AKRON — Sometimes, I like to highlight social media sites and sometimes I like to highlight the ways we can use them as a business. In this blog post, I am doing a little bit of both.
We all know that word-of-mouth advertising is still an important way to spread brand awareness about your business. We also know there are a significant amount of potential customers on Facebook. Additionally, many Facebook users reach out to their friends for advice on where to shop or get services done.
Consumers also respond well to businesses that give back to their communities.
Check-In Angels combines all of these elements by creating a platform where consumers can Check-in to a business on Facebook for a good cause. (Note, the company said it is working on the platform for Instagram and possibly down the road, for Yelp.)
“Facebook is still the thing that drives the most purchase decisions,” said Matt Sharp, founder of Check-In Angels.
As stated on its website, Check-In Angels’ “promise is simple: each time a customer checks in at your business, a great cause receives a donation. Yup, it rocks.”
As soon as I came across this, I “Checked-in” with Matt to get more information on this and how it can be used by independent tire dealers.
He said the whole idea started at some gyms he owns in the Lexington, Ky., area because they were looking for a way for customers to have an incentive to “Check-In” to the business on Facebook.
“We had wasted a lot of money on traditional marketing,” Matt said. “The only thing that had really worked for us was referrals, but we felt like the referral process wasn’t nearly as robust as it could be.”
The Check-In Angels concept — originally called Sweat Angels — was launched in January 2013.
With word-of-mouth advertising, a business could expect a customer to tell about five to 10 people. When they do that, the company hopes they relay the value propositions of your business, Matt said, but sometimes that message can get a little watered down.
Using this Check-in process through social media means the customer can connect right to a business through this referral. If a customer is Checking into a business on Facebook, it pulls up the company’s Facebook page and connects it to that post. Matt said they did some research and while Facebook Check-in takes only a few seconds for a person to do, they would easily reach up to 600 people instead of just the handful of people a customer may tell verbally.
“Literally all they have to do is click and they are on that business’ Facebook page and now they are talking to that business directly,” he said.
When starting out, Matt said they also wanted a way to use this to give back to the community. In the first month, the company decided to promote for every Facebook Check-in, a child received a meal.
“Our community just went nuts over it,” Matt said.
The business went from 30 Check-ins a month — the average it had for three years — to 1,600 Check-ins that first month.
Not only were customers Checking in, they were doing it with praise of the business as well, he said.
Adding the charity aspect to Check-in created an incentive for customers to share or post about the company, which was something that wasn’t there before.
When other local businesses saw this platform, they wanted in. Although initially reluctant, Matt said his team decided to take on the challenge and worked with about 35 business owners for about a year to get a program together that could be used by various industries. The program was built it into a turnkey way for businesses to support a different cause each month with Facebook Check-in.
“We handle everything,” Matt said. “We build all of the Facebook posts for them, we create videos for them to share, we create promotional kits that go up in the business.... Most owners spend about 10 minutes a month on this program.”
This is a completely different marketing platform than say a billboard on a freeway, because they aren’t cold leads. These are potential customers hearing about a business from their friends.
“Nothing else lets you target the friends of members like this,” Matt said.
“It’s how I buy things, it’s how you buy things, it’s how everybody makes purchases. Their friends say, ‘This thing is awesome,’ and then you say, ‘I got to check that out.’ That’s how things happen, much more so than traditional marketing.”
The program is now being used by more than 650 businesses, including auto dealerships, auto repair shops, coffee shops and more, he said.
It’s a really good tool for an owner that doesn’t have a lot of time to either hire a social media person, Matt said, adding that even if the company does have a social media person or team it would complement their efforts on social media.
“When you do something good, it changes behavior in the fact that people want to support businesses that do good,” he said.
If a business supports a cause and that is it’s only differentiator from a competitor, Matt said that most people will go to the business that supports a cause.
Matt said Check-In Angels has determined that 30 days is the best time to switch charities. A company can remind customers that it has this program by explaining how many coats were donated to children last month, etc. and then to promote the new charity for next month.
“That’s when the excitement stays the highest if you can switch the cause every 30 days,” he said.
Where can you expect to see the most growth in 2019?
45% (34 votes)
|General automotive service||
15% (11 votes)
|Brakes, shocks and other undercar services||
7% (5 votes)
15% (11 votes)
|Anywhere we can get it.||
19% (14 votes)
|Total votes: 75|