Earlier this week, Facebook announced a number of new features, primarily focused on how people will interact with the site (and soon, many other websites) from their mobile devices. (You can get a complete rundown of all the announcements here.)

Facebook Deals for Place Pages

Deals Come to Place Pages

Undoubtedly, the feature that will have the greatest impact on local businesses is Deals. Much like Specials on Foursquare, Deals will allow you to create some kind of special offer for anyone who “checks in” at your location through Facebook. There are four types of Deals that you can offer:

  • Individual Deals
  • Friendship Deals
  • Loyalty Deals
  • Charity Deals

Familiarize yourself with the different options, and start thinking about what type of Deal might work best for your business. Here are just a few quick examples of the possibilities:

  • Individual Deals: Offer a discount that can be redeemed anytime, within a certain timeframe or maybe only on slower days. (Who’s doing it? American Eagle, H&M and Macy’s are all offering 20% off with every check-in.)
  • Friendship Deals: Enhance the offer when friends check in together … that Happy Hour special could get even better if your customer checks in along with three of her friends. (Who’s doing it? TAO nightclub will add you and a friend to an upcoming guest list just for checking in.)
  • Loyalty Deals: Give your customer a free drink with every eight check-ins. Here in Columbus, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters and Cup O Joe already have an offer similar this when you bring back your drink sleeve. Extending that offer online would share the brand with all of the customer’s friends every time they go back to re-caffeinate.
  • Charity Deals: Make a donation to the VFW Foundation for everyone who checks in at your location on Veterans Day. Make an impact and drive traffic to your business at the same time. (Who’s doing it? Starbucks is donating $1 per guest to Conservation International.)

Every time a customer claims a Deal at your location, it will be published to their newsfeed for all of their friends to see. This is huge for your business, as it can only help spread the word about your special offers much faster — it’s not something that Foursquare is doing yet, and it tilts the location-based offers game in favor of Facebook immediately out of the gate.

How Do I Create a Deal?

Facebook has created a video tutorial to walk you through how to set up your Deal, as well as a Deals Guide for Businesses that you can download here. Keep in mind that you’ll only be able to create a Deal for your location if you’ve claimed your Place Page … so make sure you take care of that first.

Promoting Your Deal

In-Store Sign Promoting ReviewsNo doubt, the geeks in the crowd (raising my hand) will be looking down at their phones in search of Deals, but most of your customers might not even know that Deals exist yet, so you have to let them know about it.

  • First and foremost, tell your staff … they can start talking about your Deal with customers, and it will save a lot of confusion when that first taker flashes their mobile screen at the counter.
  • Make a sign. You probably already have sign promoting your brand’s presence on Facebook (and maybe some asking customers to Like your Page). Adding a quick blurb (“BOGO After 3 Check-Ins”) may be all you need to get someone coming back for more.
  • Mention your Deal occasionally on your Facebook Page, Twitter and wherever else you’re connecting with customers online. You don’t need to do this often (too much will get annoying), but it’s worth trying to see if what kind of response you get.
  • Consider targeting some Facebook ads to promote your Place Page and your Deal. Even if it doesn’t compel your audience out of their seats at that very moment, hopefully it will serve as a reminder the next time they’re away from the computer.

And we’re just getting started. Deals are in beta, so you may not have access to this feature yet. In the meantime, make sure you’ve claimed your Place Page for your location. If you can create a Deal for your business, leave your experience in the comments … was it easy to create your Deal? Has anyone redeemed your offer yet? Have you seen other Deals in the wild that got your mind going?