Are you getting frustrated with having to boost posts on your Facebook page to gain reach?
Would you like a way to interact with your target audience for free?
Do you want to have more people talking about you and your business?
If so, (and let’s be honest who wouldn’t?), hosting a Facebook party could be a great marketing tactic for your business.
WHY? 1. They are FREE 2. They offer a fantastic engagement tool and allow you to truly put ‘social’ back in social marketing. 3. You can create a real community brought together by an association with your brand 4. They are a great way to get people talking about you and encourage new Likes to your page and your other social media channels.
HOW DOES IT WORK? A Facebook Party is like a real party in many senses apart from there is no need to clean up afterwards and you don’t find yourself looking after the one who always has that little bit too much to drink! You decide on the best date and time and issue invites which need to be RSVP’d to. You can opt to have an ‘open house’ or invitation only and the guests all come together at your chosen venue. In this case, this will either be your page or a specific event page that you have set up for the occasion….more about this later.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO? Decide why you are having it Now, we all love an excuse for a party but as with all the best parties, they do require some planning. This starts with the theme or reason for hosting in the first place. It is important to be clear here so as to ensure you have clarity around what you want to achieve.
A new product or service to sell A re-launch of your brand to promote A seasonal special offer to highlight
These are just some ideas that you might like to base your party around – I am sure you can think of others.
Choose when to have it Now that you have a theme, you need to decide on the best date and time, taking into account your target audience and when they are most likely to be able to attend. You also need to give consideration as to how long you want the party to last. What would work better, a short party of say two hours where everyone attends or more of a drop-in over the course of 4-6 hours?
A valuable tip – don’t forget to include the time zone!
Select your guest list As I mentioned before, you can choose to issue an open invitation or be quite selective about who you would like to attend. Of course, an open invitation will ensure that you have maximum attendance and ensure that you create a real buzz. However, it may be that you are very niche and wish to interact with a select group of individuals to gain the most value.
Send out the invite If you have opted to host your party via an event page, you will need to do the following:
1. Go to your page and click on the 'Offer, Event +' option that appears on the right 2. Click on Event 3. Input the name of the party, description, date, time and who you want to invite. You will see that your page Likers will automatically be invited. 4. You will now be taken to you event page where you can add a header image for your party 5. You can also choose to share your party details or send out selected invites.
Alternatively, you can create an invite as a new status on your page – if you go down this route, it is strongly recommended that you include a graphic to create standout.
Remember, just because you are hosting your party via Facebook, you do not need to restrict the invite to your Facebook audience! It is your party and you can choose to spread the word as far and wide as you like … just make sure you let your guests know if you are happy for them to share the invite with others.
As well as sending the initial invite, it is also important to send out friendly reminders leading up to the event. This provides a great opportunity to outline how to attend and what to expect … this may be your guests first time and you don’t want them getting ‘lost’ on the way!
Plan your party Now that you have got the logistics out of the way, the fun stuff really begins as it is time to get creative! As the host, you need to start the conversation, get the party started and get everyone dancing! Well ok, not literally dancing, but you do want them to enjoy themselves and join in. The best way to do this is to have a ‘getting to know each other’ type question that can be related to the theme of the party. In deciding on the best option, you need to consider the target audience and their expectations. For example, I recently got involved with a Facebook Party as part of the launch of a new book and as it was an erotic romance, the conversation started with something quite risqué.
As you want the conversation and engagement to continue flowing for the duration of the party, it is a good idea to have one or two additional people helping with this. They can ask you questions as the host as well as add comments and likes to the posts of others.
Reward your guests for attendance Remember your guests have just given you some of their most valuable commodity – their time and should be rewarded for this. This could be in the form of a prize draw with automatic entry for all attendees or spot prizes offered throughout the party. One mechanic that worked really well for the book launch was a photo caption competition. Very easy to do – just post a fun photo (ideally related to your party theme in some way) and ask your guests to come up with a caption, offering a prize for the best one.
I hope this article inspires you to host your own Facebook party and I would love to hear how you get on, if it does.