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Are deals still being driven by shares, posts, likes and other social media features in an era of Groupon and LivingSocial Super Bowl ads? Yes, definitely, according to Second Street Media, which held a webinar with The Washington Post last week to discuss social media and deals strategies.

Referrals, “like-gating” and brand building via social media are key to building up customer lists and pumping up sales volume, noted Second Street Director of Affiliate Success Matt Chaney. Social media has been an inherent part of deals success from the beginning,” he said. Getting consumers to “like” a deals site and follow them on Facebook helps work around email fatigue — or at least reinforces email offers.

Deal sites, however, need to follow up and provide something in return for the likes. Chaney cites Edison/Arbitron research showing that 58 percent of consumers expect something in return for a “like.”

NBC 7 in San Diego boosted its likes by 60 percent with a contest around “San Diego’s Favorite Voice.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch boosted its signups by 36 percent with a “Name the Rally Squirrel” contest. ABC 15 in Phoenix boosted its likes from 8,000 to 88,000 with a giveaway of guitars featured on the CMA Awards.

Webinar special guest Molly Urciolo, marketing manager from The Washington Post, said The Post’s Capitol Deal site adds 1,000 likes each week. The Capitol Deal has done especially well with “Get Yours Free” deals in which customers are incented to push a certain number of sales by their friends — typically three — so they get a free one. Twelve percent of The Capitol Deal’s revenues come from “Get Yours Free.”

Urciolo likes to post deals on Facebook the night before emails are sent out or post exclusive deals for the Facebook audience. She also takes the page seriously as a community, posting topical subjects on local sports teams or events and running contests or sweepstakes. She recommends adding new posts two times a day.

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