Scholastic engages—and increases—Facebook fans with live author chats


Most people can name at least one book from childhood that they loved—a
book that made them laugh, think, or imagine a world different from
their own.

What if you had the chance to talk to the author behind your favorite childhood book?

For fans of its Facebook pages, Scholastic Inc. offers such an opportunity. 

To better engage with the 3 million readers, parents, educators,
librarians, etc. who comprise its fan base, Scholastic invites authors
and experts to host live chats or takeovers on one of its 27 Facebook pages.
For this unique and interactive approach, these chats and takeovers
earned Scholastic a first-place win in the Best Use of Facebook category
in PR Daily’s Digital PR & Social Media Awards.

PR Daily’s 2012 Digital PR and Social Media Awards were presented by Synaptic Digital. Learn more about Synaptic Digital here (pdf).

Scholastic began experimenting with live chats and takeovers as a way to
not only engage fans and connect them with authors and experts, but to
establish itself as a credible source of information for parents and

R.L. Stine takes over Scholastic’s Facebook page

R.L. Stine, the author behind the “Goosebumps” books, launched
Scholastic’s social media takeover series. To get fans in the Halloween
spirit, Stine “took over” Scholastic’s main Facebook page
on Oct. 28, 2011, for two hours. Scholastic’s social media team stepped
aside to allow Stine to post jokes, photos, and fun memories with fans,
and answer fan questions as they came in. 

It was easy for fans to interact with Stine; all they had to do was log
in to Facebook as they normally would, go to the Scholastic page, and
post their questions directly to the page. To let fans know the event
was coming up, Scholastic promoted it via both traditional channels and
social media.

After Stine’s successful takeover, Scholastic scheduled live chats with
Judy Blume, author of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” and Dr.
Harvey Karp, pediatrician and author of “The Happiest Toddler on the

How it works

Prior to each chat and takeover, Scholastic preps authors on what to
expect from the community and social media platforms. Scholastic
encourages authors to use their own voices, which means it must choose
authors whose voices reflect that of Scholastic. 

During all of the chats and takeovers, the Scholastic profile picture
changes to one of the featured author or expert to ensure fans can
quickly and easily identify with whom they will engage. Scholastic
starts each chat with a welcome message, an announcement of the day’s
featured guest and the topic to be discussed, and an invitation to
submit questions and comments. The author or expert then gives his or
her own welcome message and kicks off the discussion. Due to the
interactive nature of social media, the authors primarily let the fans
lead the talks.

The results

During his two-hour takeover, Stine posted 21 updates that attracted 513
comments, thousands of likes, and 41 shares. Blume posted 57 times
during her chat, and answered dozens of fan questions. Karp’s chat
garnered 92 comments and reached more than 14,000 people. All the events
increased likes to Scholastic’s Facebook pages.

Scholastic’s Morgan Baden talks social media strategy with Publisher Mark Ragan:

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