Monday, June 9, 2014

Secrets to Planning a Party

Ever been to a Facebook party? Want to have one of your own?
Creating one is as easy as poking a button: On the left side of your newsfeed page, there’s a button called “Events.” Poke that, and it’ll supply you with a list of all sorts of goings-on. At the top of that page is another button, “Create Event.” Poke that, fill in the blanks, and let ’er rip. That part of creating the party is easy. The hardest thing to remember is to mark what time zone your party will be in.
Quick tip: Until you've gotten your page set up, put your privacy setting on "invitation." You can change that later.
You’ll need a catchy banner. Here’s mine:
I've given the name of the give-away, the date and time, and I've shown what I'm giving away--the five coffee mugs in the picture, along with a copy of my new release. Lynnette Bonner at IndieCoverDesign helped me with my banner, but you can do it yourself through any number of programs and sites, including PicMonkey.
You'll also need some catchy ads for your social sites. Christi McGuire gave me an excellent tip about this: Create several ads so you don't become invisible. After everyone has seen one ad several times, they tend to skip over it. Make different ads, using different slogans, and keep things fresh. This is the first one in my collection:
Notice I forgot to mention the time zone--Oops! Like I said, that's the hardest thing to remember. Anyway, I post these ads everywhere and put the party link in the comment section. The next ads will include the pyramid of mugs, then the individual mugs.
Write copy that is catchy and lets folks know what's in it for them, not just the give-away, but also opportunities to ask questions of a published author, or whatever you think will help to engage them.
And speaking of engaging them--and keeping them engaged--preplan a series of questions and comments that are designed to elicit comments and discussion. Have them ready so all you have to do is copy and paste them into the comment spaces. For instance, in the first FB party I participated in, I asked what the readers would do if they ran into their high school sweethearts (because Emily and Scott were high school sweethearts). The responses were a riot and ran along the lines of "Probably ask him to take out the trash [he's my husband now]" to "So, did they let you out, or did you escape?"
Chances are, you're going to need help with the party because your giveaway prize is desirable, your questions are quick and funny (or thought-provoking), and everyone is engaged and having a blast--which means it's gonna get nuts. Having at least one helper is vital. Your co-hosts can watch for lulls in the conversation, catch comments you may have missed, greet newcomers, remind folks to hit refresh, among other things.
Refreshing your page often is important--but not refreshing it for a minute or two is also important. It gives you a breather and lets you skim through to see what you missed. You don't want to be inactive long, but it never hurts to let yourself slow down a bit. Facebook's "comments" notifications help also, as well as the "globe" icon on the top right of the page.
Be sure to keep pen and paper handy so you can remember whose names you've drawn and what prize(s) they won. Then, as the party winds down, remind them to send their addresses to you so you can send out their prizes (and add these to your contact list!).
Preplanning is key. Plan your ads. Plan the party introduction and climax. Plan the questions. Plan what you're going to do at different points of time during your party--for instance, every twenty-five minute, I'll be giving away a coffee mug, and I intend to use a timer to remind me to do it! Believe me, it goes so quickly, it'll be easy to forget!
It helps to attend one before doing your own, so~~~

You're all invited to the


June 12, 7-9 pm CENTRAL TIME!
(See? I remembered!)

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