Are you a Facebook user?
If not, why not?
I would like to think that everyone already has some familiarity with Facebook. Nevertheless, for the three of four readers who have not yet encountered Facebook, it is a social networking site that enjoys more monthly visitors than any of its competitors. In essence, Facebook allows its users to create an on-line network of friends and colleagues who then have access to the content posted by everyone in their own network. As a medium for communication, I think it is the best communication tool available on the Internet and in many ways is more efficient than even having access to all of your contacts in one room.
But back to my initial question: if you are not on Facebook yet, why not? You are missing out on something big.
If you are on Facebook, are you maximizing your use of it as a tool to help you with your personal finances? Have you even thought of the ways that Facebook can help you to add to your net worth in ways big and small, or is Facebook nothing more than a gathering place for the classmates, colleagues and cougars you know? If you do not see the financial benefits of Facebook yet, you will over the coming year as Facebook increasingly will dominant the marketing focus of a great many companies, or so I believe. Here is where I see Facebook headed and, in some cases, where it has already been.
Last month, Starbucks ran a Facebook-only promotion in which it gave away coupons for 800,000 pints of Starbucks ice cream. With 250 million or more active global users, Facebook offers marketing penetration that no other consumer site is likely to match and businesses are quickly realizing that. Over the course of the next year, look for a substantial increase in the number of on-line coupon promotions and giveaways that are limited to Facebook users. You will need to “become a fan” of the brands and products that you like to use in order to ensure that you are likely to receive word of such promotions but once you do, the opportunities should be many.
Facebook Only Discounts
A lot of businesses are capturing traffic for their brick and mortar stores by posting discount advertisements that are available only to Facebook users. A local pizzeria has been offering a series of BOGO deals that can only be obtained by telling the server that they want the Facebook promotion.
A few days ago, Maggiano’s restaurant posted on Facebook that it is hiring a marketing intern for its Dallas office. With a potential audience of up to a quarter of a million users, Facebook offers tremendous potential as a recruiting tool so that businesses can reach out to users who already have an interest in the business or a specific industry.
Similarly, I read a recent article which boldly states that a good familiarity with social networking tools and a willingness to use them aggressively is essential in any job search. Even though on-line networking may not replace traditional networking any time soon, it is certainly an essential complement to it.
Street Team Activity
Over the past few years, performers have learned that the best way to promote themselves may be to let their fans do it for them. Street teams are loosely organized groups of people who support a particular performer or sporting organization. They can be locally based, as may be the case with fans of a local band. They may be nationally or internationally based, as with fans of major talent. Regardless of geographic reach, Street Team members are often rewarded with free tickets to events and other merchandise for doing things as simple as posting links and announcements on Facebook and other social networking sites. For more advanced Street Team members who have websites on which they can post banner advertisements and video, even more swag is available for assistance in posting such ads.
Businesses are also beginning to run a lot of small contests via Facebook (and Twitter and similar sites. Because participation in the contests may not yet be huge — 250 million active users does not always translate into users who will be eager to spend their time on Facebook business pages — winning may not be as difficult as in the case of more traditional contests run through sponsor-owned websites.
Because the marketing potential of Facebook is limited only by the creativity of the marketing teams who are using it, we cannot predict all of the wonderful opportunities that Facebook will offer to frugalistas who are looking for deals, giveaways and even jobs. That said, I am willing to predict that Facebook is going to be the marketing medium of choice for the next twelve months and that all businesses are going to try to be on the crest of the marketing wave.
If you’ve been reluctant to join Facebook, do it now. In addition to social networking and catching up with old friends, you will also find that you can have fun with it and save some money while you are at it.
What do you think? How will social networking sites like Facebook shape marketing and promotions in the coming year? What deals have you gotten by using Facebook? What opportunities have you found?