Consumer products companies and retailers have been watching the success of social shopping site Groupon, and now, they’re trying to generate similar success through their own social media marketing efforts.
Groupon is a site that offers local shopping discounts to site members with a catch. The offers are very good, but shoppers can’t get a deal until they get a specific number of other people to take that same offer. As more people join an offer, the better the deal gets. Groupon launched in November 2008 with 400 members, and today, Groupon has 25 million subscribers in 29 countries. With those huge numbers, it’s not surprising that most of the offers on Groupon attract enough users that they can cash in on those deals.
In recent weeks, many big brands have launched their own attempts at group buying and rising discounts, primarily through Facebook. Four such promotions are described below (via BrandWeek):
- Walmart: Walmart placed Facebook ads for its new CrowdSaver service offering an 18% discount off of a plasma television if they get 5,000 Facebook likes. 5,000 people quickly liked the Walmart Facebook page. Ultimately, Walmart will open the discount to all consumers, not just people who clicked the Facebook like button.
- Jack in the Box: Jack in the Box is running a promotion called “Be My Rich Fan” where the company created a virtual nickel jar and deposits a representative nickel each time a new person likes the Jack in the Box Facebook page. Over 213,000 people liked the Jack in the Box Facebook page before the promotion was over and the pot had grown to over $10,000. When the promotion ended, one of those followers won all the money in the virtual nickel jar (in real money).
- Healthy Choice: ConAgra Foods’ Healthy Choice brand offered a “progressive coupon” on the Healthy Choice Facebook page giving people who liked the page 75-cents off of their next purchase of a Healthy Choice product. As more people liked the Healthy Choice Facebook page (the number tripled within 25 hours of the promotion’s launch), the coupon got better until it reached it’s ultimate level of “buy one get one free” within three days.
- Barilla: Barilla offered a coupon for its Wasa Crispbread that grew in value as more people liked it on Facebook. Within a few weeks, the number of Facebook likes for Wasa Crispbread grew to nearly 8,000.
Clearly, if you offer savings, people will come, even if that discount seems small. Just look at the results for the 75-cent coupon for Healthy Choice! Even the ultimate buy-one-get-one-free coupon for Healthy Choice only equates to a few dollars! How engaged will those consumers stay in time if your brand doesn’t continue to offer coupons and other useful information? That part of the story has yet to be experienced. Will those thousands of Facebook likes turn into long-term, sustainable sales? Drawing attention and getting Facebook likes is just the beginning. It will be interesting to follow these brands in the future to see if they can retain the levels of interest they drew with their crowd couponing.
What do you think? Can you implement these types of tactics in your own business? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
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