Tax Day is filled with a lot of fear, frustration, and (possibly) relief for many Americans. Social marketers–especially restaurant chains–are taking advantage of the tax season’s finale by offering freebies to consumers, often in exchange for “likes” on a brand’s Facebook page.
The goals? To grow a brand’s community on Facebook, and to get consumers into the restaurant to redeem offers…and maybe spend some of that tax refund.
In what USA Today calls “an annual but odd rite of spring,” restaurant marketers are banking on the promise of free goods to lure in taxpayers. Brands experimenting with this timely social marketing include:
- Arby’s Facebook post tells over 968,000 fans that “Taxes can be taxing, so let Arby’s put you in a good mood.” If fans enter to win $5,000 for tax relief from Arby’s, they will also receive a coupon for free curly fries – valid only on April 17th. To enter the sweepstakes (and get the coupon), consumers must enter their name, email, phone # and birthdate.
- Chili’s Grill & Bar is offering a free appetizer or dessert at Chili’s, from April 16-18, to the brand’s over 1.8 million Facebook fans. The coupon has been claimed by over 47,000 fans, with almost 2200 likes and 160 comments. While “liking” the brand isn’t required, once a consumer clicks on the coupon, a pop-up asks to post this information to the user’s timeline (and the only button to click is “okay”).
- Seattle’s Best Coffee came up with the “Great American Coffee Refund” – marketed with a clever YouTube video to the brand’s nearly 472,000 fans on Facebook – where customers have to “like” the brand to have a free coffee sample mailed right to their door. The post already has over 720 likes and 200 comments.
- Panda Express, with over 2.3 million fans, posted a free single serving of their “Angus steak” on Facebook. The offer has already been claimed by 95,000 fans, with over 2,300 likes and nearly 250 comments, and has to be claimed by April 17. Again, “liking” is not required, but sharing with friends is suggested.
- MaggieMoo’s is offering a free scoop of flavored yogurt to the brand’s nearly 23,000 fans on Facebook, although the coupon can’t be opened without “liking” the brand on Facebook first.
- Cinnabon offers “Tax Day Bites” that are “Tastier than a refund” – two free Cinnabon bites on April 17th, from 6-8pm only, to nearly 650,000 Facebook fans. This post was not pinned to the top of the brand’s page, and has received only 137 likes so far.
- Chevy’s Fresh Mex offers “a 1040 you can live with” – 2 Herradura Margaritas for just $10.40, to the brand’s nearly 18,000 Facebook fans. With 140 likes, this post received more engagement than Cinnabon’s, despite Chevy’s drastically smaller fan-base.
- P.F. Chang’s is offering customers 15% off all orders on April 17th (no coupon needed, no “liking” required)
- Boston Market provides over 48,000 Facebook fans with a coupon for buy one, get one free individual meals (valid April 17th only) entitled “2012 Tax Relief Plan.” No “liking” required, though 130 fans have already “liked” the post.
- Bruegger’s put up multiple posts to over 205,000 Facebook fans for the “$10.40 Big Bagel Bundle” available from April 13-17. Consumers have to “like” the brand’s Facebook page to access the coupon.
Is your brand offering relief for any stressed-out taxpayers? How effective is social media marketing for this type of one-day promotion?