American Express Open announced the launch of a new campaign designed to help small businesses utilize Facebook as a way to connect and engage with their customers. The “Facebook Big Break for Small Business” will award five small business owners with an all-expense paid trip to Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto, CA, for a two-day, in-depth one-on-one business makeover and a $20,000 cash prize to drive their social media strategy to help their business grow with social media.
Winners will be shown how to use Facebook to better market their businesses, products and services to their existing customer base, and to target new customer segments. Each will get practical and personal training on best practices for using Facebook Pages, Ads and Social Plugins, and will also receive a consultation about their current use of Facebook.
The Facebook training sessions will be documented and appear on Open's Facebook Page and Open Forum. Content will also include “How To” videos where Facebook answers small business owners’ questions on how to effectively market on Facebook. Before the five winners are chosen, 10 runners-up will win $2,500 in Facebook advertising to help them target and acquire new potential customers.
According to the latest results from the semi-annual American Express Open Small Business Monitor, nearly half of small businesses said they use social networking sites to communicate with customers and market their products. In 2009, only one in 10 respondents reported actively using social networking sites. Facebook is the most popular social media site for small business owners, according to the 2011 survey.
To enter the Facebook Big Break for Small Business from American Express Open contest, small business owners need to visit www.facebook.com/open and submit answers to a short questionnaire describing how they would utilize the competition’s winnings to better their business. During the first round of judging, 10 small business finalists will be selected by a panel of judges, based on the following criteria:
• Commitment to their business and growth;
• Overall social media need where Facebook could improve their business;
• Energy and enthusiasm for small business.
Finalists will then compete in a final round of judging where Open Facebook fans will be asked to vote for their five favorite small businesses to win the trip to Facebook and $20,000 prize.