How to promote an event on Facebook?

Facebook has 2.74 billion monthly active users. On average these users spend 34 minutes each day on the platform. In the past year, 18.3% of users in the US made a purchase through Facebook [1]. These numbers indicate that Facebook is still a major social network that marketers cannot afford to ignore. Recently social platforms like Tik-Tok and Clubhouse have disrupted the space, however, Facebook continues to have significant value. Its large number of active users means that it's not going anywhere, anytime soon. If you are planning an event you should create a Facebook event promotion strategy to take advantage of the social network's reach. In this article, we explore Facebook event marketing.

See also: 3 Website Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in 2021

Types of events

Events can be categories in many different ways. Based on their purpose, size, location, targeted audience, etc. Let's look at two broad categories: offline and online events.

Offline Events

Most people are familiar with these types of events. They take place at a physical location and may or may not have a digital component.

  1. Networking get-togethers
  2. Conferences
  3. Seminars
  4. Celebrations & Parties
  5. Trade shows
  6. Awards
  7. Festivals

Are some examples of offline events. When promoting offline events, marketers need to ensure that they create an effective online interface for the event. It's not enough to only make sure that the location is properly prepped and set up. There should be an online destination that those interested in attending can visit. This destination should have all information pertinent to the event. Like the time, cost, speakers, etc. If you do not have a website, a Facebook event page is an excellent way to quickly create an online destination for your offline event. If you do have a website, you should do both. Create a landing page for your event on your website as well as a Facebook event page. Ensure you include a link to your website on the Facebook page.

If you already have a Facebook page, that's excellent. Your page followers will act as a built-in audience for your event. You will need to create an event in your Facebook event's calendar. This will make it easy for people who come to your page to find out about upcoming events.

Online/Virtual Events

These types of events take place online or in virtual environments. Because of stay-at-home restrictions brought on by the global pandemic, there was a significant increase in the number of virtual events organized in 2020.

  1. Conferences and summits
  2. Webinars
  3. Online trade shows
  4. Music concerts
  5. Career/Job fairs
  6. Roundtable discussions, etc

are some examples of virtual events.

Though not all events can be held virtually, a larger segment of people has realized the value and benefits of virtual events. Virtual events are less expensive to put together. Less time and effort are required to organize such an event. Thus organizers can put in more effort and resources towards even promotion. Since the events are hosted online, there are no logistical limitations to who can attend these events. They also leave behind an extremely low carbon footprint if any. The downside of these events is that it can be harder to keep people engaged. Attendees will not experience the event with all of their senses, they will only be able to rely on their eyes and ears. Organizers do not have a lot of control over the environment from which a person is attending a virtual event, hence there could be outside distractions that interfere with the attendee's experience of the event. Despite these limitations, virtual events will continue to grow in 2021.
Strategies to promote an event on Facebook:
Whether you are organizing an online or offline event, the first thing you need to do is create a Facebook event. Please refer to Facebook's guidelines if you have not done this before. Once you have created your Facebook event, below are some strategies you can use to promote the event and get good attendance.

a) Strategies to promote your Facebook event 

1. Pay and play

Facebook has built-in advertising features to promote events. You can use these features to promote your event page. When you are done creating an event, you will automatically see a pop-up that encourages you to boost your event. If you have already created your event, you can find the same options by clicking on the 'Promote' button at the top of your event page. Select the option to 'Boost your event'. You will then be asked to create your ad. You need to fill in your event description, upload an image and select an Ad Category. It's a good idea to have your description and image ready to go beforehand. Facebook will show you a preview of what your ad will look like, once you are happy, you can move on to selecting your audience.

If you have a good following on your Facebook page and are happy with the engagement you receive, you can choose Facebook's lookalike feature for your audience targeting. Facebook will show your event ad to people who are similar to those already following and engaging with your page. Alternatively, you can define your audience on metrics like location, age, etc. The last step is to choose for what dates you want your ad to run and how much money you want to spend. Click on 'Boost Event Now' when you are happy with your settings.

2. Increase the visibility of your event

If you do not want to spend money to promote an event on Facebook, there are other things you can do to increase your event's visibility on your page. This will only be effective if you have some engagement on your existing page and a relevant audience. Start by placing the 'Events' tab right next to the 'Home' tab of your Facebook page. Next to the existing tabs on your page, you will see the option 'More' with a dropdown. Click on that and then select edit tabs. Drag 'Events' to the top of the list, right under 'Home'. Once you have done that you should also pin the event to the top of your main page. Even though you have created a separate event page, you should also show the event on your main business page. Create a post on your main page about the event, make sure you include all important information and a link to the event signup page. After posting, click on the three dots at the top right of the post and pin the post to the top of the page. Post status updates about the event from your main page. Make these updates interactive and fun, share behind-the-scenes images, teasers, and enthusiastic text. These small steps will help ensure your event has the highest visibility possible.

3. Promote on Facebook groups

Facebook groups are an excellent way to reach a large group of like-minded individuals. You can share your event on groups that you think would genuinely be interested in your event. However, it is very important that you think carefully before you share your event groups. You do not want to come across as spam or that you are only in the group to promote your event. If these groups are relevant to your business, you should join them and actively contribute. That way when the time comes to promote an event, it won't come across as self-promotional and you will know enough about the group, its members, and culture to know whether or not you should promote your event there. If not done properly, this strategy can backfire and turn users away from your brand. So proceed with an abundance of caution.

b) Create content that says something

A common mistake made when promoting an event on Facebook is creating the wrong type of content. Even promoters will often simply create a graphic that mentions the date and time of the event or posts that count down to the day of the event. Though this is important information to convey to people who are attending your event, email would be a more appropriate channel for this communication. The problem with this type of content is that it does not say anything, it does not add any value for people who will see it on Facebook. Think about it, if you are someone who does not know about an upcoming event, and has not decided to attend it, would you care or engage with a post that talks about when and where the event is taking place? Why would your audience care? 

1. Pre-event content

In order to effectively engage with your audience and boost event attendance, you need to create content that adds value for users. Instead of posting when and where your event is taking place, share tips and tricks with your audience. Create content that explains how people will benefit by attending the event. Ask questions that your audience will find interesting. For example, if you are drumming up interest for a fundraiser to support cancer research, you could create a short video debunking common myths associated with cancer. Share stories from cancer survivors. Share information about the latest research findings. This will encourage people to engage with your posts and increase the visibility of your event.

2. Content from the event 

While the event is taking place, share pictures and videos. This will allow people who were interested in the event but could not attend to engage. Share backstage videos and images. Every person attending the event will be posting and sharing their own content, by showing images and videos of areas that attendees do not have access to you will be creating something unique and of value. Make sure you have a central hashtag that every posting is utilizing. This will make it easier for people to find the content related to your event. Engage with people that are posting. You should also take some time to comment on and share the content that people attending the event are posting. This will help you create stronger bonds with the community.

3. Content after the event

Timing is key when it comes to post-event content. People will be most interested in seeing content about an event soon after it is done, as time passes interest will decline sharply. Hence, the sooner you post the better. If you have a live audience and have taken pictures of them, upload those first. People like to see their own pictures and are more likely to share and comment on such pictures. Share key highlights and takeaways and encourage discussions about what happened at the event among the community. 

c) Some more tips to promote a Facebook event

1. Use different content formats

Facebook allows you to share content in different formats. You can share a link from a blog post on your website. You can create an image album or share a single graphic. you can create polls and upload stories. Some people use Facebook to look at stories when they have a few minutes between meetings, others like to read articles from their news feed. By using all of the content formats available you will be able to maximize your engagement. Keep in mind that you don't want to spam your audience. So limit your posts to one or two a day. 

2. Use Facebook insights

Facebook will share insights on the performance of your content and posts. Make sure you are paying attention to these insights and make adjustments to your content strategy accordingly. If you see that content performs better on a particular day or during a particular time period, you can take advantage of that. You will also get information on the demographics of your audience. You can use this information to tailor content that will be most appealing to your audience.

3. Quality with quantity

Even if you are posting multiple times a day, you need to ensure you maintain the quality of your content. You don't need to have large budgets to create quality posts. Make sure you have a clear aesthetic for your page and follow it for all your graphics. Any text content that will be posted, should be properly proofread for any grammatical or spelling errors. You can use free resources like Canvas, Freepik, Unsplash, etc to get quality images and assets that will make your content look professional. If you have the budget, it is always good to engage the services of a graphic designer to create your visual content.  

Source:

1. Jan 2021, C. Newsberry, '47 Facebook Stats That Matter to Marketers in 2021', Hootsuite [available onine] available from: https://blog.hootsuite.com/Facebook-statistics/#Facebook_usage_statistics [accessed Apr 2021]

Feature image: Calendar photo created by rawpixel.com - www.freepik.com