And so it begins. Free Facebook tools that will have to be paid for post-flotation, especially since the shares have lost 40 percent of their original value.
For those – and I’m one of them – who have never actually seen a Facebook Offer, here’s a clue:
Facebook Offers requires 400 fans or more
So, Facebook Offers and small businesses. Well the first thing you need to know is that, charged or not, this feature is only open to those businesses with 400 or more fans. So that rules out a large number of local businesses before we even start. If you have the right number of fans, then you will see Offer/Event in the bar at the top of any status update.
You can share offers with the people who like your page and then they can share them easily with their friends because there is a special newsfeed story created just for offers. When anyone claims your offer, this will also be automatically shared with their friends in their newsfeeds, encouraging more shares and claims to help you reach a bigger audience than you would if you just ran a status update on your page.
You can now measure the ROI better by including a code
In response to public demand, you can now include a bar code or other unique code so that you can track the effectiveness of your offer campaign.
Facebook will charge businesses to use this feature
News commenters recently said that it was necessary to run an ad campaign to encourage sharing and a figure of at least £3 ($5) was quoted, depending upon the number of fans a Page had.
However, according to the help page, the first time you try Facebook Offers it’s free, but after that a budget is required. The amount you pay is based on how many people you want to reach.
The advertising blurb says their research has shown that businesses get 3x the return on investment when people refer their friends and that’s why they think it’s a great way to get more people to your business.
How to create a Facebook Offer
Go to the bar at the top of the status update and select Offer. You can then choose whether you want customers to be able to redeem the offer in store, online or both. The bar code option is available for instore offers, for those online you enter the url of the website where they can get the offer, along with a unique redemption code.
The information you need to upload is the nature of the offer, the date the offer expires, a square photo to make the offer stand out, set a limit on the number of people who can claim your offer (if you wish) and you can then upload any terms and conditions.
Setting a budget
Next you need to set a budget, bearing in mind that the higher the budget, the more people your offer will reach. I could only see $5 in the example and this allowed you a reach of 3-6k so I suspect that it is like Promoted Posts, where the cost of the campaign will depend upon the number of fans your page has and therefore upon the number of people that it is likely to reach through the friends of those fans. The more people you are able to reach, the more expensive it will become.
Facebook help says: when you’re creating your offer, pick one of the suggested budgets from the dropdown menu, or set a custom budget from the Ads Manager by checking the box next to Promote later using another Facebook Ad tool.
Who can ‘Get Offers’?
As well as being seen by Fans and Friends of Fans on their PCs, Facebook offers are also visible and redeemable from mobile phones. After ‘Get Offer’ in the story has been clicked, the resulting email can then be printed out or actually shown on the mobile phone to the business owner to get the Offer.
Will Facebook Offers work for my business?
I think it depends upon the nature of your business. If you have a venue that sells food and drink, then definitely. Many people will try somewhere new if there is a freebie involved which is simple to claim. I think it depends how quickly those confirmation emails arrive. If you’re outside a store and they’re advertising a free coffee from Facebook in their window, who wouldn’t whip onto their mobile phone to claim the offer.
If you’re offering a discount for supplies based around a hobby and you have lots of enthusiastic fans, then I think that will work too.
Whether it will be as effective for businesses which offer more expensive items, I guess it depends on the nature and generosity of the Offer. Is it too good to miss?
With all these things, it is crucial that measure your return on investment. Use that code facility so that you can keep track of what’s happening and compare the takers against the cost of running the Offer.
But, at the end of the day, it’s no use to you at all if you don’t have 400 fans.
As we have said before, the most successful Facebook pages are very rarely local.