“Blog Takeovers” are currently the big thing for book bloggers and authors on Facebook. I see them going on nearly every day and they’re a great way for bloggers to get more interaction and materials on their page and for authors to interact with a new audience.
But, just because the audience is there, doesn’t mean it’s free game to dump information and links in every post–just like every social media exchange, you have to make it about interaction. I’ve done several takeovers over the last couple months, and I’ve watched many of my author friends during their takeovers, so I’m sharing with you what I’ve learned from these experiences.
Promotion vs Interaction
Yes a blog takeover is a form of promotion, but it won’t work if you’re just shouting out links and information about your books. Remember you’re not just promoting your books, you’re promoting your self and part of that includes showing that you want to interact with readers.
I’ve never really considered the ratio of promotion vs interaction when I’m doing a takeover, but you could probably strive to do about 25% promotional posts and do fairly well.
Prepare your media ahead of time
What do I bring with me to a Blog takeover?
- A cover image–recently I made a cover image just for blog takeovers and I simply add the blog’s name to the banner. It’s a great way to show readers of that page what’s going on, while still getting your name out there, and paying homage to the blog that’s allowing you to takeover. Note: I’ve never had a blogger tell me that I can’t change the cover image during a takeover, but I always ask just in case.
- A profile image–bring something that shows something about who you are as an author.
- A short introduction with a call to action. “Good evening everyone! I’m Skye Callahan and I’m taking over this blog for the next two hours. For those of you who don’t know anything about me … (I typically do 1-2 sentences about my writing and 1-2 sentences about my life). Who is joining me this evening? Introduce yourself and tell me a couple of random facts about yourself in the comments.”
- A giveaway–I introduce the Takeover Giveaway at the beginning of my takeover and pin it to the top of the page. Typically it contains a short challenge and a prize for one random participant. Don’t forget to use a disclaimer saying that your giveaway is not endorsed or affiliated with Facebook!
- A couple of teaser images or excerpts. You can insert a link in the comments after you post the teaser for anyone who might be interested in more information via Goodreads, your blog, mailing list, etc.
- A couple of games. Even if you want to grab a couple of those weird “Find your _______ name” it’s a great way to get people interacting and having fun. I even started a Pinterest board to collect some of these games so I have them around in an emergency.. Just try to tie it in with your author platform/genre.
- Some random questions that relate to your genre–“Back of a limo or hood of a Mustang?” “What paranormal entity would you be most afraid to face?” You can also ask what people are reading, or the last book they read that they’d recommend to a friend. Not only is this a chance to interact, it’s a chance to do market research.
Keep in mind that you’re on Facebook
Facebook analytics control what people see:
- When your post on a Facebook page includes a link, fewer people see it. This is why many pages put links in the comments rather than the body of the post.
- Posts with pictures often get less views (although in my experience they’re not nearly as bad as posts with links).
- Long posts get fewer views.
- So, consider how you’re trying to get your message across to reach the audience.
- If you want to post questionable pictures and phrases on your own page/wall, I can’t argue with you, but remember during a takeover, you’re on someone else’s page and if the picture gets reported the page owner gets in trouble, too. Play it extra safe. I have done a takeover on a page after another author posted questionable material during her takeover, and Facebook sent the page owner, me, and the other author warnings–even though the page owner and I didn’t make the post.
- I’m reiterating a point above–any time you do a giveaway post the disclaimer.
- Do not ask people to share anything on their wall for a contest. I know people love doing this, but it is against Facebook policy and, you could get yourself and the page owner in trouble–you could even cause the page to get shut down.
- Please, don’t ask people to tag other people to get entries. It’s becoming a circus and it ends up pissing some people off who already get enough notifications. Even if it only pisses off a couple of people–those are people you may never get back, so you have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it.
And finally the most important rule…
Do you have any advice for authors doing takeovers? What has worked for you?