December 7, 2010, 3:32 PM

Musician’s Friend launches a group-Liking discount on Facebook

The e-retailer posts a coupon code valid for popular items.

Lead Photo

Musician’s Friend Inc. has combined the group-buying discount phenomenon and the social nature of Facebook with the launch of its Thumbs Up Markdowns program. When enough Facebook users indicate they Like the deeply discounted product offer through a tab on the instrument e-retailer’s Facebook page, the company posts an item-specific coupon code on its Facebook wall that all consumer can redeem for 48 hours. Clicking the Like button is not a commitment to buy the item, and consumers don’t have to have Liked the deal to be able to use the code.

MusiciansFriend.com posted its first Thumbs Up Markdowns deal on the day after Thanksgiving. For the deal to go live, 1,500 Musician’s Friend Facebook fans must Like the $499.99 offer for the featured Fender Stratocaster guitar. The company, No. 38 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says the sale price is 43% off the regular retail price.

The deal remains far from hitting the 1,500 threshold, and prospects appear dim that the Fender guitar will garner the 1,500 Likes threshold before the next deal posts on Thursday. Luke Noffke, social media and commerce specialist at Musician’s Friend and the manager of the program, says it has about 200 Likes as of today. He blames the low response level on the retailer focusing its marketing efforts on holiday sales and not this program.

Nonetheless, Musician’s Friend has high hopes that the Thumbs Up Markdowns program can expand the retailer’s Facebook fan base. In order to Like a markdown deal, the Facebook user must also Like Musician’s Friend on the social network. The coupon code will appear only on Musician’s Friend’s Facebook wall, which means the retailer’s more than 103,000 Facebook fans will receive it in their ongoing Facebook news feeds. The code will not appear anywhere on MusiciansFriend.com or in company e-mails. Noffke says the company hopes that fans who see the code in their news feeds will share it with friends on Facebook and beyond. “We’re hoping this goes viral,” he says.

Boosting the site’s presence on Facebook is one of Musician’s Friend’s goals, Noffke says. A year ago the company had about 20,000 Facebook fans, or Likes. “It’s been growing organically and we’ve been feeding it with sweepstakes and promotions during the year,” he says. Musician’s Friend’s social efforts appear to be taking off. It gained 16,000 fans in October and 11,000 in November, Noffke says. The company has more than 103,000 fans today. Noffke says he expects the Thumbs Up Markdowns program to help double or triple the fan base.

As of now, the Markdown program exists only as a tab on Facebook and hasn’t received any web site or promotional e-mail support, although that is planned for in January, Noffke says. Musician’s Friend will adjust the Like threshold for future offers and plans to offer more accessories at lower price points, he adds. The next deal, for example, is for a microphone that normally sells for $79.99. It will be offered for $29.99 after 500 Musician’s Friend Facebook fans Like the offer.

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