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A New Way To Advertise For Local Businesses
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Times are tough, right?

And because of these trying economic times, customers are being extremely discriminating when it comes to spending their hard earned dollars. They tend to eat in more often now than they use to, and not frequenting their favorite restaurant quite as much. Or perhaps they're delaying those home improvements or repairs they've thought about undertaking.

So just like their customers, local business owners are always looking for ways to effectively advertise their business and get the best value for the dollar.

Advertising can be costly. For instance, a one half page ad in SavvyShopper, for example, costs approximately $300 a month. That's a lot of money to invest when one isn't sure of the results they can expect.

One advertising avenue that local business owners shlould explore is social media, especially with Facebook.

Facebook is the obvious choice for two primary reasons as follows:

  1. They are the largest social media platform with over 500 million subscribers and growing! They are expected to top 1 billion subscribers within a few years.
  2. The way that Facebook is designed is to use viral technology to spread the news about a particular subject of interest.

I recently stumbled upon a perfect example of this.

A young man from Georgia wanted to propose marriage to his girlfriend, and so he came up with an interesting way to do it. He decided to film a movie trailer and have her see it when her brother took her to the movies. The theatre was filled with family and friends, and a hidden camera documented her reaction while the trailer played.

However, some of her family and friends weren't able to attend the event, so he decided to post it on his Facebook account.

Within 48 hours there were over 1 million hits of the video. And today that count has risen to over 4 million!

So what is it about Facebook that makes it so effective?

Facebook states that the average Facebook user has 130 friends. That means that every time a user posts a link to their Wall, then that gets distributed to their "News Feed" and all 130 friends see it.

If any of those friends then check out the posts and "Like" it or "Share" it, then it gets posted to their "News Feed" and all their friends see it, and so on.

That is how something like the "Greatest Marriage Proposal Ever" can spread like wildfire over the internet.

And local businesses can use this same technique to their advantage.

Instead of distributing a coupon via print media, they can use a powerful Facebook App to market their coupon via Facebook. This is done through what is called a Fan Gate.

Perhaps you've heard of them, or more than likely, you've seen them in action.

A Fan Gate is a website that is either darkened or blurred out with a "Like" box superimposed over it. The "Like" box will read something such as "Click the Like button in order to ..." and if you click the "Like" button then the offer is revealed as well as the website. It's a very effective strategy.

And, of course, as we mentioned previously, when the "Like" button is clicked, then that link is posted on the user's Facebook Wall where all their friends can see it. They are also taken to the coupon where they can either bookmark the page or print the coupon out.

So, as an example, let's say that you a restaurant owner. You could create a Fan Gate that reads "Click the Like button to receive 1 dinner FREE with the purchase of 1 dinner of equal value". Do you think your customers would be interested in taking advantage of that offer? And then their friends might be interested as well?

Another benefit of this type of advertising is that it is a lot more cost effective. A Fan Gate can be set up for $40 and never expires unless you choose to do so. And if you want to set up other Fan Gates you simply purchase the credits you need to set them up. There are never any monthly fees or reoccurring charges.

So social media and Facebook Fan Gates are definitely a method of advertising that is on the rise, and local business owners need to be getting involved now in order to stay ahead of their competition.

Street Talk

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