The Use – and Misuse – of Facebook Events

Facebook Events can be a huge advantage for direct sellers who plan events.  Be it a party, individual appointments, opportunity events, fairs and expos, team meetings, etc, Facebook Events can provide reminders beyond the email which can ensure better attendance at your event.

I recently sat with a group of very experienced corporate direct sales folks, and demonstrated how Facebook Events could be part of the hostess coaching process.  There was huge excitement in the room as they realized the potential of this simple tool.

Yet we also have to be careful not to misuse this tool.  I’ve received a slew of non-applicable events, folks begging for my vote on one thing or another, etc, which can be intensely irritating, and a time waster.  So today’s post is about the use…and misuse…of Facebook Events.

What Are Facebook Events?
Let’s  begin at the beginning.  Facebook Events are a way to invite your friends to things.  I”ve written about them in this post: Are You Using Facebook Events?

When you click the Events link from the menu bar on the left side of your Facebook home page, you can access your Events home page.  From here, you can see what events your friends have invited you to for the week, who has birthdays, etc.  Facebook also includes upcoming event and birthday reminders in the upper-right corner of the Facebook homepage.

When Should I Use Facebook Events?
As I mentioned earlier, I believe that Facebook Events are an essential part of the hostess coaching process.  While Facebook Event Invitations do not replace a voice invitation (which should always be the first invitation a guest receives), they are a perfect reminder, and also allow the hostess to invite people she may not have a phone number for.  She can track who has RSVP’d for her party right on Facebook, and provide a link to the consultant’s replicated website, where guests can check out the products ahead of time, or place an order if they can’t attend.

You can also use them for any live or virtual event.  An ice cream shop in my town uses them when it hosts blood drives.  This is a great use, because it reminds folks who want to attend so they don’t forget to get there that day.  Just make sure that when you invite folks, the event is relevant to them.  Nothing is more annoying than having to take the extra time to discover that you’ve been invited to something in Tennessee when you live in North Dakota.  A cardinal rule of social media is DON’T WASTE PEOPLE’S TIME!!!

The Misuse of Facebook Events
And that brings me to the misuse of Facebook Events.  The credibility you build in social media is your capital there.  The more respect and relevance you build, the more likely you can convert that capital into sales and recruits for your business.  When people get invitations to Events that are more likely to annoy them than achieve the results that you want, then it’s not a good call.

One of these misuses is the use of Events to get votes.  I’ve seen more and more folks using Facebook Events to gather votes for contests, online recognition, and the like.  On one hand, I can see why people do it.  Unlike a message to the inbox, which is seen once and discarded, a Facebook Event has the potential to remain around for a while, and give reminders to the person you’ve sent it to.  But I have to say that this feels false to me.  If we have enough of a relationship that I’d WANT to vote for you, a message to the inbox (or better yet, a phone call) will suffice.  If you feel the need to resort to reminders via a feature not intended for what you’re using it for, maybe you shouldn’t be inviting that person to vote for you in the first place.

Facebook Events, when used well, can provide tremendous benefits for your business.  The reminder feature can increase attendance at your events, and build awareness for your business.  But don’t just use this tool without thinking.  There are some times when it’s not the best tool in your arsenal, and is more likely to deplete your social capital than bring you the results you desire.  Be wise, and you’ll achieve better results.

Do you use Facebook Events?  What are good uses you’ve seen?  Things that annoy you?  Would love to read your thoughts in the comments!

10 Responses to The Use – and Misuse – of Facebook Events
  1. Heather Wolgamott
    September 8, 2010 | 10:27 am

    I have used Facebook Events with some success and do like having it as one of several tools to get the word out about events.

    I do make sure that I only am sending invites to “relevant” people but I have a question about that. Is there an easy way to filter through your friends by location/gender/etc during the invite process?

  2. Heather Price
    September 2, 2010 | 12:27 am

    The reason I like using facebook events for my online direct sales parties is that I can see at a glance who is a yes, no, or maybe and I can message each group. For the yesses, I thank them for rsvping yes and then remind them when it’s getting close. same for the maybes. for the nos if it’s a local event I remind them they can order online. when people post on the wall I can answer questions. When I do an online party which is just ordering but people think it’s a chat party the time can be confusing and people want to know what time EST, etc so I remind them that it’s just ordering, not a chat party this time.

    Having said all that, I only do it a few times a year, really. A couple mystery hostess online parties for my direct sales biz, a local event or 2, and the once yearly or so direct sales party I’ll host for someone else.

  3. cecilia
    September 1, 2010 | 4:03 am

    thank you for the clear and motivational message.I was wondering what I was doing wrong with facebook.This article helps a lot.thank you

  4. Pat Zahn
    August 31, 2010 | 7:33 pm

    Events have become the new SPAM…i only used it once, so don’t remember if you can control the reminders and how often. I just listened to a webinar today where the moderator mentioned that she gets so many that her “actual” friends birthday parties were getting lost in the noise. As usual, I think most people are just naive, not intentionally trying to be a nuisance – they just need to subscribe to your blog Jen!

  5. Debbie
    August 31, 2010 | 3:03 pm

    I have used it for a couple parties, but mainly for family events that I want our family in other states to know about. I did have one host post her show as an event and use FB to do the invites instead of through the website are for her. She ended up with 8 people and an $800 show.

  6. Janette Stoll
    August 31, 2010 | 2:32 pm

    Great post, Jen. Totally in agreement with you and I’m more likely to attend an event if someone were to make a personal contact. Personally, I delete all of the event notices. I question the effectiveness over the annoyance and risk of severing the contact for overusing.

    Janette

  7. Jeannette
    August 31, 2010 | 11:50 am

    I use Facebook events as well as the invite through my website, for actual invitations to events. The problem I have, and a very frustrating one, is that people don’t respond, yes, no, or even maybe. I feel as though I become a negative pest when I need to send reminders to even RSVP. When I get an invitation, if I don’t know if I can attend, I’ll respond with a maybe. Why don’t people’s social etiquette include how to respond to an invitation. It’s a big frustration!!!

  8. Sherrie
    August 31, 2010 | 11:34 am

    I have a smart phone that pulls my Facebook Events from my profile. Recently, my nephew posted his July wedding in May as an ongoing event. It showed up in my phone everyday for 6 weeks. This impacted my calendar so much that I deleted myself from Attending until a few days before the wedding.

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