Yesterday's launch of Facebook Deals is big news for business. If you haven't heard, Facebook Deals is tied to Places, the ability to check-in at a location like Starbucks for example.
Despite location-based services being popular among tech lovers and social media geeks, there continues to be two beefs: the first being that they intrude on privacy, especially with the ability to "tag" other users who might not want to be so public with their activity; two, the services haven't really proven much in the way for business outcomes, mostly because the location based services just aren't mainstream enough.
With a half a billion users, Facebook aims to change that second point. Deals is going to be a big winner for both consumers and businesses. The service makes absolute sense, has a low cost barrier for businesses and consumers are going to love it. This much we know.
One thing businesses might not know about Deals is that despite it being a simple yet effective way for business of all seizes to get tap into real time customer interactions, this sales tactic equals more work offline.
Social media programs that are successful are all-encompassing, meaning they work in tandem with an offline components.
Why do you see Facebook icons on print ads? Why do you constantly hear TV broadcasters pushing viewers to Facebook for more content?
Well, it's because if you build it they (consumers) just might not come, despite what the voice in the corn field says. You have to tell people about your presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
If you build it, they will come...Field of Dreams
Consumers might not think to check-in while they are shopping at the Gap for example. Whatever offer awaits their check-in can't just live in a mobile device. It has to be publicized and marketed at all customer touch points — window displays, circulars, check-out advertisements, etc.
This is why no matter what a brand does online, there must be an offline component tied to it. And, with Facebook Deals, if it's going to be as big as the Interwebs say it's going to be, then businesses better start planning their offline strategies ASAP. It's going to be more work, but it should pay off in the end in terms of customer engagement as well as delivering precious marketing data.
If you own a business or currently own a business, how would you leverage Facebook Deals and how would you market it to your customers?