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AmEx hooks up with Facebook

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Posted: 1 pm ET

American Express is helping small businesses "friend" new customers.

The company on Tuesday unveiled a program that allows its cardholders to use rewards points to buy ads on Facebook. Any American Express cardholder can redeem points for Facebook ad credits. However, the deal is especially appealing for small businesses because the site can home in on a particular audience from the 500 million pairs of eyeballs that use Facebook.

"A small business person is looking for more targeted means of advertising rather than buying a full-page ad in The New York Times," says Alan Maginn, a senior analyst at Corporate Insight.

Cardholders simply redeem membership rewards points for the ads through American Express OPEN's Facebook page or the company's rewards program website. The credit card company will email a redemption code that can be credited toward purchasing the ads.

Facebook ad credits are available in three amounts: $50, $100 and $250. A cardholder can receive a $50 credit for 6,750 membership reward points. (Translation: Spend $6,750 for a $50 credit.)

The deal underscores American Express' enthusiasm for social media, which started earlier than most financial companies, Maginn says. He noted that American Express holds four of the top ten most popular Facebook pages among the 70 financial firms he tracks.

And last week, the company rolled out a mobile discount program with Foursquare.

"Our cardmembers and merchants are highly engaged in social media and digital platforms," says American Express spokesman Matthew Burton. "We have unique assets and capabilities that are highly relevant in this space and generate even more value both for cardmembers as well as merchants."

So do you "like" American Express' partnership with Facebook?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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