When I held my first Facebook party as a part of my first book release, almost everyone I knew asked what it was. Now, two years later, I regularly receive invitations to several a month. More people seem to be adding this type of event to the schedule for their book release, yet many still wonder what it’s all about.
A Facebook party can be lots of fun…or very boring. Because an online party creates an artificial atmosphere, you need to work harder to create the excitement people naturally pick up on at a normal party. So you must provide opportunities that will entice your guests to participate. For these reason, there are some definite must-haves for making a Facebook party successful.
Start creating the excitement with a visual announcement. Choose several background pictures that will either enhance the party theme or the theme of your book and write your invitation on top of it: one of the initial announcement, the others for reminders at two weeks, one week, several days, one day and the day of the party. These pictures will draw attention to themselves in a way that words can’t. Make sure to post to both your regular Facebook page as well as your author page because you can never be sure that everyone sees every post.
Since the people who attend a cyberspace party are isolated from each other by states and even countries, this creates a special challenge. Staring at a computer screen where nothing changes is kind of like waiting on hold. It’s not fun, and your guests won’t hang around long if that’s what they do most of the time. Since it only takes a few minutes to do most activities you’ll post, you’ll need to provide your guests something new to look at frequently. I’ve found that 5 minute increments work well.
Discounts on our book(s) throughout the party
Give away copies of your book and/or other prize packages
Scavenger hunts for information about your book
Offer extra entries to a grand prize when guests promote your party on their pages.
Post links to special articles/short stories/information related to your book
interesting research you did
funny or inspirational stories related to the book
something in the book that came directly from you own experience
Remind them regularly to keep refreshing the page so they don’t miss the new posts.
Have fellow authors join you with special give-aways of their own.
YOU WILL NEED A FEW PEOPLE TO HELP YOU
Because you will need to post so frequently, on top of greeting new arrivals and responding to everyone’s posts, you will not be able to physically keep up with everything. Find two or three computer savvy friends help you keep events running smoothly
Assign each person a specific job or two:
Notify you when a new guest arrives.
Post the pre-written posts as scheduled.
Check e-mail for answers from people entering contests.
Write down names of people who qualify for the various contests.
WIND THINGS DOWN
As the ending time gets close, your scheduled messages should thank your guests for attending . Let them know how long the specials on your book(s) will last and tell them when you will post the contest winners.
When everything is over, sit back and relax. You still need to send out books ordered and determine contest winners, but the hard part is over. It was exhilarating and fun but worth the time and effort. So give yourself a pat on the back, then finish everything up the next day.