3 Hot Facebook App Ideas from Pancake Puppies

While there are many great new Facebook application tools to make your Page stand out, successful promotions with clear objectives that stick to the basics don't always need bells and whistles. White chocolate chips can hurt, though.

While there are many great new Facebook application tools to make your Page stand out, successful promotions with clear objectives that stick to the basics don’t always need bells and whistles. Then again, white chocolate chips can’t hurt.

Denny’s current Facebook greeting card/coupon promotion is a custom Facebook application from Filter Creative Group. The app focuses on social media’s primary marketing objective – converting customers into brand advocates who influence their real-world and network friends.

The app allows Facebook users to create a customized holiday greeting card, with both the sender and recipient eligible for a coupon for free Pancake Puppies. Having used this type of promotion for Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day, Denny’s and Filter Creative Group evaluated how fans used previous iterations to tune this version.

Three “best practices” jump out:

1. The Facebook Like button is not the only means for sharing

This application does not require the user to Like Denny’s and allows the card and coupon to be easily shared. Senders can choose to send the card and coupon by Facebook, by downloading to send via e-mail and – get this – by printing to send by snail mail or deliver personally. Though Facebook is the platform by which someone participates in the promotion, it’s structured to allow sharing with all friends, regardless of whether they are on Facebook and using a preferred delivery method.

A small point of “friction” in the process is sending by e-mail, which could benefit from being able to send the card and coupon directly from the app.

2. Reduce roadblocks

The terms of service are provided as a link, rather than as a tome that must be viewed oran endless appendage to one of the app’s pages. The app does request permission to access the user’s Facebook information – so that it the card can be easily customized – in a less onerous degree than many other apps. (Wouldn’t it be great if Facebook allowed apps one-time access to only the specific information it needed for execution?)

The app does not pop-up a dialog box requesting a Wall post. And the coupon has no “jump through hoops” requirements for use, just a two dollar purchase during the promotion period.

3. Make it easy

The application is about as simple to use as can be for non-technical Facebook fans. If Grandpa gets a coupon, it is likely he will have little difficulty using the app to gift his friends. That there is both “Gift Cards” and “Card Maker” tabs on Denny’s Facebook Page could be a little confusing.

As Alan Miller, FILTER Creative Group CEO, puts it, “The Holiday Card Maker is a great way to reward the community while giving them a tool they can use.”

Denny’s has under 100,000 fans – relatively few considering it has 1500 restaurants. Forcing Likes and Wall posts could increase that number, but could also alienate fans and reduce their motivation to visit the page. This is a conundrum for all brands, though a smaller number of actively engaged fans versus a large number of passive fans can be a very successful social media marketing strategy.