08/24/11 Five Ways Merchants Can Start Utilizing Facebook Credits

Facebook Credits are hot. More and more businesses — both large and small — are exploring how they can incorporate Facebook Credits into their overall social strategy. But they all have the same question: How?

The most common use of Facebook Credits has traditionally been to purchase virtual goods in social games, such as Zynga’s FarmVille and Mafia Wars. New digital content from entertainment and lifestyle companies such as movies studios, concert promoters and sports teams has created an even greater awareness for how to use Facebook‘s “social currency.”

Universal Pictures just launched a campaign offering cult film The Big Lebowski for rent directly through the movie’s Facebook fan page. It was made available to rent on-demand for 30 Facebook Credits.

Other retailers are issuing Facebook Credits as incentives in exchange for some type of action, like social engagement, online purchases or brand loyalty. Shoebuy.com, for example, ran ads on Facebook offering 50 Facebook Credits with any purchase from their site. The GAP UK also provided Facebook Credits to customers who signed up for its email newsletter.

As your business looks to get into the Facebook Credits game, here are some things to consider.

1. Sell Digital, Not Physical Goods

Facebook Credits can be used to purchase virtual goods, digital goods and Facebook Deals. They still cannot be used to directly purchase physical goods or redeem anything outside of Facebook. Now, however, there are a variety of digital goods and content available (Skype calls, music, movies, additional ammunition for game battles, etc.). There is an endless list of opportunities to monetize.

2.  Incentivize Fan Engagement

While the real value of a Facebook Credit is 10 cents, the perceived value is much more. As little as 30 Facebook Credits can give users access to movies, live concerts, dozens of games and more. Additionally, there are some events and entertainment where Facebook Credits may be the only currency accepted. Credit are a lot like “airline miles” that fans will seek out and accumulate from issuing companies.

3. Think Globally

Facebook Credits are an international mode of payment available in more than 47 currencies. Whenever possible, incorporate the global community in your promotional efforts. While the U.S. still makes up a large portion of the Facebook population, there is significant growth in other countries. Live concerts on Facebook, for example, have drawn participants from more than 25 countries. Recent success stories include concerts by Widespread Panic, David Gray, and even new bands like The Parlotones.

4. Deploy Digital Content

Over time, users accumulate Facebook Credits from many different brands. Think about simple ways to offer fans valuable digital content. Why not host the launch of a new music video or movie release to reward existing fans and recruit new ones? While the average Credit balance may be low today for Facebook users, expect it to grow significantly as Facebook Credits become more mainstream as the social currency of choice.

5.  Be a Sponsor

If your app is consuming Facebook Credits, seek out brands and partners that will sponsor or promote your app and offer Facebook Credits to their fan base as an incentive. If you are planning on offering Facebook Credits to entice new fans, consider finding a relevant movie, concert or other credit-based event that you can promote alongside it to make the offer more appealing.

Facebook Credits may seem like uncharted territory, but that also means there’s a wealth of opportunity. With 750 million users, Facebook is the must-use vehicle for companies looking to connect, engage and monetize fans. Those who take advantage of it early can look forward to better relationships with current fans and a valuable tool for earning new ones.

Mashable – John Corpus

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