Shop Small; Small Business Saturday

How To Use Social Media to Help Promote Your Business and the Shop Small Contest

Social media is an excellent way to reach out to your loyal customers to let them know about the 2017 Shop Small® Contest and encourage them to nominate you as their favorite local business. The more nominations your customers submit for your business, the more chances you have to win a $5,000 American Express Gift Card and a free Valpak 12-month marketing plan—so what are you waiting for?!

The Shop Small Contest nomination requires some creativity on behalf of the nominator. Help your customers out by using social media to share information to assist with their entry. Here are a few helpful suggestions:

The Entry Form

When your customer arrives on the entry form landing page to nominate your small business, they will be asked to complete the following:

  • Business Name
  • Address
  • Zip Code
  • Business Type
  • Business Website (optional)
  • Owner’s Name
  • What makes this business special to you?
  • How do you feel when you Shop Small here?
  • What’s your favorite item or service here?
  • How does this business build strong relationships with their customers and community?
  • Photo or logo (Optional)

By sharing this information and providing images, you can help your customers submit the most complete, compelling entry.


The Shop Small Contest nominations will enter a judging period on or about April 16, 2017. A panel of representatives from American Express and Valpak will judge and score each entry as follows:

  • The compelling nature of the story about what makes this business special (50%)
  • Energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and passion about the business (25%)
  • Overall impression (15%)
  • Positive impact on the community (10%)

Authentic, genuine nominations can push an entry to the top, so encourage your potential nominators to put some time, thought, and emotion into their entry submission. Share stories about your business’ community involvement, customer interactions, why you opened this particular business and more, to help them fully comprehend why you should win.

Which Social Platforms to Use

The demographics of your target audience and the type of business you are will help you decide which social media channels to use most to promote your business to win the 2017 Shop Small Contest. Identify the social media platforms that get the most interaction for your business.

For instance, if your business is a hair salon, you might consider Pinterest or Instagram as your primary social platform, since your business is primarily visual in nature. If you don’t have the resources to devote to both, choose the one where you have the most engagement with customers.

If your business caters more to males than females, then Twitter might be your primary channel, because their demographics are male dominated. Facebook is the most popular social platform in the world, so you wouldn’t want to leave them out of the mix. Need more tips? Check out this article.


Begin sharing on social as soon as today (don’t spend too much time worrying about the “perfect” post) and continue until the entry submission deadline on April 15, 2017. Schedule your posts to coincide with when most of your followers are on each social channel. According to Coschedule, each social platform has peak days and times that result in the highest engagement. You can check that out here.


Consider using hashtags when promoting the Shop Small Contest and your business to anchor your posts about the contest and add clarity. Suggested hashtags and handles include:

  • #ShopSmall; @ShopSmall
  • #ValpakShopSmallContest
  • #Valpak; @Valpakcoupons


Inspire your followers and customers to nominate your small business by uploading evocative images that convey the spirit of your products and services that they can share and use on their entry. Be sure that your logo, if you have one, is accessible.

Additionally, you can visit the American Express Shop Small website to personalize and download free marketing materials to use on social media (and in your store or website too!) to help promote your participation in the contest.


Small businesses wanting to promote the contest through social media should include abbreviated rules per channel as shown below:

  • Facebook and Instagram:  No purchase necessary.  50 U.S./DC, 18+. Ends 4/15/17. Void where prohibited.  See Official Rules for details, including small business eligibility.
  • Twitter: NoPurNec18+RulesApply

Best of luck in the 2017 Valpak Shop Small Contest!

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