Facebook has just announced Deals for Places, a way for local businesses to attract new customers to their location and to reward loyal customers. Using the power of the 500 Million users on Facebook, customers who check in to a business tell all their friends and family where they have been, effectively creating a testimonial for that location.
Why would an organization be interested in Deals?
1. Build Customer Loyalty by offering special deals and offers.
2. Spread the word. A typical Facebook user has 130 friends, which means that if someone checks into your business (using their cell phone application), and you are offering a deal, their friends have an opportunity to hear about it through Facebook; word of mouth marketing on steroids! If someone repeatedly checks in at a business, or encourages friends to join them, what is created is equivalent to a testimonial or ‘reference’ in Customer satisfaction terminology.
3. Acquire new customers. Over 200 million people use Facebook on their mobile devices and are looking around to see what is nearby. By offering a special deal, businesses can encourage prospects located nearby to visit.
What kinds of deals can a business offer on Facebook deals?
Facebook offers 4 types of deals for businesses.
1. Individual Deals: Reward individual customers when they check in (sign in with their cell phone app) to your location. The reward can be a discount, free mechandise or gift with purchase.
2. Friend deal: Reward groups of customers (up to 8 people) when they check in together. This technique helps spread the word about your business more rapidly. If 5 people check in, the 130 friends of each one gets notified that they are at your business location and of the ‘deal’ being offered for groups.
3. Loyalty Deal. Reward the customer for visiting the business multiple times. This is similar to using a punched card. The business can chose what kind of reward will be offered and for how many visits between 2 and 20. These loyalty deals can keep existing customers coming back.
4. Charity deal: The business pledges to donate to a charity of its choice when customers check in.
An organization can only run one of these deals at a time.
Deals are flexible. They can have a start date, end date and maximum number of deals to be given out.
Deals need to be approved by Facebook (48 hours turnaround time).
How to get started with Deals.
1. Claim your businesses Facebook Place. Facebook is tracking places and as an owner, you need to ensure you have registered your place with Facebook. Search for your business name on Facebook and click on “Is this your business link?”.
2. Go to you claimed Facebook Place and click on “Create Deal” at top right
3. Enter the type of deal, start date, stop date, reward or ‘deal’, and the number being offered or the minimum number of visits to qualify.
4. Advertise your deal on your Facebook Fan Page, run a Facebook ad, and using other promotional methods both online and off line.
What to do next?
Deals is only in beta mode now so it is not available everywhere. At the time of this writing, Deals is only available in the USA.
1. Every business should claim their Facebook Place, even if the business is not located in the US.
2. US businesses can start promoting deals, only one at a time.Ensure the staff at your ‘place’ are aware of the deal and how to administer it. If your business has multiple locations, ensure staff are trained and know how to handle customer expectation. Test different deals and see what works best for your business.
3. For businesses outside the US, there are other services offering similar kinds of rewards. Check out
a. Foursquare has been the industry leader in check in and rewards.
c. Many many other services are available, varying by where you are in the world. Look up Location Based Social Media in your search engine.
Two videos that might be of value to watch.
1. What Business Owners should know about Deals ( the video could not be embedded in this site..click on the link)
2. What users want to know: Finding Deals on Facebook.
Leave your comments and thoughts on this new method of creating testimonials and references in the comment section below.