For some small businesses, this year has been about seizing sudden opportunities for growth. Even Amazon is incentivizing customers to shop small business during key shopping occasions like Prime Day. And entire organizations are active to encourage shoppers to buy from small businesses, even in huge cities like NYC.
Simply put, there’s never been a better—or more important—time to make sure your small business is set up for success, and to meet consumers where they’ll be looking.
Social media is an obvious place to start your Small Business Saturday strategy.
By building your social media presence to not only attract customers, but to also drive sales and nurture lifetime value, you can turn this Small Business Saturday into more than just a quick win. It could be the foundation of your beefed-up social strategy moving forward.
Here’s a look at 10 of our top tips to help get your small business social media strategy up and active in time for Small Business Saturday.
Choose Your Most Important Objectives
Before you can get where you want to, you have to know where you’re going. As you’re building your social media strategy for Small Business Saturday, take time to think about what it is you really want to accomplish. That way, you can know how to best get started—and whether or not you actually made an impact.
Want to build awareness for your business?
You may want to focus your attention on creating engaging, attention-grabbing content with your brand featured prominently. Choose your social platforms carefully, as some are much more awareness focused than others. Keep an eye on your social media metrics, including Reach and Engagements, as they’ll tell you whether or not your audience base is expanding and whether your content is having an effect.
Want to drive purchase consideration?
Consider building content specifically for your already-engaged audiences. Think: less introduction, more “get to know us.” This is a great time to really dive into what sets you apart from your competition, what you have that’s unique to offer, and why your shop is the right choice for the consumer thinking about shopping local.
Want to really ramp up your purchases?
Push hard on your products or services directly, targeting those audience members most likely to make that conversion. There are a ton of options available for social accounts looking to target local shoppers, engaged shoppers, and individuals interested in your products. Just make sure your online store is up and running, and your pixel is set up correctly to make sure you’re counting things correctly.
Start Seeding Those Purchase Ideas Early
Social media can be a super helpful tool for helping your fans make that leap from “follower” to “customer.” However, it’s not always a simple hop across the finish line.
Even in traditional media, advertising often requires multiple points of contact over a significant time period to convince a customer to make a purchase.
Fortunately for businesses, social media has become one of the most important research channels for customers considering a product or service.
According to Hubspot, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product based on social media referrals. That ubiquitous reach of social, combined with the inherent trust of seeing brand and friends you follow endorse a product, can be a powerful tool for driving serious consideration.
That’s why it’s crucial to start getting your product in front of shoppers early, at least a few weeks prior to Small Business Saturday (if not longer). According to Google Trends, search trends around the term really pick up in the first week of November, meaning there are 3-4 solid weeks of consideration you need to be part of.
The more opportunities you have to get in front of a user—and, therefore, the more touchpoints they have with your brand—the better chance you’ll have to make your case and earn that sale.
Use an Integrated Paid & Organic Strategy
Your paid social media strategy doesn’t exist in a bubble—and, more likely than not, the audiences seeing your paid posts will include a whole lot of current fans of your social profiles.
That’s why it’s always a smart idea to make your organic and paid social media efforts work together to hit your Small Business Saturday goals.
Building audiences with your bomb organic posts? Make sure to get all those engaged users into your paid audiences. Bonus if you can serve personalized ads based on expressed interest in a product or page on your website.
Getting clicks on your paid ads, but not a lot of good engagement? Consider serving ads to your existing page fans or prior customers. You’ll probably have a lower reach, but better engagement.
Don’t be afraid to put some money behind a really banger organic post (just please, don’t Boost. Build a proper ad and get your reporting in order.)
Think about your organic space as an “experimentation” zone for your paid posts. If it worked for your engaged fans, it will probably work well for your new audiences.
Double Check Your Contact Info
You might be surprised at how many social media profiles out there contain inaccurate, outdated, or just flat-out missing contact information. It seems like one of those things that everybody would have in top shape… but it’s also petty easy to forget to update your page with new contact info or phone numbers.
If you want your audience to actually find you when Small Business Saturday comes around, you need to make sure your contact info is as up to date as possible.
Give them a clear map to your physical storefronts, or give them easy ways to get in touch with your business. Most important of all, make sure your website is up-to-date and leading to a good landing page.
Beyond these basics, it’s also a good idea to review closely your secondary profile info: are you listed in the right business category? Do you list your services somewhere in your profile? These are all key search terms for anyone browsing social, or for making sure your ads are delivered to the right interested audiences.
Start Building Visibility on Crucial Hashtags
Obviously, the tag #smallbusinesssaturday is a big one… but it’s not the only hashtag you should focus on.
Think local, and try researching a few localized hashtags that might help you hit a new audience of neighbors and likely stop-bys.
Here in New Hampshire, for instance, there are a few crucial hashtags to jump on: #NHSmallBusiness, #ShopLocalNH, and others. Spend a little time now to find the right hashtags, and you could earn pretty big returns down the road with that local audience.
Not finding any good options? Looking for a way to really carve out your own space? Start a hashtag yourself. Invite other businesses to participate. What better opportunity to communicate your local focus than by spreading the wealth a bit?
Consider All Sections of Your Sales Journey
We talked already about the importance of setting your goals for social media, and using unique creative to speak to all sections of your customer journey (see tip #1). But looking even closer at the sales journey specifically can help close the gaps in your sales process and drive even more of your engaged fans to become tried-and-true customers.
Want to guide first-time buyers to conversion?
Focus on the most important factors for gaining trust. These are, in many cases, informational: what is your return policy? Do you ship? Can customers purchase and checkout online? What is your quality control process? These may seem like simple questions to a business owner, but they can make a big impact on a customer’s purchase intent.
Want to drive return business from existing customers?
Try offering an incentive only for returning customers, or consider utilizing something like a rewards system to entice previous buyers to return. Or, use what you know about a customer’s interests or previous purchases to suggest related products or services. You might just get them coming back for a second helping. (For more info on nurturing your existing customers, see Tip #10 below).
Get Your Online Catalog Ready for Sales
Sure, driving traffic to your online store (or your brick-and-mortars) is a great goal for your social media strategy. But what if you could cut out the middleman and sell directly through your social accounts?
These days, that’s actually a pretty easy task—especially if you’re using eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce. Facebook makes it easy to connect your online store to your page to sell directly through your account, and through your ads. This even gives users an accurate count of your items in stock, pricing for individual products, and helps you deliver related products to your audiences.
Once you’ve got your online catalog built on your social media platform, you can start pushing out product-specific ads for your customers. Instagram even has a brand new “Instagram Shops” feature which makes it easy to tag and sell products directly through your IG posts.
Drive Foot Traffic with the Store Visits Objective
Selling products or generating leads online can bring huge benefits to your business… but sometimes, it all comes back to foot traffic. That’s where the Facebook “Store Visits” objective can offer a huge leg-up.
Designed to reach potential customers in the immediate vicinity of your physical store locations, the Store Visits objective lets you put a laser focus on foot traffic. Using a combination of localized ad delivery and location data from users’ mobile devices, this ad objective lets you see just how much of an impact your ads are having on brick-and-mortar visits.
While this can be a useful tool, here’s a quick heads up: it’s not foolproof. If your users don’t have their Location settings turned on through their device, or they’re not logged into Facebook when they visit, you may not see that conversion accurately reflected. The key here is to combine with your Offline Events, which can help you better tie purchase behavior to your ad performance.
Don’t Forget to Nurture Your Existing Customers
Your customer’s journey doesn’t just end when they’ve made a purchase—or, at least, if it does end there, you’re probably missing out on a huge opportunity.
Personal referrals to your business are basically the most valuable kind of marketing you can get for your business. That’s why the step from “customer” to “advocate” is one of the most important for your fans to make… and it’s on you to make sure they get there.
Consider following up with your customers post-purchase to make sure they stay engaged and stay connected. Consider asking them to leave a review on your social pages, or offering a return customer incentive for those who post about their experience online.
Or, if you’re feeling bold, start delivering some brand-focused ads to your previous customers. Give them a chance to see your brand beyond your catalog: show them your mission, your staff, or your plans for the future. By inviting them to be part of your growth, they’ll feel much more seen on an individual level—and way more likely to tell a friend about it.
Track Your Success For Next Year (And Beyond)
All this effort may pay off for this Small business Saturday… but what about next year?
For that matter, how can you even be sure your social strategy has even made a real impact this year?
In order to see success, you have to measure it. That’s why it’s crucial to think now about how you’ll be reporting on your progress after Small Business Saturday is over.
Because you already took the time to consider your goals (see tip #1), choosing your KPIs should be a no-brainer.
Focusing on brand awareness?
Take a close look at impressions, reach, engagement, and new followers.
Want to drive consideration?
Look into website traffic, clicks, and shares.
Trying to increase purchases?
Take a look at your goal completions and conversions, along with online sales through your catalog or website.
Some Handy Tools To Boost your Small Business Saturday
- Set up your Shop on Instagram
- Creative templates from American Express
- Free design tool from Canva
- Educational courses from the Small Business Administration
Small Business, Big Impact
This year is your year to leave a lasting impression on your audience—because Small Business Saturday might just be your biggest opportunity to drive local visibility and sales.
Follow these tips and you’ll be all set to succeed when the big day comes around… and well into the holiday season ahead.
If you still need a little help, we’re here for you. Just give our team a shout and we’ll be happy to get your social strategy, eCommerce, and marketing plan all set.
Small businesses make the world go round. We think it’s time yours had its opportunity to shine.
- Conor Snell
- Social Media & Content Strategist