The first time I saw “Become a fan
on Facebook” on a sign in a restaurant here in Singapore, I had an
instant flashback to the early 1990’s and the first billboard I saw
in the US with a website address. I remember thinking then that the
web truly was on the verge of going mainstream. My feeling today is
that Facebook pages for local businesses will be even bigger.

One and a half million local
businesses already have active pages on Facebook. I believe that
this number is about to explode. When all is said and done, “Find
us on Facebook” will be as common as web addresses pasted on
posters and promotional material. In fact, Facebook pages could
already be more common with local businesses. I know many
restaurants and bars that have a Facebook page and no website.

After setting up a Facebook page,
the next question is how to grow the page’s fan base and attract
customers. There are 431m Google entries for “get more Facebook

A very effective technique is to
offer exclusive promotions for fans. There are 386m Google entries
for “only for Facebook fans”. This technique works very well and is
easy to do on the web, where the user is online and probably logged
into Facebook. It is much more difficult in the real world, at a
physical point of sale. That’s where my company, Taggo, comes

Retailers can use Facebook to
create fan clubs and enjoy most of the benefits provided by
traditional loyalty programs, for a fraction of the cost. Fan clubs
are light, easy to implement, fresh and modern, with built-in
social media benefits thrown in for free.

The whole focus of traditional
card- and points-based loyalty programmes has been on segmentation,
triggering methods and complex rewards calculation. All very heavy
and boring, and now with a strong sense of legacy systems attached
to them.

Anaeace Haddad was
the founder of the global loyalty business Welcome Real-time and
CEO and founder of Taggo, a start-up venture he has launched in