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Tweet deals: Using social media as savings tool

I recently dived into Facebook. It started out as a way to reconnect with high school and college friends but it has quickly become a key to finding deals, along with Twitter.

The basics: Get connected
The people you interact with can be your best leads to finding deals. Posting a message on your Facebook timeline asking friends to recommend a house-cleaning service, for example, can get you a reliable referral, insider information and possibly a better deal if you tell the cleaning person/company a friend recommended them.

If you like a product or service, follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook. Retailers love to hear from their customers — they’ll often run contests, offer coupons or discounts for being a fan, and sometimes will raffle off free products or services.

Use social media to give feedback and watch the perks come in. Sign up for alerts, emails to stay on top of deals.

You might just get a pleasant surprise when you try a fellow deal-seeker’s find.

Be specific: Tackle a single task at a time
If you’re not an avid deal seeker looking for tips on saving on your monthly grocery bill and instead, are looking for a specific objective, go to social media. Say you’re planning a wedding on a budget. Do the research by looking up several viable options for catering, venues, music, etc. Narrow it down to a few types and kinds, then concentrate on tackling the high costs with a little bit of help.

Follow promotions on social media and grab that special deal as soon as it pops up. Welcome that message on your timeline that offers contests and tips on how to make the best financial decisions for that big day. Your partner and your wallet might thank you.

Save time and money: Stick to the target

Looking for a spur-of-the-moment getaway or need a last- minute decision for date night? Social media can help.

Nowadays, being part of a social network connects businesses directly to their customers, and it doesn’t cost them a dime. Chances are that bed and breakfast you’ve heard about will have a Facebook page with photos, customer reviews, special deals and all the details you need to make a reservation ASAP.

Great minds think alike
It sounds cliché but maybe that’s what Facebook had in mind when it announced Facebook Graph Search. It helps you find exactly what you want to find, people you’d like to meet, or what you’d like to know. You can use photos to explore the world around you and link with those who share your interests. As the demo shows, you can ask questions such as, “Restaurants my friends love in San Francisco,” and the results will show you Facebook friends who have shared comments or pictures related to their favorite restaurants in that city.

The Facebook Graph Search isn’t available yet, but you don’t have to wait to start using the concept. Follow people who interest you, share your ideas and post mind-boggling photos. Save time by narrowing your focus on those things that matter most to you. By doing that, maybe you’ll find an “in” to the trendiest bars or find the perfect plan for that special vacation.

In the end, it’ll be time (and money) well spent.