3.28.2013

Tutorial Series: Facebook Party Basics

Dear readers,

I was recently asked to help some of my fellow Tastefully Simple consultants learn more about how to put together a Facebook party. Since I think it's something that will be useful for them AND for some of you too, I figured here was the place to do it.

I am by no means an expert. Most of what I know about Facebook parties I've learned from attending them. They're very fun because they're versatile, have a broad reach, and let your guests see that you enjoy whatever your party is 'promoting'. Depending on what your needs are you can spread the fun out over several weeks or as little as an hour. But first you need to learn the most basic stuff so that's what today's post will do: give you the bare bones you need to get a party set up.

Please don't hesitate to ask questions or comment! I would love to have more useful tips and tricks to share if you know some and want to answer ALL questions you have.

-- Rhi


Some things to consider first...

These are specifically for hosting/consulting for TS Parties but may apply otherwise.

  1. You need to have a Facebook account.
  2. You can set up your event as yourself from your own profile or your Page though they work a little differently (the instructions here are for doing it from your profile save for the last one).
  3. Set up your event about 2 weeks before the actual Party to allow time to promote it.
  4. Decide if you are having the Party the whole time the event is up or if you are scheduling it for a specific day and time. Make sure guests know what time zone if a specific date and time apply.
 
 
As you go through each step you can enlarge the images by clicking on them.

 
Step #1. Find and click on 'Events' as shown in the above image.
 
 
Step #2. Locate and click '+ Create Event', you may see other events already such as birthdays. After creating your Party this is also where it will show up.
 
Step #3. Fill out the information in the box that pops up.
 
'Name' might be Jane's Girls' Night In Tasting Party or John's Tastefully Simple Party.
'Details' should let the guests know who the host and consultant are, if it's an actual tasting party at a certain day/time. If it will be a Facebook only party make sure you get the host's party page link and add it to this section so guests can go there to buy directly from the party. I recommend adding that link no matter what, this allows guests who can't make it to a tasting party that are far away to still join in.
'Where' is dependent on the host's privacy desire. I prefer to never put a physical address on these and tell guests to message/call/etc. the host for the address.
'When' should have a set date whether it's for a tasting party or a 2 week long digital open house. I like to set mine for the date of the tasting party and then that night edit it to the closing date. Make sure you note the time for the one local to the host.
'Privacy'* should be decided by the host. Friends of Guests is recommended so guests can invite their friends too.
 
Once you're finished click 'Create'. Don't worry, you can edit all of these details later if you have a typo or the time changes.
 
*If you're creating this from your Page and not your regular Profile please refer to Step 12a & 12b for a few notes.
 
Step #4a. Now that your party is created you may want to add the actual host or if you're the host add the consultant. To do so find the little gear icon next to 'Edit' and click it. A dropdown will appear with many options to do things to your event. To add a host (or consultant) click 'Edit Hosts'.
 
Step #4b. In the 'Edit Hosts' window you will see your name. Type and if possible select the host/consultant. Note the note... the other 'host' won't show until they've joined the event. Click 'Submit' once you have your host/consultant chosen. By adding them, you allow them access to all of these editing features for the event.
 
Step #5. You can do this one at any time but I like to do it immediately. Click on 'Invite Friends'. If you're the host go ahead and invite your friends, family, co-workers... anyone who eats food. ;) If you're the consultant why not invite other consultants you know? They can shadow a digital party and learn from you!
 
Step #6. As people are invited and begin responding you will see something like this on the side of your event page. Hosts and consultants both may want to message the 'Maybe' folks about 48 hours before the tasting party or closing of the party to offer a gentle nudge. Many times folks just click maybe because they plan to come but aren't sure they will be online at the time for an online only party or if they know they can't make it but still want to order.

Step #7. Upload a photo to dress up your event page. Click on 'Add Event Photo' then choose either 'Choose from my Photos' or 'Upload a Photo'. Consultants go ahead and use one of the approved images from myHQ, the ones intended for Facebook cover pages work perfectly. Hosts you might choose a photo of something you already have from TS or ask your consultant for an image to use.
 
Step #8. Start putting content into you event page. I like to start with a question/poll so guests who are RSVPing can answer something right away without first commentor jitters. Select 'Ask Question' and type your question, then set up a few answer options where it says '+ Add an option...'. Be sure and decide if you want to let them add an option or not, for some questions this isn't neccessary. Lastly, click 'Post' to post your question.

For TS Parties you can ask a lot of the same questions you do at a tasting such as favorite product or how often their family eats chicken or what they would spend an extra hundred dollars on.

 
Step #9. Keep adding content! Depending on whether you're spreading the party out over a few weeks or a couple of hours decide how often you want to add something new and keep up with it.

For example: In a digital open house spanning a 2 week period I make a goal to post 2-3 things each day of the first week and a half and then add in 2-3 more per day the last few days. (This applies to both a host and a consultant).

In a 2 hour Party period have one post planned for every ten minutes and be prepared with everything you need in advance including your questions, any images you plan to post, and links for products. This allows guests a few minutes to answer/comment or post their own questions or comments in between. (This applies to a consultant). 

The host should make sure to engage their guests and be commenting actively during the Party. If you know a friend has specific area that might interest them be sure and tag them with a comment that applies such as "Sue you might like Bayou Bourbon Glaze because your family grills so much during the summer." or "I think this might make a great gift for your cousin who is getting married, Chris." You know your friends/guests so if you want to have a successful digital party the best thing you can do is make them feel important and noticed.

One of the BEST things you as host or consultant can do is show the guests the product in action. Trust me, this is one area I know lots about as a blogger and product reviewer. It makes the products seem more real and approachable when the guests can't taste it. Start snapping pictures of your products when you use them and post them during the Party. Talk about how you use it or why you use it.

In the photo above you can see a real example. True story. :) To post your photos select 'Add Photo / Video' click the big suare with the + in it and then choose your photo. You can do it again and again, adding perhaps a picture of the ingredients you used, the uncooked item, and then the finished product. Type something about the photos such as how quick and easy it was, why you made it the night you did, or what you served it with. Once you have it all ready to go click on 'Post'. Ta-da!
  
Step #10. Link directly to products! Type something about what you're linking to then paste the URL (web address of the product). You can simply hit 'Post' after that but I prefer to clean it up a little. Once the link is attached you can remove that ugly, long address but the post will still have the link. You may have the option to 'Choose a Thumbnail' or 'No Thumbnail' as well. This is the image showing next to the link. Some links will allow more than one image to choose from. Click the right or left arrow to find which one you want to use or tick the 'No Thumbnail' box if you don't want an image. If, for some reason, you put the wrong link or decide not to use it click on the X and it will be removed, you can put another in as needed. And again, once you have your post put together just click 'Post'.
 
 
Step #11. Two very useful features for you to know are how to share a post from the event and how to make one specific post stay above the others.
 
Sharing a post from the Party is as simple as clicking on 'Share'. You might use it to specifically target someone who didn't pop up as 'Going' by tagging them.
 
Pinning a post is one of my favorite options. It sets up one post to be stuck above the others. Usually this is one related to the party itself such as when it's closing or any changes such as location or what types of orders are being accepted (such as catalog only or website only). You might even make it a link to your consultant Facebook page to encourage guests to follow you there.
 
You can also see 'Delete Post' as an option here should you have a reason to remove one.
 
 
Step #12a. Setting up a party from your Page is a little different. You have a couple of extra options and will not be able to make the event 'Private'. You can set up the 'Tickets' section with the party link if you want, it's confusing for guests but if you want the option it's there. You can also make it so only you (or anyone you've given permission to post as your Page) can post to the event, you probably won't want to do this, but again, you have the option to do so.

 
 
Step #12b. You can also click 'Share' and share your Party event on your Page. This is useful for posting closing date reminders.
 
Ultimately, I would only recommend setting up an event through your Page if you're doing your own digital open house. Otherwise, it's easier and you have privacy options on your profile that work better for our needs.
 
I'm sure there are some things I haven't yet covered but these are the very basic basics you should need to set up and do a Facebook Party. I think I will write another post to teach you how to do a giveaway and why I set up a digital 'Client Slip' for my digital party needs but for now I recommend taking this knowledge straight to Facebook and creating a practice event. :)

The very best way to learn this is to 'shadow' one AND make a practice one to see how you post to it. Mine was the very first one I've hosted and it was successful enough to pay for my entire consultant kit and then some. (That's with a tasting party and sending catalogs out too, but still... I did really well with connecting to my out-of-town friends and relatives).

Now, ask me questions so I know what more you need! I will set up a fake Facebook party if I have enough response and can find a date that suits most of those interested so if you want to see how it works please comment to let me know you'd like to 'shadow' it.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing all this wisdom. I can't wait to try it out and will be experimenting this weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're very welcome Alice! I hope it's helpful and if you ever get stumped I'm just an email away. :)

    ReplyDelete

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