How To Set Up A Facebook Party
So, the release of your book is finally here and you’d like to do something big to help get the word out about your book. Why not set up a Facebook party?
What’s a Facebook Party?
A Facebook Party (in a nutshell) is an event on Facebook that you invite your friends and their friends to in order for them to play games and win prizes. Many people decide to utilize the ‘event’ feature on Facebook for this with the benefit of being able to mass invite all their friends. I am, however, suggesting a new tactic: host the Facebook party on your own page wall. (The one with the likes.) Yes, I said page, profiles don’t work as easily when it comes to reaching the ‘public’.
Three Reasons To Use Your Page:
1. People don’t always like being mass invited to Facebook parties. There will also be some that will get very upset at all the notifications and won’t know how to exit the party. Yes, I’ve had this happen.
2. All that traffic and interaction on your ‘event wall’ is doing nothing to help your page reach. Why does this bother you? Because after the event is done your audience will lose touch with your page because Facebook never saw them interact with your page!
3. Posts to your page get released out to the main Facebook newsfeed... posts to those private event walls are only released to the people who have accepted their invite into your event.
The added benefit is that hosting the party on your page wall feels more like welcoming your friends into your home, rather than some exclusive hide away that they have to jump through hoops to get into.
Number one rule of marketing- make it as easy as you can for people to interact with you!
Ok. So, you’ve decided to host your party on Facebook. What next?
Well, you will need to find some friends that are willing to donate items to serve as prizes! Send out some messages in different groups, make a blog post, send a tweet on twitter all asking for people to donate items to your prize pool! You can always stop by your local dollar store and pick up a few cool items to give away as well.
One way to encourage donations is to offer to help promote the person that donated an item, especially if they are an author or other type of business professional. You can tweet about them, share their Facebook pages, and even share their website links in return for their donations.
Setting The Date
Now that you have your prizes gathered you will want to set a date. If you are having a party to celebrate a release date, consider throwing the party a week after the release date (with major promotion and a virtual book tour before hand) in order to generate buzz and interest in your book and the party. Setting the party after the actual release date gives people time to actually get your book in the mail as well! Another good alternative would be to do the party to launch the book tour, I’ve always found this option to be a little anticlimactic though. You also do not have to be launching a book to host a party! Pretty much any day can be a good excuse for a party!
Another part to setting the date is deciding when the prizes will be rewarded. I have seen many parties where the games go on for a half hour with a new game every half hour or so. The downside to this is that not everyone is available all day. I have left many parties because the prize I was interested in was already given away. Consider letting your visitors enter the prizes all day with a set time in the evening to announce the winners.
The next biggest hurdle you will face is trying to come up with game ideas. You don’t want anything too hard or people won’t participate. If your games revolve around facts from your own books, for example, than you will end up excluding those who have not purchased your books yet. Not good!
Your game also needs to be something fun. You will want the game to be open enough so that anyone can win at random. Games that require one right answer can often end in a tie which can be problematic if you only planned on one prize for that game. Use a random number generator to pick the winner and count down through the list of participants on that game thread.
Before you post your game you will want to use some sort of identifier so that people can scroll through the feed to find the earlier games as well.
Need Some Game Ideas?
Caption This: (By far my favorite) Post a funny or odd photo and invite people to write up a caption for it in the comments. (Random number generator to pick the winner)
Word Scramble: We’ve all done this in school; post a long word and invite people to make as many words out of that one word as they can. Whoever posts the most words by a certain cut off time wins! (this game runs the risk of a tie- use the person who was the first to post the highest number of words)
Five Sentence Fiction: Post a picture and invite people to tell you a story using that picture in only five sentences. (Random Number Generator to pick the winner)
Post a Selfie: Ok that might be self explanatory, but you could always add the extra rule that they have to take the selfie with your book in the picture too. (Random Number Generator to pick the winner)
Link Party: Have everyone go find some facebook pages and share their links in the thread! This helps spread the love too! You could also do this with blogs. Again use Random Number Generator to pick the winner.
Never Ending Story: Participants post one word or one sentence at a time to continue the story... when the game end time comes you would use Random Number Generator to go down the list of comments/participants to pick the winner.
Tag your friend: Don’t encourage them to tag their friend in a photo, not everyone likes that. However, you could ask them to tag a friend in the comments, thereby inviting new people to your page for the party! ((Random number generator to pick the winner from the participants)
Guess the number: Post a picture of a number of items. Let the game continue until the cut off time even if someone posts the right number. First person to guess the number wins!
Here are 5 More Mini Competitions
Now that you have your start and stop times, your games, and your prizes set up you are ready to go! Spread the word about your party a few weeks before the party and send a reminder a day before the party as well. If you are hosting the party on your page remember to post fun and interactive stuff on your page in the days before the party to help drive up your reach numbers. Sharing things from other pages also helps encourage your reach beforehand as well.
When the party day comes, post your rules, post your games and don’t forget to post which prize goes with each game. Then get ready to have a blast!
Have fun partying!
I’m hosting a facebook party on July 10th to celebrate the release of the paperback edition of my book The Alien Mind. If you’d like to come on over and check out the fun please visit us at www.facebook.com/vljennings.
When V.L. Jennings isn't traveling to other worlds through her imagination, she calls Dillon, South Carolina her home. Virginia is the author of "The Alien Mind," a science fiction novel published by PDMI Publishing, LLC. Her second title, "Visionary From The Stars" is expected to be re-released through PDMI as well, in the fall of 2015. She has also illustrated a children's book for PDMI, titled "Wiggle Worm's Shape Adventures," written by Karen and Kathy Sills.