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.”