Lesser-known, though far more sane, is Small Business Saturday, a day recognizing the importance of the many small and midsize businesses that help to fuel the U.S. economy. Twitter recently announced that it is doing more than just paying lip service to small businesses. The social networking giant is offering up to $1 million in ad credits to 10,000 qualifying companies in conjunction with Small Business Saturday.
Of course, this promotion isn't only out of the goodness of Twitter's heart -- it stands to grow its advertising base substantially by bringing these small businesses into its fold. And, any successes these companies demonstrate with Twitter ads will surely fuel the SMB advertising and marketing fire.
To qualify for the credits, companies must be based in the United States and already have a company presence on Twitter. However, they cannot be a current advertiser. Twitter has said that the first 10,000 eligible businesses that apply to the program will receive as much as $100 each in credits.
Credits can be used for such programs as Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.
"With Promoted Tweets, small businesses can extend the reach of their Tweets to a broader audience," said Richard Alfonsi , Twitter VP of global online sales, in a blog about the new program. "Brooklyn-based clothing store Alter (@AlterBrooklyn) used them to increase awareness of new products and drove sales."
Promoted Accounts "can also speed up the growth of a loyal follower base for a small business," writes Alfonsi. "Whipped Bakeshop (@WhippedBakeshop) in Philadelphia used Promoted Accounts to grow followers and reached hundreds of new, local customers in just a few weeks."
Small Business Saturday started in 2010, with American Express being one of its biggest supporters. Support for small businesses in general, and on Small Business Saturday in particular, has spread in large part through social media.
For more information on Small Business Saturday, check out #shopsmall on Twitter or the official Facebook page for the movement.
Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.
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