Facebook has announced that its offers system has begun to roll out, having first been revealed at its marketing conference at the beginning of March. The system allows local businesses to use their Facebook pages to promote themselves direct to their customers, sending freebies and promotions straight to users' news feeds. When someone clicks on the offer, they can either redeem it straight from Facebook's mobile apps or receive it by email ready to be used in store.

The offers are free to create, though Facebook says that each will only reach a limited number of people. This is obviously a way for the social network to maintain interest in its regular ads, though it's an interesting strategy that could see more smaller businesses investing in wider advertising campaigns. Offers also marks another attempt by Facebook to enter the social shopping market that's currently dominated by the likes of Groupon and Livingsocial, following its abandonment of Facebook Deals in August last year.

Update: Facebook tells us that the Offers rollout isn't global yet, even in the US: "Facebook rolled out Offers in beta to a handful of clients in the U.S. after announcing it at fMC in February. Facebook is continuing to roll out the beta to a limited amount of businesses in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Turkey, but it’s not a global roll out. It’s not yet available to additional U.S. businesses."