Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday.
It’s a day that may not necessarily be on the radar of of many consumers, but it is one that is especially important for local small businesses.
Small Business Saturday is an initiative that was created to bring greater awareness to the small businesses that form the foundation of the communities in which we work and live. This day is about more than business; it’s a celebration of community.
Local businesses are more than commercial organizations; they are your neighbors, friends, and part of the same ecosystem that supports you.
Community Conversations are Moving Online
Every business, large or small, seeks to leverage the voice of the customer. Small businesses in particular are especially sensitive to earning the loyalty and trust of each and every customer, because this “word-of-mouth advertising” is often their primary means for attracting new buyers.
Thus, the seeds of social media marketing success are practically hard-wired into DNA of every small business. The challenge for them today is learning and adapting to these new digital technologies to nurture and leverage their local relationships to build their tribe.
Nurturing customer relationships is as vital ever – only now these community conversations are happening online.
Local Experiences are Personal
When you visit local stores you can access the energy and enthusiasm of not just the staff, but other patrons too. This the magic of community that Apple amplified with their retail stores that revolutionized retail.
Apple is one of the biggest brands in the world today because it designed its stores for a personalized customer experience.
Apple used their extensive creative and financial resources to take what is best about local retail to design an experience that engages buyers that are often fanatical about the Apple brand.
Personal care is what distinguishes every local small business. Yet, it’s a quality that Apple proved any business, large or small, can use to create an experience that feels personal.
And Zappos proved personal care works to build community even when a business is not local.
Technology is Making Business more Human
It is significant to note that awareness of many initiatives like Small Business Saturday would fall short without the power of social media for leveraging the collective voice of consumers. It is ironic that technology that once created barriers between people, and especially people and companies, now brings them together.
For small business to succeed in this increasingly competitive world, they have to develop more than a brand promise. There has to be an expectation of a friendlier and personal experience. That’s one of the hallmarks of small business.
The surest means for creating this expectation is not with traditional advertising or promotions, but direct experience. This is why it is so vital for local businesses to get buyers into the store. This is something that is more readily accomplished with content marketing than traditional advertising or promotions.
When I wrote Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business, I focused on the local small businesses that I knew best, having founded and operated one myself for two-decades. The reason for this is these local, mainstream, small businesses are ideally suited for using this technology for making a difference in the communities they serve.
I will be delighted if you purchased a copy from your local bookstore. If you happen to be near my local community of Naperville, IL, you may be able to grab one of the autographed copies still available from my local signing event at Anderson’s Bookshop.
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)