Goshen News, Goshen, IN

May 26, 2013

Facebook can boost store traffic

Mike Gingerich
COLUMNIST

— The summer season is nearly upon us here. For many local retailers, this is PRIME TIME and the months of June, July, and August can generate up to 50 to 70 percent of the total yearly sales for their business. People are out and about, and they’re ready to shop!

With the technology capabilities and the extensive use of Facebook by mobile users, there is opportunity to have a convergence of technology and foot traffic for your local store. Now is the time to plan ways to use social technology as a valuable asset in boosting walk-in traffic to your store. Here are two ways local shops and retailers can use Facebook this summer.

Encourage

Facebook check-ins


Facebook offers the “check in” tool within the iOS and Android mobile apps, as well as on the Facebook mobile site. At the most basic level, local shops and retailers can post a sign near the entrance to the shop encouraging fans to check in on Facebook. The value of a check in is that the user can add images and tag friends in the check in. All of this helps the check in exposure go farther on Facebook to friends of the person checking in.

As well, check ins can be seen in Facebook’s new graph search tool so if a friend of a person who checked in is searching on Facebook for a local shop and your location is in results, the friend can see that their friend checked in at your shop. This is a simple and basic form of building trust equity as users are more likely to trust a company that a friend has used.

Check in deals are a more advanced form of a Facebook check in that can offer a specific reward for those checking in.

A Facebook check-in deal is a way to offer an incentive to customers to check-in to your business with their mobile devices. There are multiple types of deals that can be setup including:

Individual: Offer a discount to an individual for simply checking in.

Loyalty: Offer a discount or freebie for checking in a certain number of times.

Friend: Offer a deal to groups of friends who check-in together.

Charity: A check-in results in a donation to the specified charity.

There is a process of setup in Facebook to create one of these deals and it must be submitted to Facebook for approval. Currently only one type of check in deal can be offered so there is not the option to run an individual and a Loyalty at the same time for example. Facebook check-in deals are free to setup and they are different than Facebook offers. Facebook deals are to any business the United States that has claimed their place page and has at least 130 fans.

Check-in deals can help you engage with your customers, reward loyal customers, and grow your business.

Facebook deals

for use in store


This type of Facebook offer is one that a company shares on their Facebook page to encourage and entice fans and visitors to come into the store.

Different from check-in deals, the attempt here is to connect with customers and potential customers on Facebook, and then draw them into your store with an offer. Deals on a Facebook page need to utilize a tool like TabSite to host the deal on a tab app. Facebook has promotion guidelines that pages need to follow and third-party tools like TabSite are built to comply.

Friend share deal reveal is one TabSite App that can be used to draw fans in. Setup the tab and post information to the page news feed about it. Then when fans visit the tab and share with a friend (boosts reach of the promotion, more reach equals more potential shoppers), they are then given a message with details about the offer. Simply have them download, print, and bring in the offer to your store (deal download app) or have them come into your store and show you the deal on their phone.

Some companies are finding success by offering a deal on one specific product and then knowing that while the customer is in the store there is a greater chance of them also purchasing additional items.

The goal is increased traffic and increased sales. The means to this is using the social sharing power of Facebook to boost curiosity, interest, and awareness. The more an incentive is valuable, fun, easy to access, and “shareable”, the better you can reach these goals.



Mike Gingerich leads the Social App division of web design firm, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions. For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.