New Guidelines for Facebook Parties for Direct Sellers

Facebook Shopping Parties for Direct Sales Party PlanThe 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!

Complete detailed instructions on running Facebook parties is available through my video lesson here or in my book, Social Media for Direct Selling Representatives. Questions? Leave me a comment!

For more information on marketing your business with social media, be sure to check out my book, Social Media for Direct Selling, available at online retailers or here.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Emma Braford November 2, 2015, 5:03 am

    I’m so nervous about running Facebook parties through my business page since they can’t be set to
    Private. Who will see the posts in their feed? All my friends? Everyone who likes my biz page? Or only those invited to the event?

    Reply
    • Karen Clark
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      November 5, 2015, 5:23 pm

      Great question and one I am answering in my new book Social Media for Direct Sales Representatives ( http://www.socialmediafordirectsales.com ). Here’s what that portion says:

      I am worried my Facebook friends will see all my activity in parties because they are public. Will they?

      No. Your Business Page is not externally linked to your personal Profile except that you need to be logged into your Facebook account to manage it. It is a separate entity that people must “subscribe” to by liking or in the case of Events, they need to join or mark themselves as “Interested.”
      Everyone’s News Feed is personalized to them based on who you are friends with, Groups you belong to and Pages you’ve liked. In addition, Facebook’s “News Feed Algorithm” (formerly known as Edge Rank) takes all of those things you are connected to, and decides which ones to show you based on your activity on Facebook and other factors. Therefore, everyone’s News Feed is completely different. Your Facebook friends will only see your party posts if all of the factors that go into the algorithm apply to each of those people.
      At the time this was written, studies show only 2.6% of all people who like a Page are shown its posts. This amount used to be much higher so if in the past you’ve held business Page events and most of your “likes” saw the post, be aware that the “reach” has changed drastically. So even if all of your Facebook friends have liked your Page (the only way they would ever see your party posts) only 2.6% would see the posts from your Page, and even less see posts from the Event unless they were invited and joined.
      Note that for this advice to work, it is important that you follow my recommendation to not “join” the event as your own personal Facebook profile. Your business Page will be the host as well as your Host as co-host once you add her. You will want to always comment on the party posts as the business Page as well. One way this could possibly be untrue is if you happen to have a lot of other consultants from your company who have liked your page and “lurked” in your events by reading or even interacting with posts. In this case, those consultants may certainly see more of your Facebook party posts because by interacting with your Page they have “taught” Facebook to show them more of those types of posts. As stated in this post (http://www.mybusinesspresence.com/why-direct-sellers-should-not-like-each-others-facebook-pages-and-what-to-do-instead/) I do not recommend fellow consultants like and interact on each other’s Pages so following that guideline would eliminate this issue as well.
      Now compared to business Page events when it comes to the algorithm and low visibility, the opposite is true for posts that are generated from a personal profile, especially public posts you generate or interact on from your own personal Facebook. Your Facebook friends are much more likely to see posts you create, like, or comment on from your personal profile because those “stories” are not governed by the algorithm as much and posts that are set to public are especially visible from and by personal profiles.
      Facebook assumes if you are friends, you want to see their posts, and because of the likely mutual friends and the amount of viewing and interacting, Facebook tends to show you MORE from your friends’ personal Profiles, personally joined groups and personally RSVPed or hosted events than from Pages you’ve liked or Page events and activity.

      I hope that helps! Watch for my book for very specific training on how to do these business page event parties. Coming around Thanksgiving time!
      Karen

      Reply
      • Corey Burge December 16, 2015, 12:02 pm

        That was VERY helpful! Thanks Karen!

        Reply
  • Ellen Tichich December 30, 2015, 6:54 am

    By adding only guests who are interested, would my events be considered “private”?

    Reply
    • Karen Clark
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      February 1, 2016, 9:33 am

      Hi Ellen – sorry I missed this comment earlier! If you are running them on a business page they would never be truly private but by using the invitation function your posts in the event would MOSTLY be seen only by those who RSVP. However other people who happen to click on your Events tab could click on the event and see it, or friends of guests who like or comment on the posts could potentially see it etc. There is no way to make it truly private.

      Reply
  • Karen Mecklenburgh March 19, 2016, 3:56 am

    How can you tell if you are in fb jail and how long do you stay there for?

    Reply
    • Karen Clark
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      April 3, 2016, 8:35 pm

      You usually try to do something like post in a group or comment and you get an error message but sometimes you don’t. Sometimes things just don’t work! And sometimes it will tell you the time period but most of the time it doesn’t. It can range from an hour up to 2 weeks. I wish I had a more definite answer for you!

      Reply
  • susan March 19, 2016, 4:56 pm

    I held an event in my facebook group last month and was planning to do it again, making it exclusive and private to group members only, and getting more group members. Would you say it’s best to do it from my business page or stick to the group?

    Reply
    • Karen Clark
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      April 3, 2016, 8:37 pm

      If you are mostly doing salesy type posts I would do it on a business page. If you do choose to use a group I would be careful not to be too salesy (not too many posts with links or calls to action) and not post too fast etc.

      Reply

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Karen Clark

Karen Clark, Social Media Speaker.When she was an active direct sales leader, Karen Clark walked the walk as she sold, booked, and supported a team offline, while expanding her reach and service online. Now working with direct selling companies and their field representatives as a speaker and social media corporate consultant, Karen uses her 17 years' online marketing expertise to teach audiences exactly where, when, and how to establish an ethical and effective online presence with social media, while remaining true to their principles and personal business. Read more

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