Yesterday Facebook changed the game for businesses who maintain physical presences across the country with the release of Facebook Deals. Suddenly, Facebook users have a reason to check-in to places. For those business owners who aren’t clear on what opportunities Facebook Deals provides, here’s a comprehensive guide.
How Facebook Deals Helps Your Business
The first thing many businesses ask when they hear about Facebook Deals is “How does this help me?” Thankfully there are a number of core benefits for businesses of all sizes.
Build Loyal Customers
One of the greatest aspects of Facebook Deals is that you can build loyalty among your customers. This is accomplished through all Deals in general, as the customer is rewarded each time they visit your store, as well as through a specific type of deal called “Loyalty Deals”. Loyalty Deals are represented by the relatively ambiguous icon pictured to the right. Don’t let its ambiguity fool you! As I wrote yesterday, “Users who check-in to a Place more than a specified number of times can get a reward incentive.”
This replaces the standard reward card that businesses had to pay to get printed in the past. Thanks to Facebook you can now create an instant loyalty program in a couple minutes. If there is anything that should be a reason for the vast majority of small businesses to get started with Facebook Deals, this is probably it.
The second major benefit of Facebook deals is the social distribution you gain from using it. As your customers check-in and redeem deals, stories are published to their profile about that deal. The result is that their friends will see when they redeem deals and in turn help spread awareness about any promotions you are running at your company.
How To Create A Deal
After claiming your business within Facebook Places (as described here), you’ll have to create a Deal. You can accomplish this by clicking on the “Create Deal” button on the right hand side of your Places page (as pictured below).
Next up you’ll see a Create Deal splash page as pictured below. I’m assuming this is where your deals will show up after you’ve created one, enabling you to manage any existing deals.
Select Deal Type
Next up, you’ll be shown the create deal page. This is an extremely simple page. The most important component of the page is at the top, where you select your deal type. As the image below illustrates, there are four types of deals: individual deals, friend deals, loyalty deals, and charity deals.
- Individual Deal – An individual deal rewards individual customers when they check in at businesses. This is for deals such as the gap giveaway where the first 10,000 check-ins get a free pair of jeans.
- Friend Deal – Friend deals reward groups of customers as they check-in together. This is the equivalent of the types of deals that would be offered to Foursquare users who generate a “super swarm” event. For example, check-in with 10 friends (bring a crowd), get round of beer on us!
- Loyalty Deal – This is a huge one. It aims to replace the annoying loyalty cards that sit in your pocket. Users who check-in to a Place more than a specified number of times can get a reward incentive. As I mentioned earlier, this can replace traditional loyalty programs.
- Charity Deal – This is a way for businesses to raise money for a cause by giving away money to a charity every time users check-in to their businesses.
Define Deal Offer
Next up, you’ll have to define the offer that you’ll want to give to customers. This will depend on the type of deal you’ve selected. Examples of deal offers include:
- Giveaway Deals – First 50 customers to check-in will receive a free coffee.
- Discount Deals – 25% off your order when presenting this deal to the cashier.
- Incentive Based Deals – Free sub with the purchase of two or more value meals.
- Donation Deals – We’ll donate $1 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma foundation when you check-in.
- Crowd Deals – Bring 10 friends with you (who also check-in) and you’ll receive a free round of beer on the house!
These are just a few types of deals, however the opportunities are limitless.
Specify Deal Restrictions
While managing deals and coupons can often become cumbersome, Facebook has created a system which automatically controls the duration of deals as well as any restrictions that you’d like to implement. There are three settings that you can use to control your deal:
- Deal Duration – Since Facebook knows that you can give away free products forever, you can place restrictions on when your deals will be made available. All you need to do is specify a date range and Facebook will automatically handle the rest.
- Deal Quantity – If you are giving away free products or steep discounts, there’s a good chance that you’ll want to limit any promotion you are running. The second restriction enables you to limit the number of people who can redeem a Deal. Simply type in the number of people you’d like to restrict the deal, or select “Unlimited” if you don’t mind how many people redeem the deal.
- Repeat Claims Restriction – If you wish, you can limit the number of times that a customer can redeem a deal. Currently there are two options: once per user, and no more than once every 24 hours.
Wait For Review
All deals must be reviewed by Facebook. The company claims that they will respond within 48 hours of companies submitting their deals.
Promote Via Your Page
Currently there are only three ways to spread awareness about your deal. The first two are the only ones you have control over. For free, you can post the deal to your Facebook Page or Place by clicking on the “Share With Connections” button pictured below. The second way to promote your deal is by purchasing Facebook Ads. The third way is more organic. As Facebook users walk in the vicinity of your store, they will see deals if they load up Facebook Places on their phone. That means some spontaneous consumers will end up claiming deals as they are made aware of them on their phone.
Track The Deal
The last component of running a deal is tracking it. Currently Facebook doesn’t provide businesses with many reports about deals that were redeemed. Instead, you need to need to train your employees on how to accomplish this. While Facebook may eventually provide more detailed insights about deal performance, all tracking must take place on your end for the most part.
Ultimately Facebook Deals is an extremely simple product to use. As long as you’ve claimed your company’s Place, you’ll be able to get up and running in no time.