The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce
launched a brand new social media shopping
promotion in September.
The Chamber invited the general public
to help promote their favorite local stores
or unique gift ideas as part of the effort on
social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and
Instagram using the hashtag #shopsaratoga.
During this past summer, the Chamber
collected stories and photos from more than
30 local independently owned stores across
Saratoga County, officials said. These stories
will be shared online and via social media
by the Chamber until Black Friday, Nov. 28.
The Chamber will add additional stories as
additional interviews and photo shots are
completed later this month.
“Using social media as a way to share stories
about your favorite locally owned retail store is
a simple way for someone to help that store and
your neighbor who owns it to be successful,”
said Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga
County Chamber of Commerce.
“We all know and understand that shopping
locally strengthens our local economy
and makes our communities a better place
to live. But now with social media, we have a
powerful tool to really spread the word about
our favorite local stores and to encourage our
friends, neighbors, fans and followers to shop
According to Chamber officials, there is evidence
that social media is playing a significant
role in retail marketing. Some 64 percent of
respondents to a national survey in 2013 indicated
they bought a product because of something
they saw on Twitter. Nearly 40 percent of
those surveyed said Facebook influenced them
to buy a gift. And, nearly 45 percent of shoppers
surveyed discovered gift ideas through online
“We will encourage our customers to use
the hashtag #shopsaratoga this fall,” said Mare
Barker, of Impressions of Saratoga. “We will use
it as well to promote special items and events.
While we certainly hope that this campaign will
help us reach new customers, it’s also important
to pay attention to the people who know us
the best, our existing customers, and to remind
them of what makes our store special.”
According to the National Retail Foundation,
40 percent of consumers begin shopping for
the holidays before Halloween. Likewise, more
than half of the nation’s retailers are likely to
launch a holiday marketing campaign before
“In the retail business, it is important to
provide exceptional service to those customers
coming in your door on that day but you
also have to prepare for the future,” said Doug
Ford, of Curtis Lumber in Ballston Spa. “Our
business and product mix changes with every
season and we’re not alone. We plan to use
the #shopsaratoga program to let people know
when new products come in and we’ll hope that
our customers will in turn share this news with
To participate, Chamber officials outlined
the following steps:
• Whenever visiting a local independently
owned store in Saratoga County, post the visit
on Facebook, Twitter, Google + or Instagram
accounts and to use the hashtag #shopsaratoga.
• Tag that store in the post in many cases or
simply use the hashtag # followed by the name
of the store.
• Post a picture of the store or the product
or the gift purchased with the hashtag #shopsaratoga.
• Store owners in Saratoga County can
encourage customers to tell friends about the
store and other stores they shop at by using
the #shopsaratoga hashtag.
Chamber officials said the use of the hashtag
#shopsaratoga will allow the Chamber and
others to easily locate the posts being made
by local residents, customers, visitors and businesses.
The Chamber will then be able to share
the online recommendations with their social
media fans, friends, and followers.
According to Shimkus, the Chamber will also
be encouraging its retail members to share,
like and favorite recommendations about other
independently owned stores in their communities
to create a virtual and free cooperative
“Using social media, we all individually
have the power to drive people and traffic to
our favorite locally owned businesses,”added
Shimkus. “With #shopsaratoga, we’re trying to
coordinate this word-of-mouth campaign like
never before to be sure our independently
owned stores and local communities continue
to succeed, grow and thrive.”