Plan a Successful Facebook Party

 

Facebook has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons. From a party that had the cops coming in and getting pelted with bottles to smallbiz owners up in arms about the lack of reach and the whole pay-to-play model. Yes, not really the best way to start the year, I’d say.

But at the same time, there is no negating the fact that Facebook is still the largest social network for most industries and businesses.

Here are some fun facts to highlight this:

874 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products as of September 30, 2013.
727 million daily active users on average in September 2013.
Approximately 80% of  daily active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.
1.19 billion monthly active users as of September 30, 2013.

[source: Facebook]

Well, now that we have the significance of Facebook well established, let’s look at how you, a small business owner,  can continue to use Facebook and turn it into a powerful marketing engine for your brand, without spending much or in this case, nothing!

That’s right.

The Facebook Party: Fun, Fabulous and FREE

We all love a good party and Facebook is no different. In the last few months, I’ve hosted a bunch of super-fun Facebook parties for clients and communities have loved them!

For the sake of this post, I’ll look at a party, we organized for Art of Simple {formerly Simple Mom}  to show you how YOU can host one for your business or brand.

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Why Are Facebook Parties Such an Awesome Idea

  1. They’re free.
  2. Communities love them. Fans are delighted to interact with each other, the brand or business owner and feel deeply connected. Boom! Relationship marketing at its best.
  3. They’re awesome for generating buzz and increasing your reach and people talking about the page {PTAT}.
  4. Facebook parties are fun to organize and attend, even for ISFJs like yours truly!
  5. They’re free. Did I mention that?:)

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 The Step-by-Step Guide to Organizing An Insanely Awesome Facebook Party

Okay, now that you know that Facebook is still fun and that there are free ways to play on it, let’s get this thing going by helping you plan a Facebook party for YOUR brand or business. Ready? Let’s dig in!

Don’t get overwhelmed by the 10 steps. I’ve broken down every.little.thing to make it super simple! PLUS: I’ve made my verrrryy FIRST infographic to help you remember the steps easily too!!

 Step 1: Decide on a Theme/Reason

Every party needs a good theme or at least a reason. Facebook parties are no different. Work with your team or brainstorm on your own or poll your readers or fans to find a theme that is relevant, will resonate and reach your marketing goals.

For AoS, we decided on a holiday-theme since the party was middle of December and it was relevant, resonated and reached the site’s marketing goals of increasing traffic.

For Leonie Dawson, we went with an Amazing Biz+Life Planning Party since it coincided wonderfully with the start of the year planning that business owners do and so again, it was relevant, resonated and reached the marketing goals of increasing the buzz for Leonie’s awesome Amazing Biz+Life workbooks.

 Step 2: Fix the Date and Time

This one is simple. Fix a date and time that will work best for your community and of course, you and your team.

How do you find the best day and time? Why? Study your page insights! Simple!

 Step 3: Create and Send out the Invites

Every good party has gorgeous invites so create some for your party.

Whether you decide to go with a lovely graphic like Tsh designed for hers or an understated but fun-filled status update like we did for Leonie, the choice is yours. But make sure that your invite includes the theme or reason, date, time, time zone and of course, the venue. Yes, your Facebook page is the venue!

You can also send out invites by creating an Event on your page and then, inviting all your friends from your personal profile. This one is a GOOD thing to do especially if your page has less fans but your profile has many friends. You can also then, ask friends to invite their friends who may also be interested.

I’ll cover the benefits and how-tos of Facebook events in another post!

Another place you should send invites is to those on your email list, following you on Twitter and other social networks and sharing the party details with them as well.

The more, the merrier!!

Step 4: Create Conversation Starters or Ice Breakers

You don’t want folks to come to your party and not know what to say to you or to each other, right? So create some great conversation starters or ice-breakers. This will also be the “format” for your party. You’ll ask questions, people will reply and yay, the ball is rolling!

Step 5: Remind People to RSVP

Once you’ve created your conversation starters, make sure that you remind people about the party at least 3-4 times before the D-day. Just post friendly updates sharing what’ll be going on in the party and of course, the day, date, and time!

Step 6: Explain Directions to the Guests

Next, consider either creating a blog post or at the most a Facebook update explaining directions to how the party will roll so that those who’ve never attended one will know what to do and what to expect.

You may also want to let people know that there WILL be a lot of activity on your page that day.

Step 7: Have Someone to Help

You know what happens when you try to do it all at a party? You get stressed, exhausted and you almost never have any fun. Let’s make this one different, okay?

If you have a community manager, like yours truly, you already have help and everything’s taken care for you so, you just need to show up and part-ay on.

If you have an assistant , ask them to pitch in and attend the party so they can “like” comments, reply to any that you may have missed or draw your attention to them and keep an eye out for the gatecrashers aka trolls.

If you don’t have an assistant or community manager, I’d recommend asking a friend you trust to be your co-host and help with the liking and commenting and watching out.

Step 8: Make Sure You Have Swag for the Guests

So, let’s see, you’ve decided on the theme, fixed the date and time, sent out the invites, given directions, planned the menu of conversation, figured out a support system and reminded people about the party. What next?

We need some presents!

You could either get fellow business owners to sponsor a giveaway for the party, like we did for the AoS one or giveaway some of your own gorgeous products, like we did for Leonie.

Make sure you have the giveaway posts also created along with the conversation starters so you can include the relevant wording, links and of course, the all-important Facebook disclaimer!

 Step 9: Do a Final Check

Run through this checklist to make sure you have everything done and in order for your big day!

 Step 10: Show Up, Smile, Chat and Part-ay On!

Yes, that’s it! Show up on the day of the party, get the ball rolling with party reminders going out about 12 hours before the party, and then, just have FUN!!

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Your Friendly Facebook Party Infographic

The Complete Facebook Party Planning Guide

Will you be hosting a party for your small business soon? Have you attended one?

 Have questions, tips, ideas? Let’s get social in the comments!