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Social Media and Coupons: Everything Retailers Need to Know

Wednesday January 18th, 2017

Once synonymous with newspapers, magazines, and postcards, coupons are now frequently shared and accessed via social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. As a business owner, it’s important that you recognize this fundamental shift and study the rise of social coupons if you want your business to stay on the forefront of progressive marketing and advertising.

 The Social Media-Coupon Relationship

 When you look at where digital coupons have come from and where we are today, it’s clear that social media had – and continues to have – a major impact on how coupons are accessed, shared, and used.

Think back to a time before social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest ruled the internet. Websites such as were kings of digital coupons. They controlled the curation and distribution of coupons. If a company – physical retail or ecommerce – wanted to share an online coupon, they needed to either partner with one of these websites or post the deal on their own website in the hopes that it would generate enough traffic to be successful.

Now, fast-forward to the proliferation of social networking and you begin to see just how quickly and significantly the digital coupon industry has changed. Now, all businesses have to do is share a coupon with their followers, ask their customers to do the same, and their deal is in front of thousands, or even millions of savvy consumers. This viral nature of social media means digital coupons are more powerful than ever.

Tips for Creatively Using Coupons on Social Media

 The issue is that most businesses don’t understand how to effectively use social media when it comes to coupons. This is unfortunate, as it means the large majority of brands aren’t maximizing sales. Let’s review some effective tips and techniques to ensure you don’t end up in this category.

1. Understand Your Followers


According to a Morpace study provided to eMarketer, 37 percent of Facebook users join fan pages for the purpose of receiving discount offers and/or coupons. This is the second most popular reason for following brands on social media, just behind “to let my friends know what products I support.”

What does this tell you? It says that approximately one out of every three of your Facebook followers want and expect coupons to be shared on your page. That’s important to recognize and understand. “Coupons remain a leading driver of brand interactions in social networks,” says Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer Senior Analyst. “At the same time, they can be one of the trickiest social media tactics to pull off.”

That’s why it’s so important to understand who your followers are and what they’re looking for. Whether directly or inadvertently, the majority of your social media followers are seeking out coupons, offers, and deals. Unless you’re giving them these offers, you’re failing to live up to these expectations.

2. Advertising Lets You Expand Your Reach


While you can share coupons through your networks, you may consider investing in paid advertising if you’re trying to reach a larger audience. Facebook, in particular, is extremely conducive to advertising coupons. You can target users based on sex, age, location, buying habits, hobbies and interests, income, and any number of other data points. This allows you to go after specific customers that you know will be receptive to your coupon. Other networking sites have paid advertising options, too, but Facebook is by far the most effective platform.


3. Be Prepared for an Influx of Orders


If you’re going to share coupons on social media, you have to be prepared for an influx of sales. While you may only share the coupon with your 500 followers, a couple of people may re-share the coupon and present it to thousands of additional consumers. If you aren’t careful, this could wipe out your entire inventory.

For ecommerce sites in particular, it’s important to set aside a specific number of units for the sale and to protect the others. This allows you to reassess the situation after the initial burst of sales comes through. You may then choose to release more inventory or end the coupon offer.

4. Use Coupons to Increase Followers

Not only is social media an effective tool for sharing coupons, but sharing coupons is an effective tool for increasing your social media presence. A favorite method for some brands is to incrementally offer deals as more users follow your page. For example, you may send out an announcement that says you’ll offer 50 percent off XYZ product when your Twitter follower count hits 1,000 users. If it hits 1,500 users within 24 hours, you’ll then offer 60 percent off. Little campaigns like these allow you to simultaneously increase sales numbers and follower counts at virtually no cost.

5. Avoid Overwhelming Followers

 While most of your social followers want coupons, there’s a fine line between offering too many deals and not offering enough. If you’re sending out multiple, insignificant coupons every day, your users will eventually become numb to your offers. Instead of being persuaded to make a purchase based on a coupon they see, they wait until their ready to purchase something and then check to see if a coupon exists.

You don’t want to oversaturate your users with coupons. Offer generous deals on your social media pages 25-30 percent of the time. You want to do it just enough to let users know that you offer deals, but not so frequently that they come to expect them.


Contact Mandlik & Rhodes Today

At Mandlik & Rhodes, we’ve been in the business of offering high quality coupon processing solutions since 1995. Our services are characterized by precision, honesty, and careful attention to detail. If these are things that your brand believes in, we would love to spend time discussing strategies and opportunities with your team.

For additional regarding our clearinghouse services, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We would be happy to tell you more about our patented technology and our services. We take care of your coupons so you can take care of your customers!