We’re still waist-deep in our series on Marketing and Selling MM romances. Make sure to catch all the previous posts, because I’ll keep referring to principles we discussed there. Today, we’ll be talking about how to do an effective takeover in a Facebook group.
What is a Takeover?
Let’s start with the basics. What is a takeover? It means that for an agreed period of time, you “take over” a group on Facebook, for instance a promo group or another author’s group. You post a series of posts during your allotted time, intended to promoted you and your books.
Takeovers are well-known in the MM romance community, and readers tend to love them. That’s because they get to hang out with authors and interact, and usually because they can win stuff as well, like gift cards or free books.
For authors, takeovers can be an excellent way to meet potential new readers. I’ve added many new members to my reader group through takeovers, for example, and I’ve seen tangible results in sales multiple times. They can be a crucial step in the Rule of Seven!
Some Ground Rules for Takeovers
Let’s start with talking about some ground rules for effective takeovers. The first is that you make a good impression. This is not only important for you, but also for your host. Show up on time, create a positive experience, thank your host, promote their book, etc. Small things, but they matter.
Second, while a takeover is about promoting you or your books, you can’t post six promotional posts. It has to be a mix of promo and funny, personal and fun. If you post six posts, make three promo ones and three games/fun. My rhythm usually looks like this:
First Giveaway with a game
Goodbye with links
If I can add more posts, I’ll always add giveaways or games and promo in equal measure so that balance stays intact.
Your promotional posts can go a few ways. You can focus on a recent release and promote that one, or spread it out over your books. For me, it depends on the group I’m in and how much time I have. In an mpreg group, I barely even mention my contemporary books, for example.
But no matter what you promote, remember relational marketing. Even when promoting, keep a conversational tone. Don’t just dump the blurb and a buy link. Trust me, you won’t get the same results as with a more personal approach.
Also, shorter is better (and this is something I struggle with in takeovers). When promoting, try to keep it short and sweet. Long paragraphs and posts will wear readers out. Like I said, this is one area I really need to improve in.
As for what to give away, I know not everyone can afford to share gift cards and that’s fine. They work, but so do ebooks of your own books and they don’t cost you anything.
One last thing: choose your takeovers well. There are few things worse than wasting your time, energy, and money/prizes on a takeover that’s completely dead. before you accept, check in the group to see how previous takeovers went or who the other authors are that are coming. Group size also matters, obviously.
Do’s and Don’ts of an Effective Takeover
But not all takeovers are created equal, so let’s talk about the secret ingredients of an effective takeover in a Facebook group. I’m gonna do this by sharing some do’s and don’s that I’ve learned.
- prepare your takeovers well in advance, for instance by typing all the posts out in Word so you can easily copy-paste it
- ask for moderator status so you can schedule your posts. This saved you a lot of stress during the takeover
- make sure to check what other authors are doing during the party so you don’t repeat questions or games
- have a back up game ready in case you can’t use yours for whatever reason
- games where readers can answer with a short answer get a lot of comments, usually. An example is a game I’ve used a few times with pictures of various types of male underwear with the question “Which type are you?” Another option is a “This or That” game, where readers choose between two pics/options
- questions where readers can answer with a GIF are also popular, like where do you live, your fave TV series, etc.
- find a good posting rhythm. To me, it depends on the length of the party and how big the group is. For shorter takeovers and smaller groups, it’s okay to rapid post with a few minutes in between. With big parties or groups, I slow down a little so readers can keep up
- don’t “steal” games from other authors. It’s simply not nice. Sure, some of them may be taken off Google, but some authors develop their own games (I do about half myself), and it sucks when I see another author blatantly stealing something I developed
- you can find games by googling or on Pinterest. Or create them yourself and be sure it’s somewhat unique.
- don’t repeat takeovers. If you do multiple takeovers in a short period, make sure to make them all a little different. It’s fine if your intro text is the same, but change up the games. Our reader community is a relatively small one and they know when games are being recycled
- visual teasers work far better than a link preview from your book on Amazon. But: choose one teaser and post it rather than multiple ones. The more readers have to do to see a picture, the less likely it is that they’ll go through that trouble
- FB is not too happy with Amazon links, so sometimes, it’s better to post the buy link to your book in the first comment rather than in the post
- be gracious to the author hosting the party by giving away a copy of their book. I don’t always do this, but I usually try to
- react to comments! This is a big thing, especially if you’re just starting out. Acknowledge readers by reacting to each comment and by commenting on a few at least. All it costs you is time, and it helps build relationships with readers.
- when promoting, focus on what’s called the “elevator pitch” for your books. Don’t post six paragraphs when one can do
- be very careful with risky pictures. You don’t want to get your host in trouble for violating FB community standards (and be careful, because FB shows a preview for website, so even if you type cockyboys.com, a preview will show up and it will NOT be FB safe…)
- respond to other authors’ pics and posts as well. Be kind
- close off with where readers can find you and connect with you. Make it easy for them and post a link
- don’t forget to close your contests within the agreed time frame and contact the winners. If readers won an ebook, it’s easy to send this straight to their Kindle (just google it)
OK, that was a total brain dump with lots of practical tips, so I hope this was useful. Maybe you’re wondering how to score takeovers. This is where networking with other authors come in. The more author friends you have, the more active you are in building up friendships with other authors, the easier you’ll score great takeovers.