Cash Mobs: Local Boosters Plus Social Media Equals Success

cash mobIt’s a time-tested truth that the same tool can be put to both good and bad purposes and that certainly applies to social media.

In recent years we’ve read a lot about riots and other nefarious activities organized and promoted through social media. On the other side of the ledger, we’ve all enjoyed viral videos of flash mobs pulling off some crazy and wildly entertaining stunts.

The good side is getting another boost with a flash mob variation: the cash mob. A cash mob is a group that descends on a local small business. Participants typically come with $10 to $20 to spend at the business. A local bar or restaurant hosts a post-cash mob get-together. There might be prizes and other fun add ons as well. The effort supports the local economy and is gaining popularity around the world.

Cash Mobs on the Internet

You can find information on cash mobs all across the Internet, but perhaps your best starting point is Cash Mobs. If you want to check on the cash mob activity in your area go to Twitter and search for this handle, @CMyourcityname.

Anyone can organize a cash mob and often it’s the local Chamber of Commerce that pulls everything together. For example, in the Daytona Beach area, the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce recently organized its first cash mob event when local residents descended on the Sew & Quilt Shop.

“It is a grass-roots, community-led movement to support local businesses. With $10 in hand, chamber members will come together to shop in a locally-owned small business, at a set time, on a specific day. It’s a win-win all around: cash mobbers have fun, businesses make money and our local economy gets a boost,” Flager chamber government affairs director Gretchen Smith told the local media.

It can be a bonanza for local small businesses. When a cash mob hit John Reburn’s Appalachia Press in Roanoke, Virginia, he sold stationery, books and prints to 54 customers in less than an hour. Even during the Christmas season it takes a full day to rack up that many sales, Reburn related.

In Roanoke it wasn’t the chamber that organized the event, but a group of local residents who put together their own informal committee to promote cash mobs.

Spirits boosted

Not only do cash mobs put dollars in the till, they can have a positive psychological influence on small business owners, who sometimes see themselves as constantly swimming against the tide.

“There are months when you just wonder if you can continue and if (printing) just has to be a hobby and not your career. But this little cash mob was just so joyful. Even though it was just one night, it does make you feel appreciated,” Reburn said.

If you’re involved with your local Chamber of Commerce, or know other like-minded shoppers who would like to further the financial health and awareness of local businesses, consider organizing some cash mob events. You’ll find some great guidelines on the Cash Mobs site. You’ll have a lot of fun and folks will make some new friends in the process.

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Image: “Cash mobbers busy cash mobbing Pages of Hackney, an independent bookshop in East London“, by Ken Banks used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.