Free cookies at facebook.com/nabiscocookies: New tack for Nabisco?

Nabisco's free cookie offer, available only on facebook.com/nabiscocookies, may represent new ways of linking coupons with social media.

By , Guest blogger

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    Oreo is one of Nabisco's most famous cookies. The cookie brand has more than 350,000 Facebook fans. Nabisco is tapping into this new fan base to target its promotions. On Monday, customers could get a coupon for free cookies, but only if they went to Nabisco's Facebook site at facebook.com/nabiscocookies.
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Nabisco is offering free cookies – actually a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for Oreos, Nutterbutters, Chips Ahoy, and so on.

The deal is only available Monday. All you have to do is click on the "Cookies & Milk" tab of Nabisco's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nabiscocookies), print the coupon, and then buy milk and one package of Nabisco cookies. The second package is free.

Here's the twist: You can't find the deal in any newspaper or magazine. It doesn't exist in print, only on Facebook.

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That's a switch for corporations, seeking to advertise their wares.

“It’s important to reach people where they are – and people are increasingly using social media,” said Basel Maglaris, associate director of corporate affairs at Nabisco. “It’s a way for us to join the conversation.”

Although Monday's online-only deal is part of a broader milk and cookies campaign, where Nabisco will incroporate traditional advertising avenues, like print, the Facebook move points to the growing importance of social media in reaching consumers.

One big reason: Social media hubs allow businesses to increase customers’ engagement with their products and intereact in ways that they cannot in print or on television.

For example: On Nabisco’s Facebook page, which has more than 350,000 fans, users can submit photos of their “perfect Nabisco Cookie and Milk moment.” The winner will appear in a milk mustache ad in a magazine from Kraft, Nabisco’s parent company. Users can also search for Nabisco snack recipes, and learn about new products and promotions.

'Digital couponing’ like Monday’s offer also allows companies to track how well their Facebook page is doing in attracting potential costumers.

“It gives you a way to track the return on your investment,” said Seth Simonds, a Boston-based social strategist for Mullen, an advertising firm.

“With social media, it’s hard to see how many people are visiting your site,” said Mr. Simonds. “When you give them a promotional code to bring when they go to the store, you know who’s been on your Facebook page.”

Online promotions help companies target loyal customers. “What’s special about the Facebook page is that it’s full of people who’ve raised their hand to say they love Nabisco cookies,” said Mr. Maglaris. “It gives us a way to talk to them directly about our products.”

So, penny pinchers of the world, don't give up on coupon-clipping just yet. But make sure you have a Facebook account if you don’t want to miss any deals.

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