Social Media Series: Offer Online Coupons
A social media presence is a must. But simply creating accounts for your store on these sites doesn’t cut it anymore. Each week, we’ll explore a new way your store can enhance their online presence in our Social Media Series to make sure you’re taking full advantage of these interactive outlets.
Though they’ve always been around, coupons have been given a breath of fresh air with the addition of new group-discount sites. As a result, they are only growing in popularity. With students more focused on saving money than ever before, this option creates an easy and ideal way to achieve continued loyalty. Don’t limit yourself to the traditional clip-and-save version, however. Consider these new approaches to the classic coupon:
•Facebook Deals: With so many new students strolling around campus for tours or orientation, summer is a great time to establish loyalty with the incoming freshman class. Location-based services provide an excellent opportunity to drive nearby first-year students and their families into your store.
We’ve already covered some unique ways to use Facebook Places (Click here if you missed our post). Now, we’re taking a closer look at how you can successfully reward your students for ‘checking-in’ using Facebook Deals.
Unlike other online coupon sites, Facebook Deals is a great option to target the underclass demographic because your discounts appear on students’ mobile devices when they are near your store. And, because it requires no printing of a physical coupon for redemption, this promotion creates both an eco-friendly and inexpensive advertising option.
Currently in Beta, the service is free to use, though this is subject to change at any time. Better yet, each Facebook user has 130 ‘friends’ on average, according to the platform, creating an effective and viral way to reach both new and current customers!
First, you should claim your Facebook Place, if you haven’t already done so. Search for your store name and click the “Is this your business?” link located on the bottom, left side of the page.
Next, select the ‘Edit Page’ option in the upper, right corner of your Facebook Page. Click the last option in the column on the left, labeled Deals. From this view, you can create your Deal in a few easy steps. Of the four available types including, Individual, Friend, Loyalty, and Charity, we recommend you use an Individual Deal to start your store off during the summer and bring in as many freshman as possible.
Once you finalize the details, your store will have to wait 48 hours for Facebook to approve your Deal. They reserve the right to deny any that they feel do not provide sufficient value to users, so be sure to make your discount worthwhile.
Making the Deal itself is simple, but don’t forget to effectively market your new promotion to students. Luckily, Deals partially advertise themselves, because they appear on students’ phone when their near the store. We encourage you, however, to try other techniques to gain the attention of those who may not use the service regularly.
Start early and place an advertisement for the discount in any summer orientation packets your school may provide. Create yard signs or banners with the Facebook Places symbol, to gain student attention and instruct them to check-in for a discount at the campus bookstore. Hang signs in the dorms during move-in day or have student employees pass out flyers during high-traffic tours on campus.
Be sure you communicate the terms and conditions to all employees to ensure the promotion goes smoothly. Also, choose a method to analyze the results of your Deal and measure its effectiveness. Because students are only required to show their phone to receive the discount, we suggest keeping sheets near your POS where employees can mark off claim numbers to track redemption.
•Custom Coupon Tab: Your store also needs to focus on staying in the forefront of your current students’ mind while they are away from campus. Social media provides the perfect opportunity to connect with this demographic and continue to gain their sales, despite any geographic distance.
Creating a customized coupon tab for your Facebook Page allows you to offer discounts for a designated time period, ultimately driving traffic to your e-commerce site. By keeping students engaged with your store throughout the summer, they will be much more likely to continue making purchases regardless of their location!
There are many applications that allow you to customize tabs within the Facebook platform. We tested the most popular and recommend combining the use of FreeCouponMaker.com with the iFrames app for Facebook. We found this to be the most user-friendly option, and provide you with directions below. For more advanced functionality, try other widely-used services including Woobox, hy.ly, and for those with CSS and HTML knowledge, Wildfire App.
Start by downloading the iFrames app to your Facebook Page. Then, navigate to the Free Coupon Maker site, click create a coupon in the bottom left-hand corner, and fill in the required information. After submitting the form, copy the HTML code from the ‘Embed’ section.*
Go back to your installed iFrames app on Facebook and select the heading ‘Text or HTML code’ in the green banner. Then, paste the code you copied earlier.
Next, click ‘Edit Page’ from the profile screen of your Page, choose ‘Apps’ in the left hand column, and find the iFrames application. Select ‘Edit Settings’ under the name of the application and choose ‘(Add)’ to make the tab visible on your page. Here, you can also change the tab’s display name by editing the ‘Custom Tab Name’ box.
*You can use the link below this section to further publicize your coupon on Twitter or your website.
You can change your offer frequently, using this approach, to keep your content fresh and students interested. Try updating your tab weekly with new discounts, so students always have a reason to check-in with your Page. Always announce the addition of your new discount, and cross-promote it with your social media sites, website, and in-store signs.
We will continue to offer information on how to personalize your social media experience throughout our weekly series. If you have questions while implementing any of the strategies listed, feel free to post a question on our Facebook wall, or tweet us, and we will do our best to help you solve your issues!
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