Five Small Businesses Win Digital Facelift from American Express OPEN at Facebook

New York (PRESS RELEASE – July 27, 2011) – The voting is over and the results are in. Five small businesses are headed to Palo Alto, CA to get personal tutorials to learn how to make social media work for them at Facebook. Out of more than 11,000 entries, five winners of the “Facebook Big Break for Small Business” contest can rest easy knowing they are headed to Facebook with $20,000 to help them optimize their social media presence and grow.

The winners are:


American Express OPEN and Facebook teamed up to create the “Facebook Big Break for Small Business” contest to give five small business owners access to social media experts. Through one-on-one consultations in a classroom setting, the five winners will receive valuable insights that they can implement in real-time while they’re at Facebook. American Express will also package lessons from the contest to help educate other small businesses on how to better leverage Facebook for their marketing efforts. The content will be available on OPEN Forum, American Express’ award-winning online resource and networking site for small business owners.

“Social media marketing is rapidly moving from nice-to-have to must-have for small businesses,” said Julie Fajgenbaum, Vice President, Brand and Social Media, American Express OPEN. “These five businesses have great potential and will make excellent case studies for the millions of small business owners out there who are looking to accelerate their social media marketing efforts in order to grow.”

“We’ve always been committed to small businesses, and we’re inspired by their initiative to adopt Facebook and use it to find new customers, grow new communities and bring people into their stores,” said Adele Cooper, Director of Global Customer Marketing and Communications at Facebook. “Any company, big or small can use Facebook to be more social and harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing at scale.”

The Specifics

Each winner will be tutored on how to maximize the power of Facebook to better market their businesses, products and services to their existing customer base, and 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 consultation about their current use of Facebook. All expenses will be covered.

To enter the “Facebook Big Break for Small Business” contest, small business owners submitted answers to a short questionnaire describing how they would utilize the competition’s winnings to better their business. From the more than 11,000 entrants, a panel of judges including Laura Fink of American Express, Adele Cooper of Facebook, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop and John Battelle of Federated Media chose ten finalists based on the following criteria: commitment to their business and growth; overall social media need where Facebook could improve their business; and energy and enthusiasm for small business. Fans of American Express OPEN’s Facebook page then voted for their five favorite small businesses based on videos of the business owners explaining why they deserved to win. All ten finalists won $2,500 in Facebook advertising to help them target and acquire new customers.

American Express and Facebook

Earlier this year, American Express OPEN and Facebook teamed to offer OPEN Cardmembers the ability to pay for Facebook Ads using Membership Rewards points, marking the first time any company has connected a rewards program to advertising spend in this way. Cardmembers can redeem Membership Rewards points for Facebook Ads through American Express OPEN’s Facebook Page at or the Membership Rewards program website at

American Express OPEN also unveiled a first-of-its-kind marketing tool, “Go Social,” for small business merchants to create and distribute coupon-less cardmember offers for mobile users of Facebook Places and other location-based social networks, this past week. The announcement was a part of American Express’ “Link, Like, Love,” the unique application on Facebook that delivers cardmember deals and experiences based on the likes, interests and social connections of cardmembers and their Facebook friends.

In 2010, American Express and Facebook partnered on Small Business Saturday, a day designed to recognize the importance of shopping at small, independently owned businesses. Small Business Saturday falls on the day after Black Friday. Small Business Saturday 2011 will be held on November 26.

About American Express OPEN

American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States and supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners and online tools and services designed to help improve profitability.


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