In the past I have not been a believer in Facebook’s business model and, I admit it, I have written that it seemed to me highly unlikely the company would ever find the marketing “silver bullet.”
I may have been wrong …
I received a press release from D-Link yesterday that announced that the company has partnered with Facebook to produce a wireless router that’s integrated with the social network. The target for this device is small businesses and the concept is that free WiFi services will be provided that customers can access simply by logging into the business’s Facebook page. The D-Link press release explains:
The router prompts customers to check in to their location on Facebook to connect to free Wi-Fi without the hassle of entering codes or creating new accounts. In addition, the integrated Wi-Fi solution helps small businesses increase check-ins to help drive brand awareness, direct communication and interaction on their business Facebook Page. In previous tests, businesses saw an average of three times more check-ins using Facebook Wi-Fi routers versus without.
Three times more checkins! That’s impressive.
Customers must, of course, have Facebook accounts which means when they connect to the WiFi service and they’ve logged in to Facebook they are a known user. Not only do they not need to enter a password to get WiFi access they will also be able to automatically connect to the WiFi Service on future visits. As Facebook explains:
When customers check in to use your Wi-Fi, their friends can discover your business by seeing the story in their News Feed / After checking in, people will be asked if they also want to like your Page so you can continue to connect with them on Facebook
For the businesses the service is easy to manage and maintain and they get a much richer and more detailed insight into their customers and more exposure.
The router, the D-Link Wireless AC1750 Facebook WiFi Router (DIR-865L), supports IEEE 802.11ac/g/n/a and 802.3/u/ab with VPN passthrough, Guestzone support, UPnP, and WMM QoS and has 4 10/100/100GB Ethernet ports. The price? $149.99.
This combination of social networking with free WiFi and analytics makes huge sense for small businesses and is a stroke of genius.