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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 23, 2012

Gain instant Facebook Fans in-store with the Like Machine

A Florida entrepreneur has come up with a way of enabling customers that visit your store or restaurant to Like your Facebook Page, even if they're not armed with a smartphone or tablet. I caught up with Will Damhuis to see if businesses like his Like Machine.

by Helen Leggatt

like machine.jpgBelieve it not, even in this mobile age, not everyone is packing the power of a smarthphone in their pocket. While smartphone penetration in the U.S. has crossed the halfway mark with 50.4% of the population owning such a device, that leaves another 49.6% who don't.

So, what do those bereft of mobile technology do when they find a brand or store they like and want to Like it on Facebook? Ideally, you hope they'll remember to do so when they're back at home in front of their computer, but you'll never know if they do.

However, Will Damhuis, an entrepreneur in Florida and president of Konnected LLC, has come up with a better and more immediate answer - the Facebook Like Machine. The unique invention earned Damhuis a trip to Facebook's headquarters where one of his machines is housed.

It's a simple set-up - an iPad housed in an eye-catching unit shaped like the Facebook logo. Placed on a store counter or floor-standing, the unit's screen is set to the businesses Facebook Page. It allows customers who are Facebook users, but don't have a smartphone to hand, to Like the businesses Facebook Page right there and then.

"The Facebook Like Machine allows a business to take its social media campaign to a new level," Damhuis told me. "The business owner puts it in a high-traffic area, and it really creates a buzz."

It's portable, too, so owners can use them at trade fairs or community events, as well as in their usual place of business.

Launched in January of this year, the Facebook Like Machine is already spreading out from Florida and is in retailers and restaurants in Menlo Park, Chicago, Wichita, New York and Grand Rapids.

Brands that have used the Facebook Like Machine include Lands' End, Farmers Insurance Group, Golf Pride, Bartenura Wine, Zina Eva Handbags, Duffy's MVP, Rocco's Tacos, Fifth Third Riverbank Run, Norton Museum of Art, Social Buzz TV, Burrito Bros., and Meier Orthodontics.

Damhuis is pleased with the results those who use the Facebook Like Machine have reported so far.

"We had a major global brand use the Like Machine at a tradeshow in Orlando. They average 4 - 6 Likes per day but, over the 2-day tradeshow, they averaged 90 Likes per day," he told me. "Similarly, a local restaurant had just 410 Likes in the first 13 months of having a Facebook Page but, after implementing the Like Machine, they are on track to attract triple that amount in the coming year."

Tags: acquisition, brand awareness, brand marketing, Facebook, smartphone, social marketing, social media

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