Facebook commerce has been tipped as one of the biggest trends to watch in 2012. Despite some high profile brands (J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, Gap) seemingly abandoning their efforts to sell directly on Facebook, we are seeing some smaller brands experience remarkable success with their Facebook Commerce efforts. This is particularly true for those brands leveraging their Facebook community by making exclusive offers to them, and in doing so, converting them into customers.
There are three big reasons that you should be considering using special offers as part of your Facebook strategy:
Special offers are what your fans want
Nearly every study investigating the motivation behind users liking or following brands on social networks finds that access to special offers and discounts is the foremost reason. There is a disconnect between this expectation from consumers, and what most brands are using their social networks for: sharing content and building community.
While we are not suggesting that brands use their Pages as a channel solely for offering discounts, a genuine offer can be a great way to activate this latent potential for commerce. Mixing offers in with the usual content curation and sharing activities of community building is an outstanding way to both reward existing fans, and grow your fan base even faster.
Special offers spread, fast
Making exclusive special offers to your fans can be viral gold. Your fans are already presumably interested in your products or services, so a special offer can be extremely motivating. By requiring participants to share the offer in order to participate you can quickly reach a large audience of potential new customers who are friends of your existing customers.
Consider a recent example from Libreria Leo, a Mexican retailer of medical books and equipment. They offered their Facebook fans free shipping on their next order. In less than two hours 300 people had participated in the offer (the maximum number specified by the retailer), including 120 people who were not previously fans, and the offer reached a potential audience in excess of 100,000 people.
Special offers convert fans into customers
One of the biggest pain points for any business is demonstrating a tangible return on their investment in social media. Big fan counts mean nothing if they are not contributing to your bottom line. Running special offers is a great way to convert fans into customers, and existing customers into more regular customers.
How to run a special offer on Facebook
Running a special offer on Facebook can be as simple as making a status update with a special discount code for your store. To get the most impact you should also create an attractive promotional image to go along with this post.
An alternative to this is to use one of the numerous third party applications that allow you to offer simple coupons to your Facebook fans. Facebook is also in the process of rolling out their own Offers product. This is currently only available to some of their larger advertisers, several of whom are making extensive use of this feature.
For a more comprehensive solution for running and managing your special offers you may want to consider Wishpond Social Offers. This application was built to make it quick and easy for retailers to set up, promote, and manage their offers on Facebook. It also encourages fans to share to networks beyond Facebook, generating even more reach for your brand.
Whatever solution you choose, running special offers on your Facebook fan page is a great way to engage and reward your existing fans, attract new fans, and convert fans into customers.