Get Back to Basics
Any successful event starts with fundamentals like food, decorations, music etc. For Facebook Events, the fundamentals include an attractive and optimized cover photo that is set to 1920 x 1080 pixels (or a 16:9 ratio). This is the first thing that your audience will see, so if you want them to keep scrolling, spend some time thinking about the image that you want representing the event. Bold and eye-catching creative is as important here as it is for any other Facebook campaign.
But make sure to infuse the event description with substance too. Give the event a clear name and description. Provide the relevant date, time, locations and directions to the event. If it costs money or requires pre-registration, provide that information too along with any links to external ticket purchase options or event registration pages. If an event is recurring on multiple dates look for the option to alter the frequency of the event, to highlight each day it occurs at the top of the completed event page. Dates and times should be mentioned in the description, but don’t rely on users to read through that to find out when the event or events are occurring.
Grant Access to Multiples Hosts
Many hands make for light work and many profiles draw more eyes. You can capitalize on that by inviting individual guests to become co-Hosts of the event. Co-Hosts can be granted the ability to manage posts, update event information and even invite additional guests. Multiple hosts, with their individual Friends lists, expand your organic reach. You can use multiple Hosts concurrently throughout the promotion cycle or have temporary Hosts who are only promoting the event within a limited time frame.
Pin the Event to Walls
Both individual profiles and organizational pages offer the Pin feature which allows you to keep the Event visible at the very top of the feed. A pinned event will then become the first thing people find when they visit the page, saving them from having to navigate to events or scroll through your feed. If there are multiple hosts for the event or admins for the organizational page, ask them to utilize the pinning feature as well. With multiple feeds pinning the event from initial setup through the big day, it will maximize your ability to maintain awareness and provide easy accessibility.
Allow for posting and audience engagement
Audience engagement is a key component of promoting an event on Facebook, so it’s a good idea to allow for posting from non-hosts. If there are concerns about what’s being posted by invitees to the wall, that’s exactly what Hosts and admin privileges are for. But don’t lose out on the value created from user-generated content and community-based enthusiasm surrounding the event. Enable audience posting and foster the appropriate conversations as the event nears.
Respond to comments and make note of frequently asked questions that might help you improve your description. Cultivate conversation by encouraging others to offer recommendations, stories and/or photos from previous events. Showing the guest list is another way to engage your audience. When people can see who among their friends are interested or going to an event it can help influence their decision to attend.
Add and Share Content Leading up to the Event
While invitee generated content is golden, don’t expect it to suffice for content posting. Keep awareness high for the event by supplementing any community driven posts with more “official” content from Hosts. This could include counting down the days to the event, cycling through frequently asked or newly emerging questions or content from outside websites that are relevant to the event. Aim for a blend of content types and media, including images (and if possible, video!).
Cross Promote the Event
If the event is a more formal affair, with multiple sponsoring organizations, then tap into the collective reach and voice of those organizations by cross-promoting the event. If you can identify any influencers among invitees, consider asking them to promote the event to their audience.
Cross-promotion also includes advertising the event, and its Facebook page, on other social platforms like Twitter and Instagram. By using social scheduling tools, you can organize the timeline for posting on other platforms all in one place and increase the frequency of distribution as the day of the event nears. Finally, if there is an external event website or a URL for purchasing the tickets or registering, be sure to add Social Sharing buttons there.
Use Facebook Ads to Extend Reach and Frequency
Outside of the free options to raise interest in your events, Facebook’s ad capabilities offer additional ways to promote it. By investing, even a small amount, in an ad for an event you can extend your potential audience Reach and Frequency. Standalone organic posts about events will traditionally only reach the collective sum of the organization, or host’s, built-in audiences. But by sponsoring posts, event organizers can tap into the broader set of capabilities for Facebook Ads. These capabilities include:
- Targeting Friends of committed attendees
- Retargeting visitors to the Event page who haven’t yet signed up and offering Interested/Going response posts.
- Using demographic and geographic filtering to target relevant but new audiences.
- Using Lookalike Audiences from existing lists of committed attendees or attendees from prior events.
You can boost a Facebook Event or use Ad Manager to create an ad for it. In Ad Manager, when you are setting up your Ad Objective, you can focus on driving people to your event page by choosing the Engagement objective and selecting event Responses. When setting up your audience, you can target existing interested parties or exclude people who have already shown an interest to focus on reaching people who may not be aware of the event or whose interest remains undetermined.
Use Facebook Live During the Event to Close Out Promotion
Facebook Events have been around for a number of years, but you’d be surprised how well newer features can synergize with, and enhance traditional events promotion. One fairly new feature is Facebook Live Streaming. This type of real-time engagement is an exciting capability that capitalizes on the engagement power of video and advancements in mobile technology. As smartphones have become part-video cameras, Facebook Live offers a lower cost alternative to more traditional filming efforts.
Moreover, it offers the potential to greatly expand the “attendance” of the event by offering virtual attendance to audience members who cannot be there in person. Some research has also shown that up to 67% of live video viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after watching a live video of that event or even a similar one. So when the big day of an event has arrived, that becomes your first opportunity to start promoting the next one!
An effective Facebook Event promotion is essentially in a constant state of reinvigoration. It starts with the structural basics and builds to finding unique, relevant and interesting ways to leverage the existing and emerging capabilities that Facebook offers as a platform. But the best event promotion comes from an enthusiastic community that can drive engagement on its own. By cultivating attendee activity and involving a few different Hosts, with unique audiences, you’ll add more brainpower and resources to the campaign. Facebook promotions, and the people you can reach on Facebook, combined with a little creativity and a few external resources will give you everything you need to escalate the excitement leading up to your events.