Black Friday 2011: Local Businesses to Get in on Holiday Sales With 'Small Business Saturday'

Black Friday will see millions of Americans clamoring to get big deals from some the biggest chain stores in America like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, among others, as small businesses that cannot afford to "give away" laptops for $200 get left behind. That is why on Nov. 26, American Express is promoting "Small Business Saturday" as a way to remind shoppers about local businesses in their communities.

Falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the biggest shopping days of the year, the nationwide "Small Business Saturday" (SBS) campaign is in its second year, having begun last year as a joint effort between American Express and the City of New York.

"Small business is the engine of job creation in the US economy," said American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault in a press release for the first annual SBS. "It is also among the sectors hardest hit by the recession. By spreading the word about Small Business Saturday, 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."

The SBS campaign helps "spread the word" for small businesses by providing 10,000 participating merchants with $100 in Facebook advertising at no cost to help create an online buzz for the Nov. 26 event.

In addition, SBS helps business owners with several free social media tools to further promote their business, including Google Tools to create professional-quality videos; Go Social, which serves as a way to get word out about special offers to American Express cardholders; and YourBuzz, a social media aggregator that promotes business on sites like Yelp, CitySearch, and Facebook.

The YourBuzz deal also comes with $100 in free advertising on LinkedIn as well as an additional $100 in advertising on Facebook.

"Last year, we saw a 28 percent rise in sales volumes for our small business merchants versus the same day in 2009," said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, senior vice president, American Express OPEN. "An all-star line-up of partners is coming together to provide the tools to help make this year even more impactful for small business owners throughout the country."

According to the SBS Facebook page, non-profit 501 (c)(3)'s are also eligible for the promotion.

The U.S. Small Business Administration says that 60 million people are employed by small business in the U.S. Small businesses also tend to better support underserved demographics than bis businesses, with more jobs going to minorities, the elderly, and lower education levels, according to a 2010 report.

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