Small BizLJust hanging a sign in front of your store, announcing to the world that you are a small business, will not automatically encourage a flock of shoppers to swarm your shelves and counters this weekend on Small Business Saturday. But it will let customers know that you are part of a movement that is looking to alter the “business as usual” Business to Consumer model.

The “conversation” has moved away from the merchant putting a product or service up for sale with the consumer having to take it or leave it. Through social media, customers can share what they like or don’t like about not only what you sell but also how you sell it.

Small Business Saturday affords you the special opportunity to be available that day to chat, mingle, interact and yes, sell to YOUR current AND potential customers.

As Connie Certusi reported in a recent article “88 million people have shown up to ‘shop small’ since 2010.”

That represents a lot of shopping power to tap into. More than enough reason to make yourself available that day.

Therefore, I see Small Biz Saturday as not just a day of bargains and fun. It’s also a serious day to cement long term relationships. Use social media to not only invite the public, use it during and afterward to gauge their reactions to you & your business. Use social media, don’t be used by it.

In fact Certusi mentions social media in her suggestions of “10 Ways to Prepare for Small Business Saturday.”Key among them are:

  1. Prepare your website
  2. Prioritize customer service
  3. Make your website mobile-friendly
  4. Don’t ignore social media
  5. Advertise online

Certusi hits the mark with her comment that “Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for small retailers to gain exposure, capitalize on increased sales potential, and foster a sense of community.”

If all you do on Small Business Saturday is hang a promotional poster, it’s no different than filling your Twitter & Facebook posts with self-indulgent sales content with no effort to interact or give value to readers. It’s not a day to stand behind the counter. Mingle with customers, give them a reason to emotionally invest themselves in your vision for your products or services.

Use Small Business Saturday as a launching pad to show how your business can better serve customers than the big ones. And then let your customers spread the word all year long.