After unveiling ‘Places’-its location based service in August this year, Facebook again made headlines last week by launching deals for businesses. Facebook deals are a powerful tool to promote your business by way of offering discounts and bargains to customers using Facebook places check-ins. The deals will provide users an incentive to check-in to Facebook places and will give businesses a way to drive traffic and build loyalty.
Facebook has over 200 million mobile users. Imagine the possibility behind the power of location based marketing on world’s largest social network! Users can not only share with their social network where they are, but can also avail of various discounts and offers being pushed through on their phones right when they are in the vicinity of a store offering them. Businesses can wonderfully use this unique platform provided by Facebook places and deals for marketing and promotion and use it as a great opportunity to build customer loyalty.
Integration with Facebook gave Foursquare and other location based services real value where check-in details could be shared with broader social network, so Facebook Places seems like a natural evolution of the concept.
Places + Deals –How it works?
To create a deal, business owners can search for their business in Facebook Places. If there is a Place already created, there is a process to claim ownership of it, and if there isn’t already a Place, the business owner can create a new Place for the business. They can then create a deal (you can watch this video) and promote it to their Facebook followers-those who subscribe to, or “Like”, their Facebook Place. Facebook Deals will also send notifications to the Facebook mobile app when a user is near a location offering one.
For example, if you own a coffee shop and want to attract a random passerby, all you need to do is send a discount coupon of say 25 % on coffee and pastry. If the person wants to buy he can just accept the deal on phone and show virtual coupon to your coffee shop cashier.
Merchants can choose to categorize their deals based on random passers by, repeat customers; Facebook friends and Deals can even be used as part of a charity drive.
Types of Deals
Depending on how you want to promote your business, you can create one of four different kinds of deals–Independent, Friend, Loyalty, and Charity.
Individual deals offer customers a simple discount or other incentive for checking-in on Facebook Places at your business.
The Friend deal provides incentive for friends to visit your business together and promotes more traffic. The rewards are similar to that of Individual deal, but only if enough Facebook users check-in together.
The Loyalty deal offers a reward or discount after a specified number of Facebook Places check-ins thereby driving repeat business.
With Charity deal businesses can market and promote themselves while also contributing to a good cause. Your business can pledge to donate to a given charity in exchange for users checking in at your location.
Businesses have control over when and how the deals work. You can set a starting and ending date and time during which the deal is valid. The number of claims for which the deal is valid can also be specified. You can also restrict whether the same Facebook user can claim the deal more than once.
How can businesses benefit?
Facebook Places can help fast spread awareness about your business. When a Facebook user checks in on Facebook Places or takes advantage of a Facebook Deal offered by your business, you immediately have word-of-mouth exposure to all his friends (an estimated average of 130). Imagine the snowball effect that can result if those 130 act on the deal as well and create an exponential marketing for your business.
You can, then, encourage customers to share their experience with your business, and engage them to promote the business for you by providing special rewards or discounts for customers who post photos or reviews of the business, or share Facebook and Twitter updates from the business with their friends.
Thus deals can help businesses connect with customers and become a larger part of customer conversations even at awareness level something thought of as impossible with traditional marketing.
What it means is that you can use Facebook extremely well to promote your brand online. Eventually, you can use it to gather and analyze data on your customers.
Delivery is an important aspect of online marketing. Make sure whichever deal you create or however you market it; you are prepared to deliver on it before. If you are offering a discount or a gift to reward customers, make sure there are enough items on hand to accommodate the deal. It is also important to make your employees aware of Facebook Places and Facebook Deals, and make sure they understand the deal fully and know if it is active so they are prepared as well.
Some of the deals already in place for launch include:
Facebook Deals is in beta stage now. It is first being rolled out to 20,000 businesses in the U.S. Other businesses will be able to set up a deal from their Facebook page in the coming days. Other countries will follow next.
We hope you will find this video published by Mari Smith explaining Facebook Places for businesses useful in understanding the concept, click here to see the video.
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