Are you looking for an easy, evergreen way to market your book on social media that will leave your fans raving for weeks over how inventive you are?
One of the rapidly growing trends in social media marketing today is Facebook Messenger Bots. These bots not only save writers and entrepreneurs countless hours every single week, by also answer frequently asked questions, deliver freebies and bonus scenes, and make live broadcasts easier by handling links, quizzes, and other fan interactions.
They are now taking over the book world by creating interactive, choose-your-own-adventure games. Fans have been raving over these unique, custom-created games based on the stories they love!
Most authors haven’t taken advantage of these simple-to-create Messenger bots that give their fans an interactive look into the stories that they either know and love, or are trying to decide if it’s the right story for them to read. Through a chatbot game, fans can play through a series of fun choices designed by the author, and then go back into the story to see how their choices affect the main characters.
Authors who are ahead of the game are currently building Messenger Bots that work as a companion game to stories as an incredible marketing opportunity, allowing readers a deeper look at the book and characters, as well as potentially influencing the book’s storyline by the path they choose to take within the game. Once authors set up their own chatbot game, they can walk away knowing their fans can play it at any time, before, after, or while they are reading the book.
Once fans navigate to the author’s Facebook page, or to a link that redirects them to the page, they can trigger the game whichever way the author has set up the bot. Inside of their direct message inbox, the game will pop up, weaving a story that complements the book, usually from the perspective of one of the characters. Readers can then complete a series of tasks for the game, choosing from several different paths to take.
To build an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure style game, authors should first pick a character to base their game around. Some authors prefer using the main character, while others enjoy writing as if they were the side character. Fans love both versions, so it’s the author’s choice based on what will fit best with the game.
After choosing a character, the author must then pick a mission to send fans on. This can be played in one sitting, or spaced out over the course of a few hours or a few days. The Messenger bot looks like the character is actually typing to the fan through Messenger, giving it a real-time feel. Once fans engage with the game, and start the character interaction, the game will play through in whatever time frame the author designs to it be played in, reaching out to fans at set times seconds to hours away. The mission the author chooses while designing the game should interact with the story, and can range from having the fan find an item the character needs in the story, and putting it in the location in which the character finds it, to answering questions correctly to enter a secret group, to finding out the information that starts the mission inside the book, and getting it to the right people.
Once a mission is chosen, several paths must be created that result in different endings. This is the part of the process that takes the most time because fans must all be given a relatively unique experience. If two friends play the game and clearly pick different options, they should see two unique paths, even if there is some overlap in the storyline of the game. While the paths don’t need to be totally unique, there must be enough variation to make fans feel as though they had a custom experience based on their choices.
Once they’ve played through, fans are encouraged to read the book again, and see how their choices affected the main character, and what happened to them in the book. The game wraps up with buy links in case fans played the game before reading the book. Authors can also give out a bonus scene for the book, and encourage fans to join a newsletter list for more upcoming games and events. Authors even have the ability to switch around the paths inside the game from time to time to keep it unique and fresh.
When the game is all set up, authors don’t need to touch it again unless it is to refresh content because it’s an automated system that will now work for all of their fans on Facebook as evergreen marketing. New fans can play as they discover the book in the future.
Creating a game only takes a few hours at most but will leave fans raving on social media for weeks to come, giving authors easy, reusable marketing that is completely unique to their books.
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K.M. Robinson is a young adult author and professional social media strategist who has been interviewed by Facebook for her innovative work in the field of social media marketing and messenger bots. She’s also represented the USA in a major live broadcast for World Social Media Day, as well as sponsored for her work in marketing through live broadcasting.
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