Black Friday, Meet Small Business Saturday

by Kevin Casey on November 8, 2010
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Mark a new date on your calendar for the consumer phenomenon known as post-Thanksgiving shopping: Small Business Saturday.

American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault launched the campaign today alongside New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg after hinting at it last week. The program, led by American Express OPEN and supported by a variety of organizations including Facebook, aims to produce a shopping surge at local businesses on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day. In doing so, Chenault said in statement, “We can help raise awareness about the critical role small businesses play in cities and towns across the country at a time when they need support the most.”

Social media will be a key cog in the program’s marketing machine, and American Express will run a national advertising campaign around the event.

For starters, beginning today, American Express is offering $100 in free Facebook advertising to 10,000 business owners who sign up online. The ads will be tailored to the business and its location, based on user information.

Consumers get an incentive to participate, too: a $25 statement credit for registering their AMEX card and spending at least that amount at an eligible independently owned business on Nov. 27. (Additional terms and conditions, of course, apply.) The company will also donate $1 to Girls Inc. — to promote entrepreneurship among young women — for each “like” the program receives on its Facebook page, up to $500,000.

The day after Thanksgiving — known as “Black Friday” — has traditionally kicked off the holiday retail season with major sales and hoopla. In recent years, “Cyber Monday” has entered the fray as the online version of the brick-and-mortar event. Now it looks like we’ve got another cute date to remember.

Kevin Casey is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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