Promoting your Virtual Launch Party

Once your event is defined, it needs a cover image. This gets tricky.

First, your image needs to be 714 pixels wide by 264 pixels high. It's a specific size. But that's not the tricky part smile.

The tricky part is that for the thumbnails Facebook is going to take a CENTER SQUARE of this image and use only that. So if you have a large image with large words, the Facebook thumbnail is going to be a strange chopped off piece of it.

So you need to make an image that is 714 x 264. Then you need to look at the SQUARE that is 264 x 264 in the middle of that image and that is where you start. Make that area look neat and readable. It's going to be shrunk to 200x200 for the thumbnail so make sure the words there are big enough.

Then when that area is set, fill around it with other words and descriptions. Make sure your banner in general talks about the fun people will have at your event. Remember, they're investing time into this. Give them a reason to come. Prizes. Games. Fun conversation.

Here's my full banner image. You can see the "square" area in its center.

Promoting your Virtual Launch Party

So then when Facebook offers news or info about it, it looks like this -

Promoting your Virtual Launch Party

Feel free to use my image as a template, to know where that central square is going to be.

Now you have an event and it has a nice banner. The next step is to start getting people to sign up for it. You want to give them about a week's notice. That way they have time to plan their schedule around it, but it's not so far in advance that they forget about it. So now that your event is "live", you want to share the news.

First, on your fan page, there is now an entry for the event. Hit the "highlight" button (the star in the top right box of the event) to highlight that event. That way it's featured prominently on your fan page.

Next, go to the event's page. Under the event's main image is an icon with a gear. Use that to "share" your event. Share the news on your personal homepage and on any other pages you run. Encourage people to re-share the news. Do your sharing at a "popular time". I.e. sharing news about the event at 4am might not have a lot of people see it. Try to share the news at a time that makes sense for your audience, to get as many eyeballs as possible seeing that news. I did my shares at 9pm on the Saturday a week ahead.

So for example I shared the event on my personal homepage with the promo tag of "Free prizes! Fun games! Mark your calendars - Friday March 15th at 9pm EST is going to be a blast! I hope you can come share in the fun. I'll be there! Please share with family and friends - all are welcome!"

Send a link to your event page to your Twitter feed, your LinkedIn feed, your Google+ feed, put it in your forums, on your blog, and email it to your friends and family. Each new promotion you do helps to increase the visitor count.

Make sure you "join" your event yourself. Once you have joined it, you'll see even more details about your event. You'll see a list of who is going and who is invited. When you look at the event page you'll see an "Invite Friends" option beneath the main banner image.

Now you can invite all of your Facebook friends directly to the event. You have to click on them one by one, but once you get through that, your invitation list will be populated. They are then able to also invite their friends.

As you start to get attendees for your launch party, some people might post comments on the event page talking about how they're looking forward to attending. Respond to those, thanking people for their interest. That way they know you're a real person that is setting this up and that you care about it.

People can get very cranky about being inundated with email, with good reason. I know I, myself, get cranky about email deluges smile So always make sure you make it clear to your invitees about how they can stop that stream of email messages. Make a post to your event page with something like this:

"If you're receiving notifications from this event and you'd rather not, it's very easy to silence them! Just click on the gear symbol beneath the event banner image. Then choose "Turn Off Notifications". Voila! You'll be all set!"

That way it's crystal clear for them to know how to do that.

Aim to space out your promotions gently over the week between when you set up and when the event happens. Don't send out 80 thousand messages on the first day! You'll wear your audience out. So even if you have 20 prizes, don't post about all of them right away. Space them out so each day you talk about a different prize. That way you build interest and remind people about the event.

Your postings should always have value. Don't just say "the event is in two days!" - that feels nagging. Don't just say "The author is amazing!" - that feels boasting :). You want to post things that draw them in. Post about a fun prize. Post about a fun game. The reminders should be about what THEY will get out of this - Marketing 101.

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