How Social Media is Changing the Game for Local Shops

It’s a big week! We’ll stuff ourselves silly on Thursday with Thanksgiving food galore, then work off those calories as we run through shops in search of the best deals on Black Friday. But we can’t forget another big (or little) day this week: Small Business Saturday (SBS)! This year marks the seventh SBS, a holiday that encourages shoppers to shop small and support the local economy.


Here are some quick numbers for you to mull over:

  • There are currently 28 million small businesses in America which, account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales.
  • Small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs, employing more than 8 million people.
  • Franchised small businesses account for 40 percent of all U.S. retail sales.
  • The index growth rate for new businesses rose from .28 to .31 percent between 2013 and 2014, translating to around 569,000 new businesses within that year.

In short, small business are a big deal, but a major struggle for owners has always been the cost of effectively advertising and marketing their products or services. It’s difficult for any brand to cut through the noise and make a meaningful and lasting impact on consumers, but it’s even harder when you’re working with a small budget. However, social media has provided a platform for small business owners to make their voice heard without breaking the bank.

Again, here are a few social media statistics for you to chew on:

  • Facebook is the most visited website of all websites.
  • 56 percent of people check Facebook daily.
  • 53 percent of people recommend companies and products on Twitter.
  • The average consumer mentions brands 90 times/week with family, friends and co-workers.
  • 64 percent of Twitter users and 51 percent of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online.
  • 50 percent of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social media network.

It’s pretty obvious that social media is the place to be if you’re looking to catch someone’s attention, but that isn’t all these sites are good for. Social media provides an incredible amount of analytics and information about customers and page visitors. Small businesses can use Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, or outside resources like Hootsuite Insights to gather information on what consumers like, who they are and what they think of a brand.

Additionally, social media increases website traffic and improves SEO. The more profiles a brand has and the more active they are on those pages, the more they will dominate search results. Similarly, links in social posts will drive traffic to webpages and boost search rankings as well.

Finally, social media allows brands to find out what competitors are up to. Using platforms such as Hootsuite, one can monitor other businesses, industry keywords and mentions of specific brands. This will help business owners find out what is going on within the industry and how to stay ahead of the curve.

So when you’re mapping out your plan of attack for Black Friday, leave some money in the bank for Small Business Saturday. These local shops and restaurants are working hard on social media to catch your eye and compete with the big box retailers. Share your finds online by tagging the business and using #SmallBusinessSaturday!





Erica Stonehill is a senior strategic communication major with a social media certificate. She is also the Executive Vice President of Scripps PRSSA. Follow her on Twitter @estonehill13

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