We all want to save some cash. Social media-savvy shoppers know that right now there are more opportunities than ever to score a sweet deal. Sure, we’re already all over Facebook and Twitter, but are we really maximizing these social media tools to spend less on the stuff we buy?
The more channels you tap into, the better for your budget. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Fan and Follow for Secret Discounts
To start getting the inside scoop on the best deals, the first thing you need to do is to make a list of your top 10 all-time favorite places to shop, and start fanning and following them on Facebook and Twitter. Beyond up-to-the-minute updates on hot deals and coupons, some stores and brands offer short-lived social media-only deals that you won’t find anywhere else. Still others offer secret promotions and contests.
For example, fanning Banana Republic’s Facebook Page gives you access to coupon codes, deals, and contests that you won’t find on their site. Kohl’s offers a nice guide to getting the most for your money, and Aeropostale posts their latest discounts and printable coupons.
2. Search Smart and Aggregate to Cut Through Clutter
Search for #deal, #save or #coupon on Twitter and you’ll see a flood of thrifty Tweets. But you can get even more out of Twitter by searching smart. If you know what kind of deal you want, narrow your searches using multiple hashtags at once. So if you’re looking for deals on beauty products, search for #beauty and #deal, and if you’re going for a new Mac, try #Apple and #deal, and so on.
For a bird’s eye view of all the top deals on Twitter, try CheapTweet, which lets you filter deals by category. Also check out CouponTweet, which, while still in beta, is another promising player in this field.
3. Be a Team Saver with Community Buying
If a deal only lasts for a day, it’s probably going to be a good one. Community buying sites like Living Social and Groupon have popped up all over the web. When you sign up to use these sites, you get a daily e-mail with the option to buy in on a super-discounted local service, including restaurants, spa services, show tickets and many others. If enough people jump in and buy within 24 hours, then the scale gets tipped and everybody gets the discount.
4. Use Geo-Location for Nearby Deals
You can also use location-based sites and apps to find hot deals right around the corner from where you’re standing. Social geo-location app Foursquare, where users share their whereabouts with their friends by “checking-in” at different venues, alerts users to special offers near their location. If you’ve become the “mayor” of a particular venue (i.e. checked-in at that location more than anyone else within the past 60 days), you may also be eligible for special offers, like a free beer, for example.
And speaking of beer, if you’re looking to unwind with a drink and a bite to eat after work, but don’t want to empty your wallet at the overpriced bar down the block, Village Voice Media and GoTime recently released a free location-based app called Happy Hours, which will tell you where to find the nearest happy hour in 41 cities across the country. The app is available for the iPhone, Android devices, and Blackberry.
5. Share the Wealth
It’s often said that the more you give, the more you get. If you come across a great deal, spread the wealth and share it on Twitter and Facebook. Not only are you helping spread the best coupons and deals available online, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your friends and followers will start sharing their secret finds with you.
6. Trust the Community
There are tons of online coupon sites out there. Some are great and offer hot deals that are legitimate, up-to-date, and that work as they should. Others are not so valuable. To avoid wasting your time sifting through old, fake or otherwise unreliable coupon codes, go where your fellow savers go. Look for sites with active communities and deals that are ranked and checked, and that have lots of new activity and a lively presence on Facebook and Twitter. Avoid those that look deserted.
And finally, no matter which social channels you decide to build into your money saving strategies, never pay for coupons. Saving money — and the coupons that will help get you there — should always be free.
More social media resources from Mashable: