Big Break: American Express OPEN Partners with Facebook to Offer Small Businesses $125,000 & a Facebook Makeover

In the last couple of years, American Express established itself as one of the most social media savvy financial institutions (FIs) in the world. In both B2C AND B2B.

American Express is the FI with the biggest number of facebook pages and twitter accounts in my Visible Banking Facebook Watch (over 700 pages and apps in 70+ countries) and my Visible Banking Twitter Watch (over 1,400 accounts in 70+ countries).

In this post, I’ll focus on their newest social media initiative in the B2B space, the Big Break contest launched on April 21st like the 3rd edition of the Chase Community Giving Contest.

AmericanExpress-Facebook-BigBreakAmerican Express promotes the Big Break contest on its two facebook pages for small businesses, American Express FORUM and Small Business Saturday.

How it Works
I invite you to check the rules.

Basically, the contest will run until July 19th and will be divided in several rounds:
* Round 1 – Submission (now-20 May)
* Round 2 – Judging (21 May – 2 June)
* Round 3 – Community Voting (5-19 July)

Meet the Judges
The Facebook App
AmericanExpress-OPEN-facebook-BigBreak-ApplicationAs required under facebook’s rules, this contest relies on an application, Big Break for Small Business from American Express.
After only a few days, the application already counts over 13k monthly users.

My Take
This initiative demonstrates American Express’ intelligence in matters of social media. In those difficult times more than ever, small businesses have to increase their online visibility and better leverage social media to improve brand awareness, increase customer loyalty and turn their customers into brand ambassadors, and eventually increase market shares.

In the last year or so, facebook proved to be a great place for small businesses to thrive. But the vast majority of small businesses don’t have either the expertise or the resources to excel online. That is exactly the reason why partnering with The social network itself is brilliant.

I’m curious to find out how successful the contest will be: how many small businesses will take part? How creative will the contestants be? In case of “success”, will American Express consider turning it into an annual contest?

What are Amex’ success criteria? This contest is a cost effective way to gain good press and blog coverage, increase the size of their audiences on facebook, drive activity on their pages, increase customer advocacy… For more ongoing updates on this initiative, stay tuned on the Visible Banking blog and the Visible Banking facebook page.

To better appreciate how engaging American Express is, I invite you to check another initiative thriving on facebook, Small Business Saturday, and join the OPEN Forum, American Express’ active online community for small businesses.

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

Chase Community Giving 3.0

Top 10 Most Followed and Top 10 Fastest Growing Financial Institutions on Twitter (Global, Q1 2011)