Recently, Facebook began giving away a beacon device designed to interact with the Facebook app of customers found near the location of the beacon. The idea behind it is to push a variety of relevant brand messages, offers, or socially based engagement when someone walks into your brick and mortar location.
Since January of this year, the Facebook team has been running trials in New York City, with over 100 business establishments taking part and learning to refine the features and engagements, to carefully balance relevance without becoming intrusive.
The Bluetooth device currently only works with Apple products, but Facebook has been hard at work creating apps that work across all platforms, making it friendly to users of Android and other mobile operating systems. The device detects users within a set distance and is able to send Facebook Place Tips: information that is relevant, time-sensitive, product-sensitive, or socially valuable.
To be clear, this is a one-way technology, and it does not allow your business to receive information about the customer, such as personal data, consumer behavior, or social engagement. Also, Facebook users have the option of turning the feature off, if desired.
How Will Customers See Facebook Place Tips?
In an effort to avoid intrusiveness and increase location-based relevance, Facebook Place Tips will appear as part of the feed of each user. With the average smartphone user checking his or her Facebook feed 14 or more times per day, a business stands a good chance of having visibility of its Facebook Place Tips.
For example: At McDonald’s, special deals for chicken nuggets were pushed to customers’ phones as they entered the premises, resulting, the restaurant chain said, in a 7.5 percent increase in nugget sales in the 26 locations involved.
Give a Fair Warning
One of the biggest concerns associated with the technology that supports Facebook Place Tips and similar apps relates to creating a Big Brother feeling that someone is watching. Many customers value their privacy and expect merchants to respect them.
Already, there are a number of ongoing conversations on the issue of how much is too much, as it relates to Facebook customer information being available to others. Support your Facebook Place Tips strategy by placing offline marketing collateral that alerts those who walk into your establishment that your business actively participates in Place Tips by Facebook.
Don’t corner your customers into feeling like you are spying.
Your collateral can be door clings, promotional posters or simply information available through the beacon. Invite visitors to turn on their phones and get them ready to receive Place Tips. With fair warning, most customers will feel comfortable engaging and taking part in your promos or offers.
Use a Unique Code to Measure Tool Effectiveness
How your customers will respond to this type of technology is unique to every business. To better understand what works and what does not, make sure each promo you push is associated with a specific code that you can track using your point of sale or other internal tools.
With time, you will know when and how to best take advantage of Facebook Place Tips, and if it even makes sense for the needs of specific buyer personas.
For more info on Facebook Place Tips, check out “Facebook Place Tips: Social Network Launches New Feature to Compete with Yelp and Foursquare”
Calibrate Your Beacon Perimeter to Reach Clientele Passing By
Many businesses, particularly those located in densely populated areas, struggle with the challenges of having a very small footprint. Thankfully, walls are not a limitation when it comes to setting the perimeter for your Facebook Place Tips beacon. Set your beacon up in such a way that customers nearby or walking by are exposed to relevant information and promotional opportunities to engage with your business.
Provide an Information-Rich Offer
Facebook Place Tips does not inherently tell customers that your business is nearby. When crafting the copy for your promotional offerings or informational material, make sure you mention your geographical location by listing the neighborhood or cross-streets, or by simply telling customers that they are in close proximity to your shop. Frame your offer in a way that triggers urgency by including time limitations, or indicating a limited number of offers on a first-come, first-served basis.
Invite Facebook Users to Like or Follow Your Business
Build a wider audience by inviting users of the Place Tips Facebook app to like or follow your business in social media. Facebook Place Tips provides a natural setting for engagement, with high potential for participation from those exposed to the message.
You can encourage likes and follows as part of a promo, or simply by creating awareness by telling users that your Facebook page is home to a variety of offers, promos, and other business-relevant info.
Go Ahead and Ask for the Review
If you want to create a two-way conversation with your patrons, then why not ask for the review? If you have reached a point in your customer experience strategy where you are confident about product and service delivery, then there is no reason to be shy. The beacon is a great way to ask customers visiting your store to consider submitting a customer review on Facebook, or using other popular third-party review sites whose policies are request-friendly.
Once the customer has engaged with your business in a two-way conversation via Facebook, you will have plenty of opportunities to amplify your brand message and obtain real-time information related to the needs, wants, and aspirations of your customers.
How do I get a beacon from Facebook?
If you are ready to request your Facebook Place Tips beacon, sign up on this page.
The beacon will arrive in the mail within a couple of weeks, and you simply have to pull a sticky tab on the back to activate it. Once you have activated your beacon for Facebook Place Tips, you will need to set it up through your Facebook account by following this path.
Once your beacon is set up, you will have a variety of options to help you push information that works for your customers. If at first you don’t see the desired level of engagement, go back to the drawing board and revise your offering based on prior learnings regarding how your customers interact with your business.