"The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier." - George Bernard Shaw

The Financial Benefits of Facebook

By , August 8th, 2009 | 16 Comments »

Are you a Facebook user?

If not, why not?

I would like to think that everyone already has some familiarity with Facebook. Nevertheless, for the three of four readers who have not yet encountered Facebook, it is a social networking site that enjoys more monthly visitors than any of its competitors. In essence, Facebook allows its users to create an on-line network of friends and colleagues who then have access to the content posted by everyone in their own network. As a medium for communication, I think it is the best communication tool available on the Internet and in many ways is more efficient than even having access to all of your contacts in one room.

But back to my initial question: if you are not on Facebook yet, why not? You are missing out on something big.

If you are on Facebook, are you maximizing your use of it as a tool to help you with your personal finances? Have you even thought of the ways that Facebook can help you to add to your net worth in ways big and small, or is Facebook nothing more than a gathering place for the classmates, colleagues and cougars you know? If you do not see the financial benefits of Facebook yet, you will over the coming year as Facebook increasingly will dominant the marketing focus of a great many companies, or so I believe. Here is where I see Facebook headed and, in some cases, where it has already been.

Marketing Promotions

Last month, Starbucks ran a Facebook-only promotion in which it gave away coupons for 800,000 pints of Starbucks ice cream. With 250 million or more active global users, Facebook offers marketing penetration that no other consumer site is likely to match and businesses are quickly realizing that. Over the course of the next year, look for a substantial increase in the number of on-line coupon promotions and giveaways that are limited to Facebook users. You will need to “become a fan” of the brands and products that you like to use in order to ensure that you are likely to receive word of such promotions but once you do, the opportunities should be many.

Facebook Only Discounts

A lot of businesses are capturing traffic for their brick and mortar stores by posting discount advertisements that are available only to Facebook users. A local pizzeria has been offering a series of BOGO deals that can only be obtained by telling the server that they want the Facebook promotion.

Employment Opportunities

A few days ago, Maggiano’s restaurant posted on Facebook that it is hiring a marketing intern for its Dallas office. With a potential audience of up to a quarter of a million users, Facebook offers tremendous potential as a recruiting tool so that businesses can reach out to users who already have an interest in the business or a specific industry.

Similarly, I read a recent article which boldly states that a good familiarity with social networking tools and a willingness to use them aggressively is essential in any job search. Even though on-line networking may not replace traditional networking any time soon, it is certainly an essential complement to it.

Street Team Activity

Over the past few years, performers have learned that the best way to promote themselves may be to let their fans do it for them. Street teams are loosely organized groups of people who support a particular performer or sporting organization. They can be locally based, as may be the case with fans of a local band. They may be nationally or internationally based, as with fans of major talent. Regardless of geographic reach, Street Team members are often rewarded with free tickets to events and other merchandise for doing things as simple as posting links and announcements on Facebook and other social networking sites. For more advanced Street Team members who have websites on which they can post banner advertisements and video, even more swag is available for assistance in posting such ads.


Businesses are also beginning to run a lot of small contests via Facebook (and Twitter and similar sites. Because participation in the contests may not yet be huge — 250 million active users does not always translate into users who will be eager to spend their time on Facebook business pages — winning may not be as difficult as in the case of more traditional contests run through sponsor-owned websites.

Because the marketing potential of Facebook is limited only by the creativity of the marketing teams who are using it, we cannot predict all of the wonderful opportunities that Facebook will offer to frugalistas who are looking for deals, giveaways and even jobs. That said, I am willing to predict that Facebook is going to be the marketing medium of choice for the next twelve months and that all businesses are going to try to be on the crest of the marketing wave.

If you’ve been reluctant to join Facebook, do it now. In addition to social networking and catching up with old friends, you will also find that you can have fun with it and save some money while you are at it.

What do you think? How will social networking sites like Facebook shape marketing and promotions in the coming year? What deals have you gotten by using Facebook? What opportunities have you found?

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  • joanna says:

    “Are you a Facebook user?
    If not, why not?”

    For my long answer, see here

    Shorter answer: I would rather devote time to off-screen relationships and activities. From my observation, Facebook is a huge timesink, and mostly good for trivial information and gossip mostly about people who aren’t actively in my life anymore. Yes, as fascinating as it would be to find out where my best friend from second grade is right now, I’m currently living my life just fine oblivious to that information. What I don’t need is another online obligation that keeps me in front of a keyboard.

    As for the benefits you mention- yes, there are some Facebook-only promotions, but I’ve been very happy about the way I’ve been able to hunt down deals through blogs and Twitter, two social networking outlets that allow me to be more anonymous and have better control of my information.

    So, there are valid reasons someone would choose to not be on Facebook*, and the financial advantage gained by networking via Facebook isn’t that superior to other social-networking means.

    * I have decided, if I ever A) start my own business or B) am looking for a new job, social networking through Facebook (and LinkedIn, and pretty much any service available) WOULD be valuable. Right now, I prefer to keep control of my personal information for as long as possible.

  • Ann says:

    Certainly does help spread the word! 🙂

    To a certain extent, I do agree with Joanna — it can eat up a lot of time! But as a place to promote, it’s a great way to reach a lot of people!

  • Raghubilhana says:

    Joanna has put in words my exact thoughts. Facebook can become dangerously addictive as with any other online medium.
    If your aim is to simplify, then keep out of them. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. But if you get hooked to facebook, you would be wasting a lot of your time in needless gossip sharing and things like that, the same time which can be put to better use.
    So at the end of day even though you might have a little advantage with facebook like finding some needful employment or communicating with people (I dont need all those goodies and coupons because I am trying to simplify my life, the essence of frugalism), it hurts you in the long run.

  • Raghubilhana says:

    The quality of your friends defines you, not the quantity.

    Anything you do for a long time on the internet is addictive and that includes facebook, blogger and everything else.

    Simplify, simplify, simplify.

  • SAHIL says:

    Facebook is a crap at least in INDIA it is it is worst than ORKUT.
    at least there i dont have to face some weird comments >>>>>

  • persephone says:

    I don’t use Facebook but I do sign up for e-mail promotions. I just don’t have the time to fool around with FB.

  • Justin says:

    Facebook has great potential and definitely can promote your business and offers.

  • wanda says:

    Thank you. You taught me something today. I have been avoiding Facebook like the plague. I do have a couple of small businesses online and I have used just about every communications and rss feed sites there are but hadn’t ventured on to Facebook yet.

    I will give it a shot.

    Thanks again.

  • Richard says:

    Don’t scoff. Us three or four readers know all about everyone on the planet. What do you know about me? Nothing.

  • spicoli says:

    Richard — Even if you were on Facebook, I would not have to know anything about you. You an control who is in your network and what data the network sees. For that matter, you do not have to provide much information to your network. You should at least explore it.

  • Stella says:

    I love Facebook, but am a little wary about becoming a fan for all these different entities. Not because I think they’ll do anything shady with my personal info, but because it’s enough to try and keep up what’s going on with my Facebook fans without adding more spam to my friend feed.

    If I need to find a deal or coupons, I just go to online coupon sites. I can find the deals I need when I need them instead of having my Facebook page cluttered with vendor advertising.

  • Tightwad says:

    Facebook has really been in the news lately for potentially dangerous reasons such as Trojan contractions and other hazardous computer viruses. Also a there is a lot of spyware attached to FB.
    I don’t use it and won’t. Not worth the risk!

  • David G. Mitchell says:

    Say what you will be I just got two free packages of premium coffee by going to the right FB page at the right time.

    Incidentally, I spend less than 15 minutes per day on FB and most of it is spent gathering information that I actually need.

  • Gloria says:

    It does help/

  • wandaa says:

    Just signed up today David. Thank you. It was a lot easier than I thought.

    Check mines out here:


  • The Financial Negatives of Social Networking - SavingAdvice.com Blog says:

    […] week my colleague here at SavingAdvice, David, wrote about the financial benefits of Facebook. His piece contained some valuable information for those looking to join Facebook. However, […]

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