Facebook wants small businesses to make an offer

The new Facebook Offers services facilitates creation of "coupon-like" promotions publicized or distributed to page followers, but there's a cost involved.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Small businesses that use Facebook as a central part of marketing campaigns will need to be more careful about how they make offers on their pages, now that the social media giant has rolled out its Facebook Offers feature to the masses – and is now charging for it.

The new service lets companies with at least 400 fans create advertising coupons that can be shared with specific followers – but now it costs money to share them, a minimum of $5 per offer (after a free test). There is no charge for consumers to claim an offer.

The amount of money that small businesses will have to pay will depend on how many people they want to reach.

According to the FAQs about the new service, there are several different preset types of offers, which can contain barcodes so that small businesses can measure the effectiveness of a campaign. They are: 

In-Store Only, which customers can redeem by printing out the offer email or by showing it on their smartphone

In-Store and Online, which means the offer can be redeemed physically or in cyberspace

Online Only, which means coupons must be redeemed on a Web site

When a consumer claims an offer, that activity will show up their timeline, so small businesses can gain a little extra notoriety by encouraging redemption. (Of course, people can choose to hide that activity, if they want.)

Once an offer is claimed, the details are sent to the person's email (they choose which one), which has the effect of starting a personalized dialogue with that customer or customer prospect.

Offers can be targeted by parameters, such as geography or language. A small business can discontinue an offer at any time by deleting it.

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