How to Sell Girl Scout Cookies on Facebook and Keep Friends

My daughter, like many girls her age, is going into sales season. In about a week she’ll be carrying around boxes, asking friends and family members to cough up $4 for a box of Thin Mints, Samoas or other Girl Scout cookies. (Our region is among the first to switch from pre-orders to direct, box-in-hand sales.) She’ll join the throngs of girls standing outside of grocery stores, like tiny panhandlers in vests adorned with badges, asking shoppers to help support the Girl Scouts. Traditionally, while the girls are the main sellers, parents tend to bring boxes into work to help move product, and this is especially successful if you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two who run companies because no one wants to reject the boss’ kid.

However, as office life moves into a more virtual realm, parents are taking cookie sales with them. Instead of pinning up a cookie sales sheet on a cubicle or walking into a break room with a few boxes for sale, parents who work from home are turning to Facebook and that can be downright annoying. Plus, Facebook is an easy way to hit up local friends who would normally purchase cookies from your child, but when parents post and repost with frequent reminders, it can turn off friends and Brownie supporters before the first box of Tagalongs is passed out.

To sell Girl Scout cookies on Facebook, follow some simple tenants of social media:

Know your audience. We are not all local to you. It turns out, I don’t care enough about your child to pay for cookies and shipping on something I can get outside of Safeway any Saturday for the next two months.

Avoid overkill at all costs. Don’t keep posting, then posting again and again, every day. I have a decent number of Facebook friends, but each time I log in, I shouldn’t have to see your latest plea for sales. Not only am I not buying, but I’m unfriending. You’re not a carnival barker, so don’t act like one.

Change your message. The same sales pitch cut and pasted each day is tired and a little offensive. If you’re going to be lazy, I will be too and buy cookies from the girl next door. Write something fresh each time you’re going to bombard your friends with the sales message. It’s only polite to be interesting.

Don’t offend your friends. Keep in mind that many of your friends also have daughters selling Girl Scout cookies and targeting an overlapping group of friends on Facebook is akin to showing up on your friends’ streets trying to get their neighbors to buy from you first. Don’t undercut your friends. We’re all in this Girl Scout thing together.

If inclined, put your sales pitch out on Facebook once or twice, but show some restraint and end it there. The Girl Scout song doesn’t go, “Make new friends, but sell out the old…” You can be cut throat in order to sell enough boxes to win that new bandana, but it may be at the expense of a lot of friends. And if you lose your friends on Facebook, that means fewer friends to see to next year.

Be considerate and caring. After all, it’s part of the Girl Scout Law.

By the way, my daughter is selling cookies, if anyone wants to order….

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  1. January 26, 2011
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