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  1. Analysis
August 31, 2010

Industry viewpoint: The next big thing in loyalty

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 1990s 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.

By Verdict Staff

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 fans”.

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 in.

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 Singapore

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