Judging from the Christmas tree that went up the day after Halloween at the department store near the office, it’s that time of year again – the two months in which giant chain businesses square off against local businesses to claim consumers’ holiday spending cash. The big names have “Black Friday,” but local businesses have their own day as well – “Small Business Saturday,” the Saturday after Thanksgiving, originally created by American Express has seen an increasing number of grass-roots support.
In 2014 an estimated 88 million people in the US spent $14.3 billion at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, and more than two-thirds of the US population were aware of Small Business Saturday last year. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 26, which means right now small businesses everywhere are prepping for the event – and so should you.
Here’s a few ways you can use Facebook to drive people into your store on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holidays.
Use a call-to-action button
Page call-to-action buttons bring your most important objective to the forefront of your Page, and on Small Business Saturday that means engaging with people in your community and encouraging people into your store. Whether you ask people to “Call Now,” “Send Message” or “Contact Us,” the right call-to-action can help you accomplish your goals. Page CTA buttons are particularly useful if you also sell online as you can select “Shop Now” as the call to action. For local businesses, “Send Message” or “Contact Us” are good choices. Our top choice is “Send Message” because when coupled with “instant replies” (see below) it creates nearly real-time engagement with local customers.
If you don’t have a page call to action button set up, it’s easy to do. Go to your business page. Just to the right of your business name there will be a button that says “set up a call to action.” Click that button to reveal this selection menu. Choose the CTA and you’re all set. You can change the CTA at any time in your page settings.
Check out Facebook local insights
Local insights is a new section within Facebook Page Insights, Facebook’s own analytics tool, that tells businesses about the aggregate demographics and trends associated with the people in their neighborhood. The new dashboard even tells local businesses what time of day the most people are in the neighborhood. Approaching Small Business Saturday, evaluate local insights to better understand when people in your neighborhood are out and about so you can open and staff your store accordingly, run hourly specials, and target online ads such as Facebook local awareness ads (see below).
You’ll also see aggregate demographics of the people nearby, including age, gender, tourist and local residents. So, if your business serves tourists or people of a certain age group, you’ll know when you have the best opportunity to connect with those people. Insights of this kind empower businesses to tailor their marketing to the people nearby and drive more people to their store.
Try out local awareness ads
Local awareness ads make it easy to share information with local audiences. Local awareness ads are targeted at people who are near your business. They also offer unique calls to action aimed at getting customers off the street and in your door. Consider using the “Get Directions” call-to-action button for local awareness ads to encourage people to shop small at your store:
- Send Message: Get private messages right from your ad in News Feed.
- Call Now: Get calls right from your ad in News Feed and speak directly to potential customers.
- Get Directions: Let people be guided directly to your location right from their phones.
- Learn More: Send people to any page on your website to give them information.
Local awareness ads are a logical progression of word-of-mouth. They increase people’s comfort level in trying something new because they see dozens of comments and likes from local customers that are associated with your business.
Turn on Page messaging
Small Business Saturday is all about connecting local businesses to the people in their area and vice versa. To offer your customers personal and convenient ways to connect with your business ahead of Small Business Saturday, consider turning on Pages messaging, so people can reach out with questions about the event or about your business in general. Then be sure to thank them for supporting your local business and let them know about your Small Business Saturday participation.
Page messaging settings:
Set up saved replies for quick answers
Saved replies are message templates that you create, save and re-use when you respond to Page messages, and we recommend using them to reply to frequently asked questions. So if you’re getting a lot of inquiries about your Small Business Saturday events, set up a saved reply that thanks your customers for their support and shares all the event info, including your store hours and in-store offer, if you have one. Saved replies can help you quickly respond to customers, while also informing people of the event and your participation in it.