I’ve entitled the piece. Now we’ll see if I can live up to that number! The subject is the contest I described at February 2015 Book-a-Day-Giveaway.
- There should be a set of rules that are linked to on every page temporarily set up for the contest. The rules on this one were described as:
And how do you get your name entered? You share this post to get the book designated for that day. That’s all. You can do it from this page to any social media or from the Silver Boomer Books Facebook page. We have to have at least ten shares to have a valid day’s contest, but if we need more time we’ll extend that day’s contest until we do.
Several of the things I have to say in the lessons learned below would enhance that, but it should look like contest rules. Not everybody is as willing as I am to play by ear as you go. That last phrase that we would hold the contest open until we had ten shares was a later, an addition after several of the early days lacked ten shares.
- The shares should be public. When a person who is not my Facebook Friend shares a link, I’m likely not to catch that, and that gets embarrassing, necessitating “Mia Culpa” drawings when I find out. And the result when the contest coordinator misses a share should be addressed in that set of rules described at #1 above.
- What I should have done on each post announcing a book to be won is to post it on the SilverBoomerBooks Facebook page but do it as Barbara Rollins who was friends with most of the people named. (And that’s because when someone shared a post who was not my friend, I sent a friend request. When someone drew a name who was not my friend, I sent a friend request. When we had an anthology author for an early anthology, one for which I had not already researched all the authors I could find, I did and when I found them…I sent a friend request.) That post reached 1,163 people, got 3 likes, 17 shares. The second day was also an anthology, and the names of 33 contributors were linked on Barbara’s page. However, the post on the SBB page was different, one of the poems from the book From the Porch Swing rather than the linked authors. The SBB page got 104 page views, 58 more than the single author Writing Toward the Light the next day. On the Porch share Barbara’s post with links to the authors got 15 likes, 16 shares and 7 comments…but who knows HOW many “people reached” because that’s not available for personal pages without boosting the post.
- If you’re really doing a Facebook contest don’t say that sharing in “any social media” works when you doubt you know the names of all the social media. I looked at an ad on the door of the gym this morning and could not name one of the symbols. I asked the staff person nearest and she could not remember the name. A second told us it was “Foursquare.” I can’t recall ever before hearing that name.
- If you’re going to post some of the days’ drawings on Google+ put all of them there, not just a smattering.
- If your Facebook feed automatically becomes a Twitter feed, are you checking the Twitter account for shares? Are Re-tweets the same as shares? Do you need to rename what you’re asking for if you’ve considering other social media?
- Keep a record more easily accessible than going back through the posts. In this one I did keep the entries every day, though sometimes when I was compiling the entries I put a person on the list twice for a single share. I did like the fact I kept up with what I had recorded (supposedly) through “liking” the post as I recorded it, but then again, I didn’t reveal that was what the “like” meant, so it didn’t help the participants to call my attention to those missed until after the fact: after I listed each person who had shared that day’s page. Records kept should include the names of the people drawing the winning name.
- Having someone else draw for the book was a spur-of-the-moment decision but worked well. It gave me an opportunity to talk to strangers in the places I frequent, to ask if they had a Facebook account, and to befriend them there, increasing by their friends at least that one-day-report spiel’s reach.
- If each person commented on a post before they shared it, as some did simply saying, “sharing,” they would be easier to track.
- A major concern at the end was that people didn’t know what the books were about. I guess it was a concern while they shared as well, but I became aware of it when people who had been very active in the contest said they needed more information about the individual books. That is going to be addressed on this site…for potential future contests, but more importantly, to get the message out about the books. They will be described in this Repercussions blog, and we will encourage book reviews, all of which will be tagged with the book’s name and pulled up easily.
- As a sideline to the lessons of the contest, I finally recognized the value of categories and tags on web posts.
- I found it necessary to share the page to my own feed rather than the SilverBoomerBook feed because when I tried to do the latter, the names of the authors of anthology pieces and some of the single-book authors did not become links and draw the attention of as many people. So I shared all of the both places. (I hope! It did get confusing after a while.) I’ve described in #3 a better way to do it, but I would explore whether if “Barbara B. Rollins” is posting on “SilverBoomerBooks” it is as prominent on her feed as it would be if it were an original share from the web page on this site describing the day’s contest.
- At the beginning of the contest, I struggled to get the ten shares that sounded like a minimal number when I set it up. And by the end, ten were easy. But it took a while to develop the momentum! To be honest, there were a few that even after pushing got to eight or nine and sputtered out. I recruited people to do me a favor and share those, and I am profoundly grateful to my friends who did that for me. But it should be addressed in the rules, or something else should be done to encourage the participation up front. Those something else’s include the next two of the 27.
- A decision should be made ahead of time as to who is eligible. My friend Miranda O’Donnell from County Cork, Ireland, shared some of the early posts, and goodness, her help was appreciated. There was another share I didn’t note until working up the report, that one from Brazil. I had contemplated postage but not of the international variety. Those people might have been included but they would receive a Kindle version of that book or, if the book were not in Kindle format, a pdf version of the book. Or they could be excluded. Among the participants were two people who, if we were talking legal relationships, were well within the 3rd degree of consanguinity. Another was a partner in Silver Boomer Books. I decided the first were eligible but informally excluded my partner. This is NOT to say I did not GREATLY appreciate their participation, for it made getting the numbers necessary to make a day’s drawings possible in many cases. But the decision should be made before the contest began and stated in the rules (See #1) as to who could enter.
- If there were a rule that each person participating should give SBB their physical or email address, the sending of books won would have been greatly facilitated. The downside of that is that the requirement could easily dissuade shares.
- I’ve wasted an opportunity to build up a community open to receiving emails or any other attempt to market the books. I could have required each person to have “liked” the SBB Facebook page, but I well know how often those posts don’t get seen even by those who have liked the page. Besides, it’s as easy to dislike as it is to like, and if they did see it, who’s to say they would continue to? Certainly there are other and more effective ways to build the marketing database, but again, do they deter participation?
- The introduction of a form for the 26th day, pick your book, was kind of a last minute move. The idea was not only to find out what books they chose but to try to nab some language about the books helpful for other marketing attempts, and it did that. The other part of the form, what do you want to know about us, was quite helpful in analysis of where we were failing (besides the fact we hadn’t tried any real marketing efforts since the end of 2011.)
- Controverting #17, I have a good relationship with a fabulous DJ, Rudy Fearless Fernandez with KEAN-105. I had not visited with him on air in 2014 because I didn’t have noteworthy news to report, but this contest, had it been planned before the last minute, would have been helped greatly by announcing it in late January or early February on the air. All I needed to do was ask.
- You can put photos in iMovie by dragging them in there, you don’t have to get them into PhotoBooth or iPhoto! Well, that may not seem relevant as what I learned during the contest, but it is as to how I could have promoted it. But I’ll digress from the digression.
- Using surveys from Facebook is a possibility, but they have to make money from somewhere, and that’s a moneymaker for them. They had a sale right as I was looking at using their survey, but the normal minimum charge is $89 for a year. But this is a sample of what the free one would have looked like. Since I didn’t use it, I have no idea how well it works. I know embedding the link on a webpage is a premium upgrade feature. If it were not, you could try it out here. 😉
- I did the Test Run for Day 27 on Formsite.com and was satisfied with it, would have used it for the actual run of the survey but for the fact their site was freezing up when I wanted to design it, so I went to … but that’s the next thing I learned. At Formsite the free version is 5 forms, up to 50 items but limited to 10 results per form, and up to 50 MB of space. Since it’s limited to 10 responses, I’m glad I didn’t go with that one. And I continue to get results from that form daily as well as results from the one I partially constructed and didn’t use…and emails asking me what I think of their service. I’ve gotten 27 emails from them from February 27 to March 5.
- I’ve always thought of JotForm.com as a premium site, but that’s based on an organization to which I belong that believes in not taking freebies from outside enterprises. I found when I couldn’t get into Formsite that JotForm is also free, their terms for the free plan being 100 Monthly Submissions, 10 SSL Secure Submissions, 10 Receive Payments, 100 MB Available Space, 1 Sub-user Account, and Unlimited Forms, Reports and Fields per Form. Emails from them include the welcome message when I set up the account and the actual submissions from people filling out the form.
- The two videos I did, one integral to the contest, the second ancillary, were effective and well received, something people took the time to do and promote…even when I didn’t ask for those to be shared.
- People continue to share my posts much more than they did before. That’s good not only for the actual Silver Boomer Books business but for the blog I do (with OAStepper) on the Eagle Wings Press imprint site, Recovery Daily Dose. And it’s all part of one big picture, so all the shares benefit SBB.
- I’ve come to the conclusion setting up a Facebook page for Recovery Daily Dose would be advantageous although I’m already sharing those daily poems on the EagleWingsPress.com website and at blogspot where they began. I was hesitant to do that before because I had so many separate pages I managed on Facebook. We started out doing one for each book besides the SBB one and one for each of the two imprints. And we ignored them. So during the month I consolidated pages for specific books into the imprint page. I intend now to start bringing the limited number of pages to life, rather than their remaining barely on life-support.
- The folks here, those I’ve known since I was two years old and those I met during the contest, are the absolute greatest and most marvelous people in the world! Thank you.
- Setting the number at 27 was a wise decision because for right now I’m out of things to add.