Picture of a white coffee cup filled with black coffee and a white sheet of paper that reads "small business." Image is used for a blog post about Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday Ideas Guaranteed to Build a Buzz

When you think of a small business, odds are the classic “mom and pop” shop comes to mind. They’re the type of business that’s been in the family for decades and the handful of employees they do have are mostly family members.

While true, the Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a “small business” as “a firm that has fewer than 500 employees.”

In 2021, the SBA shared that there are 32.5 million small businesses in the United States.

With Small Business Saturday on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to get creative and build brand awareness.

What’s Small Business Saturday?

In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday and in 2011, it became cosponsored by SBA.

Small Business Saturday takes place on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. This holiday gives businesses a platform to promote their brands during the busiest shopping season of the year.

So, whether you’re a family-owned business or a blossoming start-up, building a buzz is essential in generating new business and nurturing relationships with your current customer base.

Three Small Business Saturday Marketing Ideas

Create a giveaway 

There’s a reason people love in-store samples, free stuff is just…better. 

Channel that mindset with a giveaway of your own.

If you’re an online business or brick-and-mortar, the details of your contest will differ. But, the intent remains the same — to build excitement and brand awareness.

If you’ve never run a giveaway before here are some things to consider:

  1. Make the prize worth their participation –  Let’s be honest, a $5 discount won’t get people to take action. But, a prize bundle worth $150 might. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and ask, “What would I want to win?” 
  2. Keep it simple – “Like this post, tag 43 of your closest friends and then reshare to your Stories and tag us!” That’s what it can feel like when entering a social media giveaway. And, odds are, the more steps you have to take the less likely you’ll be to enter. That’s why lowering the barrier of entry can help boost participation. 
  3. Protect yourself – Always include terms and conditions with your giveaway. Each social channel has its own unique guidelines. Check out Instagram and Facebook to learn more. Also, consider speaking with a lawyer to ensure you’ve dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” to protect your brand. 
  4. Show and don’t tell – Pictures and videos of the prize are a must. Sharing this content can build excitement and show your audience exactly what they’ll receive if they win which could encourage more entries. 
  5. Share the “why” – Whether it’s to celebrate Small Business Saturday, your brand’s anniversary, or a holiday giveaway, share why you’re holding the giveaway in the first place. Sharing the reason behind the giveaway creates context and alleviates confusion.

Those were some of the particulars, now it’s time for the actual giveaway. Here are sample ideas:

  1. Best caption contest – Share a branded picture or meme and encourage users to share their most creative caption. The caption with the most Likes wins the prize. 
  2. Share a picture – Encourage customers to share a picture of your product in use. Entry would require them to tag your handle and use the hashtag you created with their post. This type of contest is a win-win. For starters, when other people share your brand’s product on their page, you’ll expand your reach and build brand awareness. Secondly, by being tagged in the posts and using a branded hashtag, you’re able to keep track of user-generated content that you can post in the future. NOTE: Always ask the creator for permission before using their content.
  3. Comment to win – To enter this type of contest, you’ll ask users to leave a comment on your post and tag at least one friend. By tagging another user, you again expand your reach and build awareness. 

Surprise and delight

Surprise and delight marketing isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that’s withstood the test of time. 

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a marketing tactic that’s used to attract and foster strong consumer relationships by providing unexpected rewards and benefits. 

Let’s say you own a restaurant and you find out that a couple is celebrating their first wedding anniversary. A way to infuse surprise and delight would be to hand deliver a complimentary dessert to their table.

Or, a company could send a special gift to a customer who shared their favorable experience with their brand on social. 

For Small Business Saturday, a surprise could be giving a customer who spends a certain amount of money a $25 gift certificate at the register. 

No matter the instance, the goal of surprise and delight is to go above and beyond when the consumer least expects it. 

Customer spotlights

Customer spotlights turn the focus away from a brand and onto the customers.

This adds a layer of humanization that creates a connection.

These customer spotlight features could be an exclusive collection that’s posted on social. Or, if you have a company blog, you can publish it on your website first and then promote it on social and in your email newsletter.

The benefits of customer spotlights include:

  1. Create testimonials that show potential customers how a brand’s products or services can add value to their lives. 
  2. Encourage social sharing. People love the limelight and if they’re featured on your social channels, they’ll share on their page which increases your reach. 
  3. Show appreciation. Customers are like the oxygen that keeps a brand alive. Without their business, your company wouldn’t succeed.

Magnify Your Message with Press Release Distribution

A common thread that pulls these three ideas together is press release distribution. 

Yes, press release distribution can unlock your brand’s reach and exposure by amplifying your efforts. 

Though Small Business Saturday is only one day of the year, small and mid-sized businesses have the unique opportunity to share their message with their target audience on a regular basis.

And, that’s exactly what we do for our Media Advantage Platform (MAP) clients. We take holidays like Small Business Saturday into account and include them in their strategies. 

From there, we build relevant and newsworthy topics, develop valuable content and then give it a boost through strategic media outreach to earn media mentions that move the needle. 

Now, that’s just skimming the surface of the value and results we generate for our MAP clients. If you want to learn more, our dedicated MAP page covers the details of what’s included.

Maria Marchewka is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Newswire. Maria is an experienced copywriter, social media marketer, content creator, strategist, and project manager. Her firm belief in being a practitioner and not a preacher of marketing concepts has put her in a position to help companies build brand awareness and connect with their target audiences online.

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