Recently some game-changing news hit the social street when Facebook announced “Deals," which finally explains why Facebook"s “Places" function unrolled earlier this year. Places felt like a Foursquare knockoff that Facebook incorporated just because they felt the need to not only be ubiquitous on the web but in the physical world, too.
The functionality seemed superfluous and essentially just acted as a way for people to brag about the places they were proud to be. In my stream, I noticed some initial activity when Places was unveiled, as people would check in to popular bars or restaurants, or if someone was taking a trip to California and needed people to know that they were at the airport and had run out of things to do.
Activity declined, as I"m sure you noticed as well, as it did with Foursquare. But Wednesday, things changed when Deals made its way onto the scene. For those of you who are unaware, Facebook Deals is essentially a way for businesses to incentivize customers to check into their locations. Its good to know that aside from SEO and other digital marketing strategies, there are other promotions that you can use to attract more customers. Lisa has written a more detailed post about the different kinds of Facebook Deals, but I want to take this opportunity to give a few first impressions of how brands can use this function to their advantage when it comes to marketing.
This one"s a no-brainer. By having your customers check in to your location, offer them something free and exclusive. Each location could have a limited number of freebies, but an unlimited number of coupons. The Deals that are already available are touching on this, with 1/2 off coffee or 20% off your American Eagle purchase. The idea is that these freebies will entice people to not only have it show up in their stream but also so they can brag about it. People love to brag about free stuff.
Competing Location Rewards
Another thing that a couple of the existing deals are doing is making locations compete for most check-ins to “release" deal for that specific location. This could work in two ways:
Regional businesses that have several locations compete for the most check-ins in a given town (i.e., Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is offering a free screening and a Facebook pint glass to the location with the most check-ins) and the winning location at a given time would get the reward.
National brands with locations everywhere could compete to get the most check-ins in a given store or city, and that location or city would hand out a deal of some sort. Say Baskin Robbins in Orlando got the most check-ins so all of the Orlando stores would get free ice cream for a day. It might have to be catered to suit the needs per capita, but you get the idea.
The whole concept of Deals is based on Geotargeting as it is, but you could take it a bit further. I think there is a great opportunity to use geotargeting on Places for business help each other. There"s nothing wrong with piggybacking. It"s an “I"ll scratch your back if you scratch mine" type thing and brands can benefit from it, especially given this new functionality. Stores can work in conjunction to offer a deal that works in more than one location. Say for instance if you check in to a restaurant, our check-in will get you a free drink at the bar next door.
Also, utilizing other technologies such as Twitter search, you can geotarget individuals who are savvy enough to hashtag their locations to @ reply and remind them to check out your deals.
I have to give Olivia credit for this one, as she had the original idea and I"m just expanding on it. I say “canon" in the sense of things that all fit into the same category. For instance, say you are a pet supply company.
You could reward your customers for checking in to places that pet owners frequent that show their appreciation for their pets, such as a dog park, a pet-friendly restaurant or a vet"s office. Check in to five places on a list, and you get a free rawhide chew toy.
This one could be really fun. It also can be strategic, depending on what kind of partnerships businesses can establish. Say you check in to several places in sequence, each time getting an individual discount, but then getting a major discount when you complete all the required check-ins. It would be a fun way to give back to customers who are loyal to more than one location of any particular business, too.
Now, Lisa discussed the four types of Deals in her post, but “Friend Deals" are the ones that I think makes the most sense. But if you stepped that idea up and offered the same functionality of something such as Groupon, you could not only create attention for your business online but on the ground as well. Imagine having 200 people lining up to get a free shirt or a coupon for anything in the store worth $25 or less. (I"m looking at you, Urban Outfitters).
These are just a few ideas I have as far as what brands can do with Facebook Deals, but I have others, but they are the ones I"m not planning to give away for free. These promotions are an effective addition to your SEO strategy. I"d love to hear how you think brands can benefit from Facebook Deals, too.