If you thought 2010 was the year of Facebook, just wait until you see what’s in store for 2011. Most of the social media and digital marketing experts I’ve spoken with over the past few weeks seem to feel that the internet giant will continue to grow in popularity over the coming year — particularly with small businesses.
In yesterday’s mail at Cornell Gallery (the retail framing business I’ve owned and operated for the past 15 years) I received an envelope from Facebook that shows where things are headed. The envelope contained a Facebook “Check in” sticker to be affixed to the front door of the business. The purpose is to entice customers to check in with businesses to receive a special deal.
With the Facebook “Deals” program becoming available at small retail businesses — and having Facebook marketing materials affixed to the front door of mom and pop stores — you can be sure that the social media hold-outs will become a rarer breed as the days go by.
When customers see that there is a deal to be had, just by pressing a few buttons on their hand-held device — and when retailers see that their competition is getting an advantage — the numbers of Facebook users will continue to climb. Look out FourSquare and Groupon.
For the retailer, setting up a Deal takes only a minute or so, and then needs to be approved by the Facebook team. That process can take up to two days, according to Facebook, but my first Deal was approved in less than six hours. There is currently no cost to the business for offering Deals, but I have a hunch that may change somewhere down the line.
In order to offer Facebook Deals, a business must “claim” its “Place”, effectively merging its existing page with a geographic location on Facebook. To learn what’s involved visit the Facebook Deals section of the Help Center.
I would love to know what other Westchester businesses are currently offering Deals through Facebook, and what effect you think this may have for small businesses and customers in the local area. Comments are welcome.