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.

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.

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.

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.

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]

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