How to Plan the Perfect Online Party in 2023
Online parties have been a part of the direct sales industry for almost a decade! Crazy, Right? Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.
And if you can believe it, there was a time when third-party schedulers like PostMyParty weren’t a thing yet. Consultants who chose to do online parties were on their own. It was the wild, wild west out here. So when this way of partying started picking up steam, getting members engaged, and booking parties and sales didn’t take much. Online parties were exciting and unique. Your customers had never seen anything like it before, and the novelty of hosting an online party gave your business momentum. Now, direct sales customers are more ‘online party savvy.’ If they haven’t personally been to an online party, they’ve heard of them. And it used to be if your parties were getting stale, you could find a new gimmick to get people interested again. But your customers have seen it all at this point! So the only thing that’s left is stellar customer service and strong interpersonal relationships.
In 2023 there is no formula for the perfect party because perfection isn’t real. And people are craving realness above all else!
Think about it - what’s the most exciting thing about humans? It’s all about how we are different. But if you’re using a formula for every party and ignoring the human element, your parties will look and feel like everyone else.
This article is all about bringing the human element into your party planning and making room for adaptability while staying organized.
#1 Set up your host for success early!
You need a place to track all the party data to properly prepare for all the variables that may pop up when planning a successful online partyDevelop a rapport with your hosts as soon as you’ve booked them. If you forget to check in with them leading up to their party, everything will feel more forced and rushed when you’re finally ready to set everything up. In my host coaching system, I send my hosts the host special for the month they booked the same day they say yes. Then I check in with my hosts two weeks before to confirm their date. However, recently I’ve been checking in with my hosts every week before my host coaching starts, and I’ve been seeing much better results when it comes to their follow-through.
This is because having one or more exchanges with your hosts that have nothing to do with the business develops a relationship that’s more than just an exchange of goods and services. Asking how your host is doing every week gets them in the habit of responding to you before it matters. We all like working with people we feel comfortable with, right?
Remember that you will get a mixed response when you ask people how they are doing. Anywhere from their entire life story to no response at all. If you have a host comfortable enough to share information about themselves, avoid giving advice or an opinion. The best policy is to console and validate their feelings. As with most customer service, your job is to be on their side. If you start with a strong relationship with your host, everything else will fall into place easily.
Host coaching used to take no time at all. I would copy the words from the system that I put together and paste them into my host’s messenger. Then, of course, I would check in with them to see if they had any questions, but there wasn’t much back-and-forth conversation. However, if you’re not having many back-and-forth conversations with your host in 2023, you’re not spending enough time on it. Getting your host comfortable and excited should be your priority when planning a party.
If you need help upgrading your host coaching to reflect this principle better, the article on “how to incentive your hosts” will go into more specifics!
#2 Invest in a Pre-Party!
What is a Pre-Party? It's all the posts and host coaching you do to set up the party and inform the guests what to expect from the experience. Previously, we thought setting up your Facebook Group too early prevented your content from being seen. However, if you set up the Group and then have a few posts with high engagement every day leading up to the party- it actually increases your content visibility, you'll have more members in the party, and you'll sustain higher engagement for longer.
Pre-Party content starts the moment you create the party. For example, you want three posts in the Group before you invite your host.
Here are the posts you want to add:
- Post #1 - Important Information: This includes all the party logistical information, such as the shopping link and how the party works. Pin this post to the Featured section of your Facebook Group. Think of it as your FAQ page. It's easily accessible; you can reference it to answer questions to save time.
- Post #2 - An easy game: These kinds of games include "Guess how many, "This or That," "Would you Rather," or "the Counting Game." The game needs to be something that, as members enter the Group, they can respond mindlessly to it. When they engage in content immediately upon joining, it signifies to Facebook's algorithm that the member wants to see your content. Increasing the odds your party posts will show up in their newsfeed.
- Post #3 - A highlight video of your newest products: This post creates hype as guests join the party.
Once you've set up your party, add these posts, and invite your host. Send your host instructions on posting a welcome post in the Group before they begin inviting. Provide an example of what they should say and let them know they can change it however they like to make it sound like them. Your host's welcome post is important because if their guests join the Group and do not see their friend present and excited, they won't return. Establish that your host is there, ready to party, and that will motivate guests to stay tuned to what's coming next.
Having your host get into their party to start inviting 3 to 5 days before it starts allows them to get warmed up. It takes time to invite guests, and in my experience, if you try and rush everything that needs to happen a day or two before the party begins, they become overwhelmed and check out. Pre-Parties set expectations for both host and guests. Plus, they allow you to provide resources to them so that the party can be a valuable experience for everyone involved.
For instance, you'll need to schedule several posts a day leading up to the party. This keeps the Group active, but it also gives you time to post content irrelevant to your products but applies to understanding how the party works. For example, an excellent post to have in your Pre-Party Template is one that explains how notifications work on Facebook and how to turn the notifications for the Group to ALL rather than Highlights. Solving problems before they arise, like your party content not being seen, is critical to good party planning.
Suppose you are having your host invite their guest through personal messages instead of the notification invite option. In that case, you will likely run into the problem of delayed member requests, which can kill a party's momentum. To avoid that, create a 'rule' in the Facebook Group so that anyone who requests to join who is already friends with someone in the Group automatically gets accepted.
How to create the Automatic Acceptance Rule for Facebook Groups:
- Go into the Group Settings.
- Then, under "Admin Tools," you'll see a drop-down menu with "Admin Assist." Click on that.
- You'll be taken to the menu page like the picture below. Click "Add" under "Approve member request if."
- Then choose "Person has 1 friend or more in the group". Once you've done that, it'll save automatically.
If your hosts invite through the notification invite option, you’ll need to set time aside to send reminder notifications. Reminders are located in the Member section of your Group under “Invited.” The three dots next to each person’s name who hasn’t accepted the invite will lead to a drop-down menu allowing you to send a reminder. You can do this manually, or if you use Google Chrome, you can use a plug-in like this one to do it for you.
If you choose the automated route, do reminders when you don’t have to use Facebook for anything else, like later in the evenings. The script will ensure the actions don’t look bot-like by limiting how many reminders are sent at once. However, you don’t want to do multiple things on your account simultaneously because that can be flagged on Facebook and cause trouble for you.
As you can see, all the tips above aren’t guarantees for the ‘perfect party,’ but they minimize obstacles for members and hosts that could get in the way of enjoying the party experience.
#3 Keep Track of Everything!
You need a place to track all the party data to properly prepare for all the variables that may pop up when planning a successful online party.
This is because when you need to make decisions, you’ll have all the information to guide you to make the best one for your host. Party data can include the number of members in the party versus how many were invited, the sales of the party, who you’ve contacted so far within the party, and any notes about the host to keep in mind.
If you need help creating a system to keep track of all your party data, read through this article about the best ways to manage your online parties.
#4 Customizing Your Party Template
After connecting with your host, your Template is the 2nd most important factor in planning a successful party. It’s how your audience gets to know you and, when properly utilized, convinces them they want to work with you! Showcasing who you are and your passion for the content you share will increase your bookings and sales because people want to do business with people they relate to. And the more authentic you are, the more relatable and marketable you are.
At PostMyParty, we have many resources to guide you in creating content because we know firsthand its importance to your business’ growth. So, if you feel overwhelmed with making your content from scratch, look at this article on how to customize a shared party template.
After figuring out your voice for your content, you’ll still need specific kinds of posts for your Template every day the party is running.
- Game - You want to include an engaging game every day to keep the guests in the group coming back.
- Booking - Have a daily post explaining the different perks of hosting. Add hints of value for hosting when referencing certain products too!
- Recruiting - even if you are not planning on growing your team because you enjoy the selling portion of your business, you still want to include recruiting posts. These include anything that showcases your company in a positive light. Plus, it also shows that you are a part of something respectable!
- Order Reminder - Remind the guests at the party to place their order with the shopping link included in the post. This minimizes the chances of someone missing how to place their order. It covers all your bases and lets the message sink in each time it’s mentioned.
- Repeat Products - Create posts using a lot of the same products over and over again. Choose products you use daily, even if it’s only a small collection out of the entire catalog. If you become an expert at a few and showcase them repeatedly, you’ll see your sales increase in those particular products!
#4 Investing in a Closing Plan
Don't forget about the importance of a Closing Strategy. And I don't mean 'closing a deal.' I mean the process you provide your host and party guests leading up to and after submitting the party.
If your company does direct shipping where the order for each guest is submitted 24 hours after it's placed, instead of all at once after the host has finished shopping, then it might feel like there is little reason to have a strict strategy for closing a party. The orders are already in, right? So if the host wants to take forever to put their order together, no sweat off your back.
The issue with this is it leaves a lot of loose ends. For example, letting hosts decide when to close their party instead of telling them when it closes can lead them to feel like you're abandoning them to figure it out on their own. And as we've already established, your main priority when planning a party is to develop and sustain a relationship with your host!
When the last day of the party comes, you want to send instructions to your host about what to expect. Provide step-by-step instructions on placing their order and give them personalized recommendations based on their host rewards and the preferences you've learned about over your time working with them.
You also want to put together a Closing Template, AKA posts that notify the party guests that orders have closed and where they can contact you in the future. Provide all the links to your business page, VIP Group, and your consultant website, and request them to send you a friend request.
Change the name of the group to "CLOSED: x party"
Create a post where you tag everyone who decided to book a party with you in the future and thank them for supporting your business and helping their friend.
When the host has finished placing their order, double-check everything with them and confirm their order before submitting it. Then verbally communicate that you are submitting their order with the total. Send a closing remarks response to each host, thanking them for working with you and supporting your business. Finally, you can create a survey to send to your hosts to ask what they liked and what they think needs to be improved. Use the answers in the survey to tailor your party plan.
Planning an online party in 2023 requires constantly updating and tweaking your system to reflect your customer base better. However, the thing that never changes and will always carry your business is devotion to your customer relationships!