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Facebook Deal: my experience
Today saw the close of my Facebook Deal. I thought I'd share the good, the bad and the ugly!
- You get to say what your terms are
I am primarily a wedding photographer and I didn't want to hurt our brand as an exclusive, upscale boutique. So my deal was for a one-hour stylized photoshoot for couples only (didn't want families of 8 to buy it) - I spun it on my page as perfect for the anniversary shoot
- You get some advance notice. I made a request in May and my deal ran July 28-August 1 2011. I emailed my hosting provider to say I might have a spike in traffic. I got an extra 100 visitors/day in the San Francisco Bay Area, so it turned out to not be a burden on bandwidth
- You get to set how many deals you give out. I chose 25 because I didn't want it to become a customer service nightmare.
- When the deal is on, you get to see how many people "like" your deal, how many people have signed up, etc.
- It's actually good exposure so long as you control the beast. Facebook deals are in their infancy, which means that you're not going to get a million phone calls. In fact, I got zero phone calls or emails, and 5 takers. Not bad for what I was trying to achieve (awareness)
- You HAVE to set your terms. And that means, researching other people's terms. I had lots of extra clauses, like 24h cancellation required, you must check for availability, all that good stuff. But maybe that's because I'm paranoid about people abusing me (which they have in the past)
- Facebook takes 50% of proceed, and they don't tell you that outright. I spent 2 hours on the phone with my sales rep, talking about what I wanted to achieve, what I had to offer, etc. Then in writing, via email, we talked about the details, including legal details I wanted to add to my deal. After all that, she still did not tell me about their cut. Only when I went to check the final layout of the deal did it say "oh, Facebook will take 50%". Well, wouldn't that have been good to know from the start?? So basically as of August 1st 2011 they're modeling after groupon, and you're getting 25% of the MSRP (price you would normally post).
- Our deal was never *featured*. At the time, there were a bunch of deals that had considerable real estate on the deal page (full width images). Our deal's image was probably 5% of the size of the featured deals. That made it very low visibility - and we had no way to control that. That has nothing to do with the number of people who "like" the deal - we had 100 people who had "liked" ours, and the featured ones only had 37 "likes". So not sure what makes a deal featured, but you have no insight into it, and no power over it. So your deal may never be "featured", which means a lot lower visibility.
- Facebook does not give you a notification if someone posted a comment on your deal. That means YOU need to be on top of it and check very regularly to see if people have questions. I think it would make me look awful to not respond; but Facebook never tells you that you might have comments, and you don't get notifications. That's a bit tough to manage.
- Facebook doesn't give you a link to manage your deal. You have to click on your own deal and ONLY THEN will you see a "manage deal" link. I figured this out myself - no one ever told me (wouldn't that have been nice?)
- It's not clear to me how you're supposed to get the information from people who bought your deal. Right now I have names and coupon codes, and no way of reaching out to customers. That's pretty screwed up.
- I had 550 fans before the deal. I had 543 fans at the end of the deal. Not groundbreaking!
Facebook Deals seem to be a good fit for studios that are young and trying to get awareness. 100 views will NOT make your business successful, especially if you're already established, but it's a good opportunity to get the word out if you're small. Make sure you look at other deals for a while and check other deals out so you don't get abused. Stay on top of it and answer comments. Don't undersell your services, because that's awareness that could go wrong... (clients only wanting discounted services).
So all in all, not bad, but not the best thing out there. Hope that helps!!
Caroline @ Sphynge Photography
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