Since Facebook is used by 1.7 billion people, it naturally seems like it would be an ideal place to promote an event, and because there are so many people using Facebook, it sometimes feels like reaching people shouldn’t be a problem. As many event organizers and event marketers can attest, Facebook can be a great way to promote an event, but it won’t just work for you. Organizers and marketers must learn how to promote an event on Facebook, before buzz can be generated and registrations can be increased. Does your business conduct events? Are you wondering how to use social media to promote those events? Social media is a powerful tool to gain exposure, whether you’re hosting a physical conference or an online event. Using Facebook for event marketing is an excellent way to increase registrations and ticket sales for your events. The best part?
All of the methods we’ve shared below won’t cost you a penny. Beyond adding share buttons to your calendar listings, there are some easy ways to leverage native Facebook features to get the word out about your events. More than 500 million people use Facebook Events each month to connect and meet up in the real world. It might seem that most of those events are to help organize a toddler’s birthday party, an end-of-semester kegger, or a casual retirement party, but that doesn’t mean Facebook Events aren’t useful for marketers as well. A Facebook event can help broaden the reach for your in-person events, which B2B marketers cite as the most effective content marketing tactic. In second place are digital events, such as webinars/webcasts, which can also get more signups and attendance with the help of a Facebook Event.
Create Facebook Event Page
Maybe it seems obvious, but the success of a Facebook event promotion initiative will live or die with a Facebook events page, set it up well, and it will be easier to find success. Choose a cover photo that’s 1920×1080 pixels. Your cover photo should feel exciting, and should be eye catching, since it will show up if attendees choose to share your event with others on Facebook. SXSW does a great job of using Facebook to promote their events. Make sure to pick a short and memorable event name. According to Facebook’s events team, events with longer names tend to perform worse on the platform. Add data to help Facebook share your event. Facebook has an algorithm that will recommend events to users based on a number of factors.
Be sure to also select the appropriate event category. Popular categories include: Conference, Festival, Meet-up and Concert. Lastly, add tags that you think people might be searching for. In the case of SXSW Interactive, tags like “technology,” “new media,” and “entrepreneurship” would be appropriate. Optimize your event notifications. It might be tempting to notify event attendees about event updates using a Facebook Events page, but organizers should avoid using notifications to engage with registered attendees. According to Facebook’s own research, events that send more than a few notifications experience considerable audience disengagement, as people turn notifications off when they find them to be annoying. Use other channels, like email marketing, or messages through an event app to update attendees about important event information.
Invite People To Subscribe
Make it easy to share your event. Provide a web page with branded downloadable resources that fit any platform. For attendees: Capitalize on their excitement! Provide a button to immediately share a tweet or post when they land on your thank-you page after registering. ClickToTweet makes it super-easy to create a simple, pre-crafted tweet. For affiliates/fans: Make it easy for them to share your event by providing a variety of downloadable content: audio, video, an article, graphics, updates (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+), email/blog posts and blurbs/newsletter updates. Provide options to accommodate different posting styles as well as the image requirements of the various social networks. For example, rectangular images work best on Twitter, while square images look best on Instagram.
When created under your business/fan page, an Events tab is automatically added to your page. In addition to showcasing your page’s current and past events, this tab also offers the option for fans to subscribe to receive notifications when you update your events. This tab is particularly valuable for those hosting multiple events. At a glance, fans can see all of your upcoming events in one place and tap a button to quickly express interest or purchase tickets. It’s difficult these days to get significant organic reach on Facebook. That’s a problem, seeing as 60% of connections to public events happen on the News Feed. But if you share your posts strategically, you can increase your chances of reaching your audience. If you use a social media automation tool to schedule your posts, it’s probably sending them out during peak times, when most people are online.
Engaging Status Updates
Status updates are an easy way to market your event to potential attendees. The key to success is to make sure your updates are engaging and targeted to the right audience. Sometimes people get a bit confused about the difference between sharing updates on their Facebook fan page vs sharing updates in their Facebook event. Facebook FAN Page = All the people that have “liked” your fan page. Unless you are paying for ads, posts via your Facebook page are shown in the newsfeed of those who have already liked the page. Fan page updates are attributed to your company or organization. Facebook EVENT Page = All the people that have expressed interest in attending your specific event. You’ll want to pick the post appropriate place to publish your post based on the desired audience – everyone that likes your page vs only those interested in your event.
Event updates don’t have to be boring! You can include links, branded images, and custom text to make your updates stand out in the newsfeed. Share stories of how you’re pulling everything together and don’t forget, mistakes and challenges happen. Be authentic and share the challenges you face and what steps you took to resolve them. It humanizes your brand and makes you more relatable. Some ideas for roundup posts are marketing tips, favorite tools, blogging tips and marketing predictions. You can also do niche roundup posts such as Facebook advertising tips, Twitter tools, etc. Take one powerful statement from each of your speakers and add that to a graphic containing a headshot of the speaker. This gives people something to tie to that speaker, a glimpse into his or her personality or presentation.
Use A Unified Hashtag
Including relevant hashtags in your event description and the posts related to it can help broaden your social reach. You can use a tool like Sprout Social to brainstorm. Its Trends report will show you what keywords and hashtags are being associated with your brand or industry. This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many events skip this vital step. Create, use and market your event-specific hashtag. You should be using this hashtag well in advance of your event dates and it should be included on EVERYTHING. Every digital image you create, every piece of collateral, your email signature – Anywhere you can think of—share it! By using an event-specific hashtag, you’ll make it really easy for people to find not only what you’re sharing, but what other people are saying, too!
This is also a great way to create and participate in an engaging conversation with attendees and interested parties. Or, better yet, create your own hashtag to build buzz around the event. Now that you’ve created your hashtag, don’t forget to add it to the Bio (About) section of each of your social accounts. An event hashtag in the Bio section is an often-underused tactic, but it has the potential for big gains. Once you have a link to your event, update your Bio section, and then people have a very simple way to find out more. They just need to click the link! Not only does this create an easy way for people to see the event, it also ties that event directly to YOU. Ultimately, people connect to people and this is one way to give authenticity and transparency to you personally, not just the event.
Cross Promote With Influencers
If you have artists, venues, or performers participating in your event, be sure to add them as co-hosts to your Event page. If you’re the Event admin, just click the “Add to Page” button in settings. Your co-hosts can add your Event to their Page’s calendar to help more people discover the event. You can also ask your co-hosts or other prominent influencers to share the event on their Page. And tag them in your posts. If you’re working with a partner to plan and market an event, consider utilizing your partner’s Facebook influence to help generate buzz and increase registrations. On the Facebook event page, the organizer has the ability to add “Hosts.” Doing so will allow host companies to add the event to their own Facebook events module and tab.
Often, major music festivals or concerts will add co-hosts so that it’s easier for organizers to reach potentially interested fans. While an event Facebook page will come and go a company page should have a longstanding following. Event marketers should utilize company pages as a way to promote an upcoming event to an audience of people already interested in the services or products the company provides. Make Upcoming Events A Prominent Part Of Your Company Page. On the left side of all company pages is a column with various modules. One of the modules that can be moved up or down, is called “Upcoming Events.” By simply moving this module close to the top of a company page, event organizers will be able to provide an upcoming event with more added exposure. Facebook also gives those interested the ability to get notified about upcoming events by clicking the “Subscribe” button.
Generate the Buzz With Photos And People
The last thing you need is a static Event page. Post stories, pictures, and other updates to keep showing up in the News Feed and encouraging interest. Maintaining engagement is important; thanks to Facebook’s new live-search algorithm, “trending” posts will appear more in News Feed; but, once engagement drops, so will your reach. Develop content designed to get people excited about the event, and don’t forget to use your hashtags. Posting and interacting with your audience is important before, during, and after the event as well. A few best-practices for your content – Tag influencers, have a CTA above the fold, consider using Facebook Ad manager to expand reach. Enable existing attendees to act as evangelists. For those who have already signed up for your event, they are excited about attendees and are interested in seeing the behind the scenes work that goes into executing something spectacular.
Sharing pre-event content to further excite existing attendees is a great idea because it further engages them, and because providing your most excited audience with awesome content will encourage them to share your event with their friends. In short, sharing exciting content will help to generate pre-event buzz by giving your most loyal audience something they can use to spread the word. Make use of Facebook Live Video. One of the biggest anticipated new marketing trends is live video. In the coming years, Live Video will becoming increasingly important for event promoters to master, but even now it can have a big impact on promoting an event on Facebook. This gives people an opportunity to comment and talk about how much they learned or what a great time they had and how much they’re looking forward to attending again.
Host Contests And Advertise
If you want a great way to drive engagement on your Event page, host a Facebook contest. You can get creative by asking people to do all sorts of things in exchange for prizes, such as – photo contests, Q&A contest, vote contest, caption contest. Getting organic reach with your posts is difficult these days. Facebook offers advertising options that can solve that problem of reach. Some of those ad types are especially designed for promoting Events. Turn your Event into an ad by clicking “Promote Event” or “Boost Event.” You also have complete control of your ad budget, and access to insightful analytics to see how well your paid ads are performing. Just make sure you include essential elements to your promotions – Brand all your images, have a clear CTA above the fold, target your core audience.
Advertising represents the main source of revenue for Facebook, and as a result, the company has invested a great deal in designing an easy to use advertising platform that enables organizers and event marketers to reach a wider audience. That means that if promoters are hoping to maximize ad efforts, ad campaigns must look perfect on mobile devices. Images should be clear, powerful and accompanied by “tap-able” copy. For event organizers simply interested in generating buzz, Facebook allows advertisers to use the “Interested” or “Going” button. Those who click this button are not at all bound to register for the event, though it may serve as some sort of indicator of interest to event organizers. Organizers can later target those who showed interest with follow up ads encouraging them to actually register for the event.