the big box retail stores offering Black Friday deals to holiday shoppers. If things go well, it could end up being one of the biggest sales days of the year, and a great way to introduce new customers to your business.

To make the most of Small Business Saturday, many independent retailers turn to social media to advertise sales, events, and special products in an effort to bring in new and returning customers. Here are some tips on how to use your social media channels to make the most of Small Business Saturday this holiday season.

READ: The power of holiday gift guides for small business

Bring the retail experience directly to social audiences

In addition to using social media to advertise and publish content about your business, you can also give people the opportunity to check out specific products and/or make a purchase directly from their favorite apps.

More and more, people are turning to social media apps like Instagram to discover products they love and brands they identify with. If your business has a unique product, service, or menu item, consider highlighting it on social media so that it gets into people’s feeds. Once they see it and fall in love with it, they’ll be more likely to get hooked on your brand. These days, it’s more likely that customers will discover a product they love on social media before they discover your business’s website or physical location.

In addition, you can actually make sales directly through your social channels. Instagram Shopping is a popular feature that allows businesses to create a digital catalog of their products and sell them directly through the app. Over 130 million Instagram users tap on an Instagram Shopping post every month. Similarly, Facebook Shops, which launched in May 2020, allows you to create an online store that lives entirely in the app. Once a customer finds a product they like, you can redirect them to your website or allow them to make the purchase through Facebook. With Facebook’s paid promotion services, you can also get your products in front of a lot more eyes than with traditional advertising.

Invite an audience into your store using Stories

The modern customer wants to feel like they have a relationship with the brands they shop from, and there’s no reason that relationship can’t begin online. In addition to product-based posts, don’t forget you can also use social media to invite people inside your store, and give them an authentic behind-the-scenes look at your local community, culture, and people.

Instagram and Facebook Stories are a great way to feature this style of content. Stories are easy to discover, and their temporary nature means you can be a little less precious about pure quality than, say, an in-feed post meant to showcase a specific product. Consider using Small Business Saturday as an opportunity to give folks a virtual peek at what your store looks like, and invite them to stop by. Even if they’re far away and can’t physically come in, this peek behind the curtain will help your viewers feel like they’re getting to know your brand, and they may be more likely to shop there some day as a result.

There’s endless great ways to go about this style of content, so definitely get creative. Consider handing the keys to one of your employees for an all-day Instagram Story takeover, or film someone setting up a window display. You can also include polls, Q&A widgets, quizzes, and other interactive features to more deeply engage with your audience. And, don’t be afraid to get on camera yourself as the business owner! You don’t have to be an influencer or professional on-camera talent, you just have to be authentic and speak from the heart about why you love your business and why others might, too.

Collaborate and cross-promote with other local businesses

By partnering with other local businesses in your area, you can pool resources and promote your block, street, neighborhood, or city as a shopping destination. People love to “make a day” of their holiday shopping, and if you let them know that there’s a great sandwich shop nearby they can visit after browsing your store — that’s all the more reason to show up to both locations. You can take this further by offering cross-promotional deals or giveaways with other stores in the area. It’s extremely enticing for holiday shoppers to know that they might get multiple great deals in one trip.

Naturally, make sure that you’re posting these deals all over social, and sharing similar promotional content from whomever you’re collaborating with. If you share another business’s social content on your channels, and they do the same, then you’ve both gotten exposure to each other’s audiences, opening up a potential new customer base.

The added bonus of collaborating with businesses is that it will also help you establish those relationships with the other entrepreneurs in your area, especially if you haven’t had the chance yet to do that kind of key relationship building and networking.

There’s no wrong way to do Small Business Saturday, but through clever use of social media, you can help make this Small Business Saturday potentially one of the greatest sales days of your entire year. Beyond that, by making content for people to engage with, you’ll start to build relationships between your brand and your customers that can last well throughout the rest of the year.

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