This article is presented by Kelly Whalen, Consumerism Commentary staff writer. Kelly is celebrating her one-year blog anniversary this week.
Everyone loves a good deal, but finding time to comparison shop at various stores can be time consuming. As a parent of four kids I’m not keen on taking the kids to multiple stores just to save a few dollars, but I have found ways to save money using social media.
As I mentioned in my previous post, you can contact customer service via Twitter and often receive a quick response. It seems backwards that regular customer service isn’t as efficient and fast as social media service, but that’s the nature of social media — it’s quick.
Discounts on services. Did you know you can also contact your service providers to discuss billing issues, or getting a discounted rate? Comcast is a great example of customer service via social media (in this case Twitter) done right.
As part of my yearly financial checkup I go through each and every expense we have to see where we can cut back. I contacted Comcast via Twitter, and was able to secure a promotional rate on our internet service that reduces our bill by nearly $30 a month for a full year. That’s a savings of $360 from taking twenty seconds to send a tweet!
So far I haven’t heard stories of credit card companies lowering APRs on Twitter, so it’s better to go through executive customer service. That trend may change as more companies embrace Twitter.
You may also find people who are willing to do work for you for free or discounted rates. Whether you need a software developer, an assistant, or a staff writer ;) you can find people through Twitter who are willing to help.
Coupons, deals, giveaways, and freebies. Shopping via social media keeps getting easier and more fun. You can become a fan of products, services, and companies you use regularly on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. It benefits the company by allowing them to reach customers who are loyal, and it benefits you in many ways.
Here’s how following or “fan-ing” a company can work for you:
Discounts and coupon codes: You can follow CrocsOnline to get info on their deal of the day, win promotional codes, and win free shoes for example. Boutique hotel chains, clothing manufacturers, small businesses, and big corporations all offer savings to their followers.
Contests: Many companies also run contests on a regular basis. Some may use bloggers to run their contests while others will have guessing games like this example from Roger Smith Hotel in NYC. There are giving away a night in a hotel room every day at 11:00 am EST. Prizes can be as small as a sample pack or as large as hundreds of dollars in gift cards, or even vacations.
Giveaways: You can win giveaways by re-tweeting messages, participating in twitter chats, and by finding giveaways on blogs and websites searching the hashtag #giveaway. If you are following your brands on Facebook they will announce giveaways ahead of time so you can be prepared. It usually involves commenting or emailing the answer to a question.
New products: If you are a fan of a small business they may ask you to sample a new product so they can get feedback from people who are regular users of their products.
Many people I know scoff that they don’t have time for Twitter or Facebook, but using social media as a tool to connect with your favorite companies is a great way to save money.
Have you ever used social media to get a discount, coupon, or enter a giveaway?
Updated February 10, 2011 and originally published January 14, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.