Facebook Launching Local Deals

Facebook announced today that it is in the process of rolling out a local deals service tied with Facebook Places, Facebook's location-based check-in system. With Deals, a new application within Facebook's iPhone app, users will be able to view (and take advantage of) specials from area businesses.

Here's how Deals will work. Users can find deals in their area by looking for places with a yellow icon in the Facebook Places check-in screen. Users simply check in to claim a deal. To redeem the deal, users simply show the deal on their phone screen to the cashier. Users can also decide to publish that they purchased a deal on their Facebook wall, which will promote the deal to their Facebook friends.

Facebook will allow organizations to offer four kinds of deals:

  • Individual deals – discounts and free stuff
  • Friend deals – deals groups of users can claim together
  • Loyalty deals – rewards for regular customers
  • Charity deals – allow users to donate to a cause

The service is currently only available through the latest version of the Facebook iPhone app, but Android users can access it through touch.facebook.com.

Quite a few businesses (mostly national chains) are offering deals, or will be in the near future. Here a few examples:

  • European clothing retailer H & M is offering 20 percent of all purchases.
  • Starbucks will donate $1 to Conservation International for every check-in.
  • TAO and LAVO automatically add users and a guest to one of their nightclubs for checking in.

Deals can benefit businesses in several ways. For starters, deals help inform nearby customers about your specials. And when customers opt to claim your deals and decide to publish them on their Facebook wall, even more people can find out about your organization. For current customers, your deals can strengthen brand loyalty.

To create a deal, go to the Place page for your organization. If you haven't done so, claim your Place page by clicking on the “Is this your business?” link on the bottom-left side of your page. From there, you will be asked to verify your business through a short phone call.

Once you have claimed your page, go to Create Deal at the top-right. Then, select a type of deal from the menu. Define your offer by including a deal summary (i.e. two dinners for the price of one). Depending on the type of deal selected, you may also need to specify a way to claim the deal (“present screen to cashier”) and the number of friends and/or check-ins needed in order for the deal to be valid. After that, add details and restrictions. Specify the duration of the deal, whether the deal is unlimited or only available to a certain amount of customers and how often customers can claim the coupon (“once” or “once every 24 hours”). As you create your deal, a mock-up of your deal will appear on the right-side of your screen.

When are done creating your deal, submit it to Facebook for approval. It can take up to 48 hours for your Facebook deal to be approved. Once your deal has been approved, you will receive confirmation and information about promoting and editing the deal. For an overview of this process, please check out this video from Facebook.

At CyberMark, we can help you take advantage of this new advertising feature to get the word out about your business on the Internet's most visited social platform. Contact us at CyberMark to discuss implementing deals that will effectively promote your business.

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