October 18, 2014 By Suzanne Robertson

Forget about those crowds camping all night outside of Best Buy, Target and other large chain retailers the day after Thanksgiving. It’s time for small business brick and mortar stores to claim their piece of the “Black Friday” pie. Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday being held on November 29 th this year - the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

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First observed in 2010, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Theholiday was created and promoted by American Express via a nationwide advertising campaign.

Over 40 local politicians and small business groups in the United States issued proclamations concerning the campaign. Small Business Saturday was so popular in America, it caught on across the pond. The Small Business Saturday UK shopping holiday began in 2013.

Small Business Shopping Social Media Support

When Small Business Saturday was launched, it generated more than one million Facebook "like" registrations and nearly 30,000 tweets under the Twitter hashtags #smallbusinesssaturday and #smallbizsaturday. The "Shop Small" Facebook page now has over 3 million likes and the Twitter account has over 30 thousand followers. The Twitter hashtag #smallbusinesssaturday is now used to promote small businesses on any Saturday (not solely that Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday). The hashtag is used in a manner similar to #FollowFriday to highlight favorite local businesses. Additionally, some small business owners have run marketing specials throughout November to help capitalize on the boost in consumer traffic, as most customers in this time period are actively shopping for the holidays.

Neighborhood Champions Needed

Want to be more involved? You can sign up to be a “Neighborhood Champion”. Last year, over 1,000 Neighborhood Champions across the country used the power of the Shop Small Movement for their communities. Neighborhood Champions can organize events or promotions in their neighborhoods, rally local businesses to participate in Small Business Saturday and encourage their community to support and shop at small businesses.

Free Tools and Tips Available

The Small Business Saturday website has lots of tools and tips to help capitalize on the day. The site will help you create free, personalized marketing materials, get a digital banner, signage and more to help attract a crowd of customers. * * * Be sure to follow Small Business Saturday on Facebook and give SmartBiz a “like” too!

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