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AMEX Shop Small 2018 – Part II of III: Using Social Media to Drive Retail Walk-in Business

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In last week’s blog post titled ‘AMEX Shop Small 2018 – Part I of III: Everything You Need to Know’, we did a complete overview of the Amex Shop Small movement and Small Business Saturday. This week, we’ll cover the holiday shopping craze around Thanksgiving and how small businesses can use social media to their advantage during the correlating Shop Small season. We’ll also review how this can help drive retail walk-ins during the Small Business Saturday, and more! So scroll on and learn how to up your social media game this Shop Small season.


As a small business, start by setting up SMART goals for the Shop Small season 2018. Your goal could be driving immediate sales on Small Business Saturday or increasing overall brand loyalty. You could also use this movement to drive your social media fan following.

Every in-person retail experience should be complemented with an attractive digital experience to keep your retail business top of mind among consumers. In this article, we’ll tell you how to set that goal and accomplish it… just in time for Small Business Saturday!


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Small Business Saturday was created to shift the attention of consumers from large retailers and ecommerce stores to small mom-and-pop shops. However, these small businesses are in direct competition with Black Friday sales. According to RetailMeNot, an average consumer is ready to spend approximately $700 between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To get a cut from consumers’ holiday shopping budget, you must make these holiday-happy shoppers aware of your own discounts, events, and offers long before Small Business Saturday.


Calls to action are the bread and butter of your sales funnel. They’re the pieces of text or images that call on your potential customers to take action. They then provide the means to take that action, usually in the form of a button or link. But before you can ask your potential customers to do anything, you have to figure out what it is you want them to do.

First, outline what your goals are for Shop Small 2018. Then create calls to action designed around those goals. For example, if your goal is to increase social media followers during the Shop Small season, then your call to action needs to be centered around that. You need to ensure that your sponsored posts, email campaigns etc. have clearly visible social media follow buttons. On the other hand, if your goal is to increase in-store foot traffic, your call to action should be an in store event registration. The takeaway here is to set clear CTAs based on your goals.


Competing during the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping season is no easy feat. After all, it can be hard to be heard over the noise of exciting offers and promotions from businesses all across the country. When you decide to compete in this space, it is essential that you also come up with exciting events and promotions to boost sales.

If your idea is too generic, there is a good chance your message will get lost in the crowd. Some things to consider are: what your competitors are doing, what your calls to action and goals are, what attracts your target audience, and so on. Your Shop Small exclusive offers are a key element in your marketing strategy for the holiday shopping season.


Before deciding on paid promotion, it’s important for businesses to have a reasonably good organic reach. One way to do this is to update your social media pages to show that you’re participating in the Shop Small movement and Small Business Saturday. Small steps like changing your cover image and profile picture to suit the Shop Small movement will go a long way in connecting with your audience.

Post regularly on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages about your promotions for Small Business Saturday. Because this season is a festive one, social media inspiration is a piece of cake. For example, you can dress your store up in holiday attire and share photos or videos of your store’s festive makeover.

You can also use relevant hashtags like #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat, #SmallBusinessSaturday, #DineSmall etc. to attract a bigger audience to your social media pages.


Organic posts may give your business a good head start, but if you want to achieve strong results on social media, you’ll need to invest in paid promotions too.

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Promote your Shop Small deals and events  through social media ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Run a combination of image, video, and sponsored posts to drive sales and increase foot traffic to your store during the holiday shopping season and Small Business Saturday.

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While running your social media campaigns and contests, it’s equally important to understand what your competition is doing on social media. Competitive analysis will give you an understanding of initiatives you can use to enhance your social media presence and grab the attention of your target audience.

Did you know that you can see your competitors’ ads on Facebook? This neat little tool will help you get an understanding of the kind of ads that work well in your industry. In your Facebook account, simply click on the ‘Info and Ads’ section in the left column of your competitor’s Facebook page to see all the ads that your competitor is running in any particular region.

Similarly, follow your competitors’ accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels. This will give you an insight as to what they’re promoting and the kinds of events they’re hosting. This is one of the best ways to refine and revamp your social media strategy for the Small Business Saturday shopping season.

You should also keep an eye on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page for ideas.


It’s not enough to know what kind of events your competitors are running. You must also host your own. Events are an essential part of your small business marketing strategy as they’ll increase traffic and store visits. Exciting events will also motivate prospects to discuss it with their friends, helping promote your business through word of mouth.

For instance, you can host kick off events to start the day-long shopping spree. Invite loyal customers and offer them goodies, snacks, and beverages. You can also host kids games, sports, coloring contests etc. to attract families who might be in the holiday shopping spirit. Whether you’re a children’s store or not, offering entertainment for the little ones is a great way to get families to come in, browse, and maybe even buy. The goodies may get them there, but your promotions, discounts, and outstanding products will surely encourage them to stick around.


Once you have created exclusive offers for Small Business Saturday and have decided on the in store and online events you’re going to host, the next step is to map out your sales funnel. Create your map based on the experience and user journey path you want your prospective consumers to take.

Firstly, make sure that you have created organic social media content as well as social media ads/sponsored posts catering to audiences who are at different stages in the buying journey. Then create and add relevant landing pages to move prospects from one stage to the next. Finally, offer giveaways and discounts, and send out coupons to attract consumers to your store.


Run email campaigns to let your regular customers and leads know about various initiatives and promotions you have planned for Small Business Saturday. Don’t forget to send reminder emails to motivate prospects to visit your store on that day.

One of the most important aspects of an email campaign is frequency and timing. You can achieve a preferable frequency by optimizing email cadence. This strategy will surely help get your potential consumers excited about your Shop Small offers, promotions, and events, so don’t neglect it!


Having discussed various channels for promoting your small business, we’ll now focus on equipping you with the right tools for promotion.

Luckily for you, American Express has pretty much got you covered in that regard. Their online Studio allows you to access ready-made templates, posters, and other materials that can aid you in your social media promotions.

In the studio, you can create custom posters and banners that showcase the uniqueness of your business and encourage your local community to Shop Small at your store. Share basic business details like business name, color schemes, type of materials required, business location, etc. by clicking on the link to create marketing materials for promoting your small business via online marketing channels like email and social media.


You can also use tools like Canva to design images for your Shop Small social media promotions.

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The main takeaway is that consumer spending is much higher during the Thanksgiving shopping season. Getting a slice of this holiday pie is a great way to boost sales. However, businesses all across the country are aware of this uptick in spending, so getting your business out there can sometimes be tough. Using the recommendations in this article will help you attract prospective customers and make big sales this holiday season.

In the next post titled, ‘AMEX Shop Small 2018 – Part III of III: Driving Walk-in Traffic with Local Search & Reputation Management’, we will understand how to drive walk in traffic to your business with local search and reputation management.


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