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 into 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.
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.
Another thing that a couple of the existing deals are doing is making locations compete for most check-ins in order to “release” a 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 an excellent 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 into 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.
The possibilities are quite limitless with Facebook Deals. And start making those deals!