Using social media to ramp up for small business saturday - FOX 54 WZDX – Huntsville News, Weather and Sports

Using social media to ramp up for small business saturday

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Big retailers have traditionally been the businesses to see the biggest boost on Black Friday, and Cyber Monday helps online merchants. If you're a small-business owner, you now have a day when consumers are thinking about you - Nov. 26 is Small Business Saturday - and smart use of social media can help you make the most of it.

More than 200 advocacy, public and private organizations will be supporting Small Business Saturday, an initiative launched by American Express OPEN in 2010. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, supporters will be offering encouragement and incentives for consumers to support small businesses in their communities.

The initiative has a strong social media component, with an active Facebook page that has more than 1.5 million followers. Incorporating a Small Business Saturday campaign into your social media marketing can help you communicate news of this important promotion to new and potential customers.

So how can you maximize marketing opportunities around Small Business Saturday? Start with a visit to the event's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday. There, you can download Facebook Badges, social sharing tools and in-store displays. Next, consider these steps for incorporating Nov. 26 into your marketing strategies:

* Create a Business Fan Page on Facebook if you don't already have one. If you already have a fan page, use it to communicate with Facebook friends and followers about your participation in Small Business Saturday.

* Be sure to Tweet daily about in-store promotions and sales leading up to the big day. Also, make sure your Facebook and Twitter accounts are linked.

* Include news of Small Business Saturday on your blog, explaining why it's important for everyone to support the small-business sector, which drives job creation for the American economy.

Hopefully your social media efforts will create a lot of buzz leading up to the post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend. You can make tracking results easier if you use online applications like YourBuzz, a free, social media tool that helps you view and respond to customer reviews and online mentions all from one place. With this easy-to-use business app you can:

* Find out what customers are saying about your business
* Access and track your information on CitySearch, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and other popular websites
* Aggregate your customer reviews, ratings and online mentions
* Respond, retweet or create a new conversation
* See how you stack up to your competitors
* Get recommendations for actions to take

If you want to generate excitement around your business in the lead up to the big day, make sure to use YourBuzz to raise your online profile and take part in the discussion about your brand. To learn more about YourBuzz, visit www.theopenappcenter.com. To take part in Small Business Saturday, visit www.SmallBusinessSaturday.com.

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