Last year Foursquare was the latest social networking tool to gain traction with the social media hungry public. Basically it's a mobile based application that allowed users to check-in at any physical location. Built with gamer mentality to maximise retention, users are rewarded with points for various activities such as late night check-ins on a school night, first time check-ins at a particular venue and probably the most revered of them all - being awarded Mayorship of a venue for being the most loyal and frequent visitor. Foursquare also offers venue owners the opportunity to market to Foursquare users by offering deals for those who complete the tasks required to reveal the deal - a very clever marketing tool indeed. The biggest drawback is the critical mass of Foursquare users compared to the 800 pound gorilla - Facebook. So it was little surprise that Facebook launched their own Checkin functionality late in 2010. What was even less surprising to me was when Facebook announced the new Facebook Deals which is almost if not identical to Foursquare's.
So, what type of deals are available for business owners?
I took the following straight from the Facebook Deals FAQ
Individual Deal: You can offer this type of deal to both new
and existing customers. You may create Individual Deals when you want to
launch a new product, get rid of excess inventory, offer seasonal
incentives, or simply get more people into your store.
Friend Deal: Friend Deals allow you to offer discounts to
groups of up to 8 people, when they check in together. Friend Deals are a
great way to build even more exposure for your business because more
stories are generated when multiple people check-in.
Loyalty Deal: To focus on rewarding your most loyal
customers, create a Loyalty Deal. These deals may be claimed by
customers only after a certain number of check-ins. Depending on your
business, the number of check-ins may vary. Please note that you must
create a deal that is redeemable after no fewer than two and no more
than 20 check-ins.
Charity Deal: Create a Charity Deal to make a donation to the
charity of your choice. This is a great way for your business to give
back to the community while adding a human touch to your business.
Although Facebook Deals are not available in Australia just yet, it's important for online marketers to start planning how they will incorporate this into client's social media strategies. So what will Facebook Deals really mean
to retailers and restaurants?
Firstly, they will be able to reward vistors with special deals or donations. This will help build loyalty with social networking clientele by offering real time rewards for those who engage with their brand through social media. Examples of deals by US retailers include:
Macy's: Offering 20 percent off select merchandise.
McDonald's: Giving $1 per customer to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
North Face: Donating $1 to the National Park Foundation for every person who checks in at a North Face store or National Park.
Secondly it gives brands the opportunity to promote the fact that people are visiting their store through the Facebook Check-in news alerts. When Facebook users check-in to get a deal at a venue, the check-in is listed in their friend's news feeds.
If I owned a restaurant or bar I would definitely offer a free cocktail or coffee for everyone who checked in three times. Have a few friends in the same circle check-in at my bar and guaranteed it will raise awareness of my establishment amongst their Facebook contacts.
Would you give a customer a discount in return for hundreds or possibly thousands of their friends seeing them check in at your store or restaurant? I would think the obvious answer would be "for sure". Now Facebook have even taken this one step further by
offering remarketing of Check-ins to friends through the advertising
space on the right side of the page. So now you can get two chances to promote that Facebook check-in to their friends but the second you will be paying for, of course.
Netstarter offers social media consulting including social listening for a range of businesses.