The social site tests a small mailing of decals, while offering establishments a $25 credit for Facebook ads. Is it also a sign that Foursquare is in the social giant's cross-hairs?
Facebook has sent window decals out to businesses this week that instruct people to text in short code to "Like" the establishment. The decals were mailed to a limited number of companies in a small test, according to a Facebook spokesperson, who wouldn't disclose further details.
First reported by Mashable, the decals were accompanied by a letter that offers businesses a $25 credit for Facebook.com ads to promote their "People Who Like" page (or in the former parlance: "fan" page). Carlsbad, CA-based Museum of Making Music is one of the organizations that was sent the Facebook package. B.J. Morgan, marketing director, said he placed the decal (see below) in the museum's front window on Tuesday evening.
People who see the decal are encouraged to text in, "like MuseumofMakingMusic to 32665," to join the organization's Facebook group. Those who text in are sent a bounce-back message that requests them to click a link on their mobile phone to activate Facebook texts. Click-throughs produce a landing page where the user sees a pre-populated confirmation code and a pre-checked box saying, "Add my cell number to my profile."
Morgan said the decal appears in the establishment's window "right above the Yelp sticker, which we received a few years ago."
Indeed, Facebook is following in the footsteps of Yelp and Google's Favorite Places program in mailing window decals to increase traction in local offline markets. However, the latter pair didn't pitch free display ads as part of the offer.
Morgan said that his establishment would likely take advantage of the $25 credit to target Facebook users in Southern California. "As a museum, we don't have a whole lot of money to do advertising," he said. "We try to do the most we can with what is free out there with Facebook and Twitter. And when MySpace was popular, we'd used that as much as possible to build an audience outside of our physical walls."
Facebook's local-oriented test intriguingly comes on the heels of Presence, the geo-location application announced at the social site's developer's conference last week. The system will likely allow users to 'check-in' similarly to the way Foursquare users do. It's been recently speculated that Facebook - and its 425 million users - has the much-smaller-but-wildly-hyped Foursquare (1 million users) in its cross-hairs.
"Facebook is adding about 1.2 million users every day," said Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, who stated that he met with Facebook executives last week. He said that the social site's scale will likely allow it to dominate the geo-location space "even if [theoretically] Foursquare has a 10 times better product."
You can follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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