The popularity of Facebook Parties has been increasing and although many Consultants have been having luck with them, many others are finding them to either ineffective, or inefficient, or in some cases, a source of trouble with Facebook itself.
What is a Facebook Party?
A Facebook Party is when a direct seller invites their connections, or those of a Hostess, to join them on Facebook “live” for a period of time. She then discusses the products, opportunity and benefits of hosting. During the party there might be some fun games to generate excitement, and give away prizes. Orders, bookings and sponsoring happen either on the consultant’s website, or by private messaging or emails. There are many variations, but they generally follow a similar format.
What is Going On?
In recent months, many distributors, and entire companies, have been experiencing “Facebook Jail” due to Facebook Party activities. Facebook Jail is when you are restricted in some way from using Facebook’s functions. Restricted from posting in groups for a certain time. Being suddenly unable to access any events you administer. Posts being deleted by Facebook. Images not loading. Unable to send private messages. Links leading to a warning about spam.
There are a few theories as to why this is happening. Maybe competitors are reporting Facebook parties as spam. Maybe friends who see the posts mark them as spam, not understanding why they are seeing them. Some say Facebook does not approve of “work at home schemes” and have grouped the direct sales profession in with known scams and pyramid schemes, not understanding this multi-million dollar legitimate industry.
What Can We Do About this?
Look at Facebook parties as a supplement, and “extra” the way a vendor fair or catalog party would be. Use them for long distance hostesses, or as a way to maintain excitement among your own out of town connections. When you rely on Facebook too much, you put your entire business at risk because you are at the mercy of Facebook–a business with its own rules that they are free to interpret and apply in any way. We are using their tool, usually for free, to grow our businesses and it is up to us to do what we can to comply with their wishes and avoid Facebook Jail.
Following are 10 updated guidelines for conducting Facebook parties if you choose to continue to hold them.
1. Facebook wants all business transactions to occur through a business Page, not a personal timeline, or groups and events administered by personal timelines. It is OK to use groups for support or discussions about your business, or to use personal timeline events to gather RSVPs and generate excitement for an offline party, but Facebook does not want the “sales” and calls to action to occur anywhere but on a business Page.
2. Create an Event from your business Page. This means that your Facebook Party will be public but we already know that due to Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm, only a tiny percentage of “likes” on our Page see our posts so this is not as much of a problem as you might think. If you have a hostess, add her to your event then make her a co-host, and she can invite her friends to the party.
3. Facebook Events that are created by a business Page can be promoted by paying a small amount to increase exposure if it is a public event, or to make sure a targeted group sees the event posts. Consider budgeting a small amount for this.
4. Personally invite guests. Email is a great option. Personalized private messages can work. (do not copy/paste the same one to everyone). Share the event link and give them the option to Join vs. adding them yourself. Mail a postcard. Give them a call. Do whatever you can to make sure they are aware of the party, and opt in to join. Only add people to the event page yourself if you know they are a yes or maybe. If you have a hostess, coach her to do the same.
5. When it comes to Facebook Parties, less is more. It is better to have 25 engaged and interested invited guests than 500 who do no want to be there, do not engage with the posts, and do not take action by purchasing, hosting or joining your team.
6. Consider setting your event up 2 weeks in advance and populate the event with posts and information about your company before ever inviting anyone. Posting more than one image at a time reduces the amount of posts going out to your “likes,” just be sure to go back and edit the captions of each image to reflect the features and benefits of the product or service you are highlighting.
7. During the first week, after your party is set up correctly, begin inviting people to the event, as described in point 4 above. During the second week, post no more than once per day on the event page, to begin generating excitement.
8. Set your party up to be held live during a 30-60 minute time frame. The more posts you have that are not engaged with by your guests, the more red flags that go up for Facebook. By conducting your party during a short time “live” you are more likely to create a sense of urgency among your guests which will compel them to comment on your posts and take action.
9. Make sure your images and messaging are in compliance with your company guidelines and with copyright law. Do not take an image off of the web and doctor it without permission from the original owner. Facebook takes copyright violations very seriously. Follow your company guidelines for use of logos and images. It is not uncommon for other consultants to “mark as spam” those who are out of compliance.
10. Keep it simple. Everything you do in direct sales is potentially duplicated by your team or future team and when you complicate your Facebook Party by creating elaborate videos, custom images, or complicated contests, you could be scaring off your prospects. Whenever possible, your Facebook Party should mirror your traditional Home Party. By creating an online version of your regular party steps, you are setting yourself up for success based on your own company’s guidelines, you are more likely to get results, and you are less likely to find yourself in Facebook Jail.
Conducting a Facebook Party can be a beneficial way to earn more sales and meet more people, on a platform that is ripe for relationship marketing. It makes sense that we should be utilizing this tool, so the next time you conduct a Facebook Party, consider following these guidelines and you will reap the benefits which result in a win for you, a win for your host, a win for the guests, AND a win for Facebook!