It’s always been quite a challenge to offer coupons or special offers via Facebook, you can of course create an image and ask people to show it to you on your phone, create a custom tab with a link to a download but it’s not simple. I was delighted when last week Facebook finally released their ‘Offers’ product. Now page owners can simply set up an offer and for a small fee it will travel around Facebook as users avail of it. Each time someone claims your offer it is posted to the news feeds of those who follow them. I thought I’d give it a bit of a road test.
Setting up an offer
Getting started is quite straightforward and your first offer is free so you have a chance to play. At the moment you need to have a minimum of 400 Likes in order to run an offer.
– Click on ‘Offer,Event+’ in the status update bar on your page
– Choose ‘Offer’
– Choose the type of offer you want to set up
‘In Store Only’ means that people will simply bring the email they receive from Facebook in to store or show you it on their mobile device in order to redeem it. You have the option of integrating a bar code into the offer to work with your cash register if necessary.
‘In Store & Online’ This allows customers to either redeem in store or to add a redemption code to a website in order to avail of your offer. You will be prompted to add a web address and a code if you go for this option.
‘Online Only’ As above but this only works on your website. You will need to add a code that people can input into your website to avail of the offer.
– Add a short description of your offer. Try and make this short, to the point but compelling.
– Next choose the number of offers you want to make available
I would highly recommend you limit the offer to a certain amount of customers so that you know you are able to honour all those who avail of it. Look at this offer from a Dublin hotel. I wonder are they going to be able to honour all 21,000+ of them.
– Add an expiry date for the offer. It’s unclear as yet if this is the expiry date for the offer being promoted on Facebook or the expiry date of redeeming it. I took it to be the expiry on promotion.
– Next add clear terms and conditions. Think about who isn’t eligable for the offer, if it needs to be redeemed within a certain time period or if there are any times that it can’t be claimed.
– Now add a thumbnail image for your offer. This should be eye-catching so that your offer stands out from all the others appearing on news feeds.
– The image has to be square so using an image taken on Instagram works really well.
– Finally you need to set a budget, your first offer is free but Facebook takes you through the process all the same.
– Click ‘Share’ to publish your offer to your Timeline
Here’s mine once published
If you find that you have made a mistake, if too many people are claiming your offer or if you just change your mind it’s easy to stop it and delete it from your wall. Just click on the pencil on the top right hand side of your post.
What I learnt
1. Offers are great for tangible things. The ones I’ve seen shared most are packages like the hotel one or something offered for free like a cookie with a coffee. Discounts can work but are less aspirational and in the age of Groupon I think they have to be significant. Facebook recommends a minimum of 20%.
2. Offers are popular at the moment and sell out quickly. My 10 were gone in a couple of hours. This is great but will it last. I remember a similar flurry of activity when ‘Questions’ first appeared but these days it can be hard to get any responses to a question posted via the questions app.
3. I know I’ve said it above but be careful that you don’t offer more than you can fulfil!
4. I don’t know who availed of my offer and there’s no facility to find out. For in store offers this could prove tricky if you want to keep track of who has redeemed them. For that reason in future I will use the ‘Online’ option every time. Even if you don’t have a website or aren’t able to update it easily it’s simple to set up a Form via Google docs and direct people there to redeem the offer. The advantage of this method is that you are able to collect more information about your new customers in order to give them more value. For example, it would be great for me to get people to leave me links to their websites and social media pages so that I can tailor the sessions before we meet.
5. If it’s a really limited offer, as mine was, consider adding it to the main text. I chose to only offer 10 consultations and by putting this in the main description it hopefully encouraged people to redeem quickly and created a bit of urgency to take advantage of it.
6. Budget! I was offering free social media consults. This is a lead generation tool for me so €8 for 10 qualified leads seemed like good value. However you need to consider what your entire offer is costing you. Divide €8 (or whatever budget you go for) by the number of deals you are offering and then add how much the discount is costing you. Obviously if you are still selling above your break even point the offer may not cost you anything apart from the Facebook budget so it could well be a very cost effective way to gain new customers.
If you’ve tried Facebook offers I’d be really interested in hearing about your experiences so leave your stories in the comments.