An In-Depth Guide to Using Facebook for Your Direct Sales Business
Direct sellers know that social media plays a huge role in growing your business. Using social media outlets like Facebook is a great way to grow your contact list and build relationships. You can totally use Facebook to make money in your direct sales business, but it’s important to remember that your customers are not on Facebook to shop. They are there to socialize and catch up with friends or family, so spend more time nurturing your relationships with customers and they will naturally show an interest in your business.
General Facebook tips for direct sellers
- Add 5 friends every day and invite them to “like” your business page. Who should you add? I would start with the list of people you might know (you know, the ones Facebook shoves in your face every single day) and add them all. Add active members of groups you are a part of. If someone makes an interesting comment on your friend’s status, add them too! I know some people are skeptical about adding Facebook friends they aren’t familiar with, so if they message you, just tell them you are expanding your circle and they looked like an interesting add.
- Post a quick “hello, nice to meet you” on the wall of anyone that does accept your friend request to start that relationship. Do not go into your sales pitch until they express an interest!
- Cancel any requests that are not accepted within 3 days.
- Don’t over-promote your business! Remember the 9 to 1 rule for your business page: you should post 9 useful updates for every business-y update you post. Useful means educational, informational, funny, entertaining, sharable or personal content. (Some people use the 8/2 rule, but I think 9/1 is better for building meaningful relationships for your party plan business.) It makes you appear like you want to communicate with your customers, not desperate to make a sale. And less desperate is always better.
- Anytime you have a sale, game or event on your business page, share it to your personal page. No need to share every business page update to your personal page; however, be sure to ONLY post status updates that could bring income on your business page. Posting statuses that lead to a business transaction on your personal page is a Facebook no no!
- You should only share one new product per week on your Facebook page. Don’t post your entire catalog, one photo at a time. Preferably pick a product that you actually own or have used before so you can add your own personal experience and/or photos of the product. Alternatively, you can contact former customers and ask if you can share some of their testimonials about your products. People love reviews! Again, this is a once a week task. You don’t need to convince every fan that every product you sell is perfect for everyone. The less desperate you appear, the better your business will be!
- Only post during peak times. How do you figure out peak times? Turn on Facebook chat on your personal page and watch the number of people online at different times for a few days. As you add more friends, your peak times might change so be sure to continue to pay attention to that number. Once you figure out the time of day when the most of your friends are online, use that to schedule posts on your page
- Don’t send out mass messages or messages asking people to check out your site/help you hit your goal/book a party, and don’t tag anyone in pictures or videos advertising your business. EVER. I mean, unless you want mass amounts of friends blocking you from Facebook. Seriously, every time I get a (obviously copy/pasted) message asking me to buy something, I unfriend that person after referring them to Power Coach Alishia.
- Don’t overuse coupons and discounts! In my opinion, you should only give out coupon or discount codes to customers as prizes for games, or as a thank you for hosting a party or placing an order. People that really want a discount will either ask for one or Google it, and with most direct sales companies, that discount comes out of your pocket.
Flash sales for new customers
Once a month, create a special “Flash Sale” for your fans and friends to stir up some new customers. You can create bundles using items that your direct sales company already has on sale, create bundles using coupon codes, or put some popular items on sale (have customers order through you using PayPal, you place the order using your discount). Keep in mind the flash sales are not designed to make a huge profit. The goal of a flash sale is to create new relationships and draw in new customers.
Flash sales can be “today only” or until a specific time of the day. Whatever you choose, be sure that you will be able to reply to any messages and take any orders as they come in. If you won’t be around the computer or phone, hold off on the flash sale. And always post during your peak hours!
Get bookings on Facebook
There are a couple of ways to get people to book a home party using Facebook – you can play games or you can offer incentives. Do not simply ask if anyone wants to have a party, and for the love of everything holy, do not put people on the spot by asking them directly if they want to have a party. You want them to come to you, otherwise they will not be properly motivated and you will both end up miserable by the end of the party.
Deal or No Deal
A great game to play online to get more bookings is Deal or No Deal. This one should be played on your personal page, not your business page – and no more than once a month! Here’s how it works: You come up with a list of 26 prizes. You will make one of them the grand prize – $100 in free product from your company! (More on that later, I know you’re freaking right now.) You want about half of the prizes to be booking bonuses – additional $50 in goodies for hosting an August party, $500 added to your total sales for hosting an August party, free gift for hosting an August party, etc. (Use whatever month you are in and/or the following month – never book more than 60 days in the future!) The other half of the prizes should be discounts or free gifts with purchase. Each time you play this game you should use a randomizer (like Random.org) to change the order of prizes and minimize cheating; I would also randomize it during the game if anyone gets the grand prize.
Some gifts I use for free prizes are personalized party supplies from Zazzle. I add my company logo and website on little gifts. Oriental Trading also has lots of inexpensive party favors that make great free gifts.
During peak hours, you will post a PUBLIC status that says “Who wants to play DEAL OR NO DEAL for a chance to win $100 in FREE product from [your company name here]? Here’s how you play: COMMENT BELOW with a number, 1-26. This is your briefcase number! I will MESSAGE you with your prize, and you reply with DEAL or NO DEAL. If you say no deal, you have one more chance to choose another briefcase. If you choose deal, you have 48 hours to claim your prize! Ready.. set.. LET’S PLAY!” (I also like to Google a pic of the briefcase girls to go along with my status.) Now, as people comment with a number, “like” their comment as you message their prizes to them so you can keep track.
I want you to make the status PUBLIC, not just friends only, because as your friends comment on the post, their activity will show to their friends, who can also play. You might end up with bookings from people you would have never met otherwise! Think about it – if you have 500 friends, and they all have 500 friends, that’s 250,000 potential players and hosts!
The grand prize and any booking bonuses are only valid if and when the winner hosts a QUALIFYING party. Some companies have different definitions of “qualifying;” my company does not yet offer a party plan so my definition of qualifying is 10 guests in attendance. I don’t tell the hostess about the qualifying until AFTER she has booked a date. So, when someone picks a booking bonus prize, I give them two or three open dates to choose from. Once they pick a date I say “Awesome, now all you have to do is make sure you have 10 people at your party to get your bonus gifts! If you send out all the invitations in your hostess packet, you should have no problem at all.”
Another way to get bookings is to use incentives. Again, this is something that should be used no more than once a month. Offer the first person to book a party $50 in free goodies (when they host a qualifying party, of course). You can post something like “The first person to comment here and book a [company name] party gets $50 worth of FREE goodies! This is ONLY available for the first person to comment… so hurry!” If no one comments or messages you, LET IT GO. Don’t share your status or comment on it or “remind” people about it. Try again next month! Once someone does want a party, offer them two or three open dates to choose from, then mention the qualifications.
Online parties for direct sales
While I truly believe that physical parties (in the home, office or location) are far more effective than online parties, virtual parties are a tool you should be able to utilize to make money. It’s really important to find a way that works for you and doesn’t irritate the bejeezus out of people that aren’t attending.
I strongly recommend using a webinar service as opposed to just a Facebook event. You can still create a Facebook event page and run them in conjunction. In a webinar, you can speak normally (instead of copy/pasting impersonal messages) and make guests more comfortable. Most webinar programs allow guests to speak using their microphone or telephone, which makes them a little more comfortable as well.
Plan your webinar as close to a real in-home demonstration as you can. Use your webcam to show your display products. Share your screen and show them the important parts of your website – you don’t know that they are going to click all the links you provide in a Facebook event, but if you’re screensharing, you control what they see! Create a PowerPoint presentation for your recruiting and booking shpeels. Play games like Deal or No Deal or Word Scramble and award prizes. Remember to keep it around 45 minutes long!
Your Facebook event page should be closed, invite-only, to prevent posts from clogging up the newsfeed of friends that aren’t attending. Post games or info no more than once a day. The link to the webinar, your website and contact info should all be in the event description.
Don’t invite entire friends list (don’t let your hostess either) but do invite more people than a physical party since many people won’t even notice the invite or check their events pages. Message closest friends and anyone you really want to attend with a direct link to the event – not mass message, and be sure to personalize (even if it’s just their name). While people don’t like to go searching for a particular event just to join, they are usually more than willing to click the link when it’s convenient.
VIP group for customers
Unlike page posts, group posts are always shown in members’ newsfeeds. In order to not offend and overwhelm your members, the VIP group should be treated like an email newsletter. Don’t post in the group all day every day.
Any customer that makes a minimum purchase (you can choose minimum, I suggest $100-$150 purchase) or hosts a qualifying party (10 guests in attendance, minimum party total, etc.) can join your VIP Facebook group. Send them an email with a link to the group and invite them to join.
Two weeks after your regular flash sale, give your VIP members a special sale. Create bundles for them – one low, one mid and one higher priced bundle to choose from. Most people will choose the mid-priced bundle, so decide which products you really want to sell and make a bundle with those. Then create a higher and a lower priced bundle to offer. Unlike flash sales, VIP sales can last for more than a day – I suggest keeping them active for about a week. Only post about the sales once a day and only in the VIP group.
Your VIPs are your best recruits! You already know they love your product, they have probably hosted a party or made several purchases, So once a month, give them a special opportunity to host a party to earn their start up costs. You will help them plan it and execute it, and use her hostess credit toward the cost of her start-up kit. (If this isn’t an option with your company, consider giving up your profit from the party to help her out.)
Secrets to making money on Facebook
Do you see the underlying themes here? Don’t look desperate! Be enthusiastic, fun, exciting and memorable, and people will want to do business with you. If you treat your Facebook page like the classified ads, you’re going to wind up overworked and underpaid with only yourself to blame!
What are your tips to other direct sales consultants about making money on Facebook? Do these tips work for your direct sales business? Let me know in the comments below!