One of my favorite Seattle tech journalists, Monica Guzman wrote a piece this weekend recounting the different enticements that businesses use to gain social media followers. She describes free bottles of wine, discounts, and the aforementioned cup of coffee as perks that local businesses offer for social media check-ins or follows.
As I read how Monica got a free cup of coffee, I wondered if businesses that offer these enticements might be a little myopic to settle for a Facebook Like? Let me explain:
What if you could leverage a free cup of coffee for one of two purposes? (Let’s caveat this by saying it is SEATTLE coffee, embellished with enough soy, syrup and sweetener to mask the coffee taste and justify its five dollar price).
The first option offers your past customers an opportunity to see three out of every twenty messages that you send out. They have an easy means to share your message with 15% of their friends or completely ignore it. You can pay to advertise directly to these people now, too.
The second option offer your past customers an opportunity to see four out of every twenty messages that you send out. They have a less easy means to share your message with anyone they know, but it is also more difficult for them to completely ignore your message. You can encourage people to opt-in to option one, too (and you can still advertise to most of the customers in example one for the same cost).
Option one would be to offer an enticement for a Facebook Like. Option two for an email address. In fact with email you could record the ordered drink into your database along with an email address, and personalize your messages accordingly. You could manage a loyalty program through email (a la Starbucks Rewards). And there are studies suggesting that email may be a much more effective means to encourage sales from past customers.
Social media is trendy, but in this scenario email may be a much more effective use of that enticement.
Could you ask for a little more than a Like?
Here’s one other scenario I’ve talked about before. What if you asked a customer for a Facebook Like AND for them to download the geo app Highlight? (Highlight is an application that alerts you when you are in physical proximity to friends, friends of friends, and people who Like the same things on Facebook).
In this case, you would not only have their scant attention to 15% of your Facebook posts, but more importantly you could send them a note of greeting or enticement every time they were in physical proximity to your store. And the Highlight ecosystem is so small (An assumption based upon my experience and not actual numbers) that it could be a pretty unique marketing tactic.
The point to this isn’t to say that Highlight is an end-all, simply to say that a Facebook Like isn’t an end-all, especially when you are offering something for free.
What Facebook represents to you may not be what it represents to them.
Yahoo’s CMO and Gen Z expert Kathy Savitt articulated her opinion of Facebook like this:
“…we see it (Facebook) as a utility… The average Gen Z has three plus windows open at any time. There’s no notion of a home page. They typically have some sort of social networking site open, they typically have some form of entertainment….and then they have some form of consumptive behavior. We want to be part of those three that are open. That share of voice, and being part of that consideration set, is super important when you want to reach Gen Z.”
When you consider the web consumption habits of kids in high school and college, not only is Facebook simply a utility but it’s a utility with diminished importance. What are the odds that the chosen social network for any particular teenager is the same one that their parents and grandparents are on?
If someone offers you a cup of coffee for a Facebook Like take it. Because the odds are you will rarely (if ever) hear from them again.
But if you’re offering people an enticement for a Facebook Like, it might be worth considering if there’s a more efficient way to reach customers. It may even be worth considering how important Facebook is to them at all.