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HOW TO: Use social media to find deals and save money

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HOW TO: Use social media to find deals and save money

So I’m really into social media. The guy I carpool to work with always comments that he has no idea how I have enough time to do all that I do and still maintain my social networks online. Thankfully, I have a smartphone to help with that.

One of the advantages that I’ve found to social media is the ability to save money. For example, I saved 15% off my entire American Eagle purchase over the weekend all because of Foursquare. I would have made the purchase either way, so that savings was a nice bonus.

For your ease and convenience, here are just a couple of ways to use social media to find deals and save money. Also, let us know in the comments what social tools you use to save money.

Foursquare Deals

Foursquare Deals

Since I already mentioned it, I might as well start with Foursquare. For the uninitiated, Foursquare is a location based social network. What that means is that I use my GPS coordinates to let my friends know where I am. The cool part is that local businesses can post deals for Foursquare users who check-in (or tell their friends that they are at the business). That’s how I saved 15% at American Eagle. All I had to do was check-in or tell my Foursquare pals that I was at American Eagle. I then showed the deal to the cashier and received the discount.

Foursquare deals can really be great around lunch or dinner time. Just see what deals are being offered by the restaurants in your area before deciding where to go. Some deals require checking in multiple times before receiving the discount. Though, most just require one visit or check-in.

Twitter Lists

Twitter Lists

I’m sure you are very familiar with Twitter. If you are already a Twitter user, then you are probably familiar with Twitter lists. Basically, it’s a way to build a custom or curated list of specific Twitter users that you want to follow. Unsurprisingly, there are Twitter users that are dedicated to just disseminating information about deals and specials (many of them online).

So build a list called “Deals” and add Twitter users such as @JetBlueCheeps or @MomsWhoSave. You can find Twitter accounts for just about anything.

You’ll need a Twitter account to create lists. For more information on building Twitter lists, check out Twitter’s support page about lists.

Twitter Promotions

Twitter Promotions

If you are already going to have a Twitter account in order to make a Deals list, then you might as well take advantage of the many promotions and contests that companies offer via Twitter. The trick is finding deals. I have two recommendations.

  1. If you are planning a large purchase (let’s say over $100), then see if the company has a Twitter account. If so, check the company’s tweeting history to see if they offer promos, and if so, how often.
  2. Use Twitter’s search function to search for specific deals. For example, I’m on Sears.com about to buy an awesome and “much needed” tool. Right before making the purchase, I login to Twitter and just search “sears promo”, “sears discount” or even just “sears” to see if there are any specials running.

If you intend to run a specific search often or even semi-often, then you can save the search in order to easily find it later. Here’s the Twitter support page on saving searches.

Facebook Deals

Facebook Deals

In case you haven’t heard, Facebook recently launched a competitor to Groupon and LivingSocial called Facebook Deals. It’s only in a few cities right now but is very likely to spread rapidly as Facebook users and businesses adopt it. Just like with everything else on Facebook, if a friend “likes” or buys a deal, then you will see it in your News Feed.

What’s great about this is that you don’t have to go looking for deals. Rather, your friends tell you about the deals they like. Presumably, many of your friends have the same tastes and preferences as you. So the deals they like are probably deals that will interest you as well.

So watch for Facebook Deals creeping up in your News Feed.

By using some of the social tools or networks that you use everyday, you can find easy ways to save a few extra bucks each month.

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Like Foursquare? Hope so, cuz your insurance just went up [Image]

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Like Foursquare? Hope so, cuz your insurance just went up [Image]

Services like Foursquare and Gowalla allow you to tell your friends, family, and social networks where you are at any given time. These services are a marketer’s dream come true. Basically, you are giving them tons of information about your habits and preferences and it feels like it’s just a game. But marketers aren’t the only ones looking and mining that data.

FoursquareI really like social media. In fact, I use Foursquare. So don’t mistake me for a social media fear-monger when I say that Foursquare leads to increased insurance rates. Specifically, geo-location apps and tagging (like on Twitter) leads to increased home insurance rates.

Rising insurance rates are a logical outcome if you stop and think about it for a moment. Sites like PleaseRobMe.com (now shut down) claimed to be raising awareness about this issue, but really they were just adding to it by aggregating tweets of people broadcasting that they weren’t home. The problem is that robbers and fiends check social networks for folks saying, “I’m not home.” Now you may not literally say that, but checking-in through Gowalla or Foursquare says the same thing. Or even just telling everyone on Facebook that you are leaving on vacation is screaming, “I’m not home!”

As crime levels increase, the insurance companies have to adjust their actuarial tables in order to cover the increase in claims. And since they have profit margins to protect, we as customers have to pay more. Don’t believe me? Well, I’m not the first one to talk about this. In fact, the British Association of Insurers believes that insurance rates will increase by as much as 10% as a direct result. You can read more about that report at Media Post.

Social networks are addicting, I know. Adding rewards and badges creates a game-like atmosphere. Someone who checks-in (or says, “I’m at this location”) more than anyone else becomes mayor of that location. I recently lost the mayorship at work to a contractor, which is slightly embarrassing. But I digress.

Now, just in case I’m not being clear enough, let me use some stick figure drawings to get the point across.

Foursquare and Theft

See my point? So before you announce your every movement to the world (FYI, I don’t care that you left your desk to use the restroom), consider who else is seeing that information. Sites like Twitter are public and searchable by anybody. Sites like Facebook allow some level of privacy. So check your privacy settings and be careful about what you share.

The point is folks, don’t be stupid. Just because something is cool and fun doesn’t mean it’s any good for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m trying to regain mayorship here at work and need to check-in.

(Want to share the graphic? Just copy and paste the code from below.)

Posted in Insurance, FeaturedComments (8)

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