Facebook may lack the sexy appeal of Instagram, or the verbal trash-fire lawlessness of Twitter, but I think we can all agree; it’s where the people are. 2.89 billion-ish people, to be kind of exact.
With that user volume, it’s safe to say it’s not a platform to sleep on when it comes to your event marketing. But it is one that’s often misused and, in doing so, rendered ineffective.
This is, to put it simply, a huge disappointment. A huge disappointment because Facebook has a lot of power for event promotion, and even its own events platform designed to make telling people about them easier.
That platform—what you probably just think of as the feature called “events”—is used by 490 million people each month. And the platform’s “discover” feed is wildly popular for browsers casually seeking something to do on a Saturday night.
You may be wondering what this has to do with driving traffic to the unique event registration website you just paid your event management partner to help you build.
And this is the crux of the problem—promoting an event on Facebook isn’t the same as promoting it on other social platforms. On Twitter or LinkedIn your goal might be to drive users off the platform and onto your event site. On Facebook your goal has to include an important middle step.
In order to effectively promote an event on Facebook, you have to play by Facebook’s rules.
1 Create a facebook event page
The first and most crucial step in effective Facebook event promotion is creating a Facebook event—not just a post about your event.
Let’s use an example that you’re probably familiar with—a birthday party. For most people, making a Facebook event for that party is a natural step.
Of course, you could just post a status update letting your friends know about the party. You could even add details like where and when and how to get there.
The problem lies in how posts such as status updates live on Facebook; they’re ephemeral and widespread, and subject to the whims of a patented algorithm. Unless your friends did a great job of both noticing your post and copying down your event details, they might not show up, because it’s really hard to find that post later on to get the details.
Creating an event page lets your friends revisit the details with one click, whenever they want, and the platform automatically sets up reminders to make sure they don’t totally forget your birthday. (Because, tragic.)
More importantly, having an event page lets you send out specific invites to the people you care the most about having in attendance. Even if you choose to make your birthday a public event (you party animal!) you can let people like your best friend or grandma know that you specifically want them there.
The same factors apply to your corporate or B2B event. In order to get the most traction from Facebook, you need to target your audience and keep your event top of mind. Luckily, Facebook makes this easy, as long as you’re using their platform the way it’s designed. So take the extra time to make a robust, informational Facebook event page, instead of relying on simply posting your event registration site once.
2 Optimize your business page for event promotion
Okay, okay, this is more of a half-step than a full one, but 5 looked better in the post title than 4.5.
Once you’ve created your event page, it’s important that visitors to your company or group page can find it easily. Someone who’s interested in your event might not remember the exact event name, but they’re more likely to remember who’s throwing it. So it’s a good idea to make it so they can easily re-discover your event when they search your brand name.
The best thing you can do is move your events tab right up to the tippy top of your business page, which you can do by clicking “manage tabs” in the “more” dropdown.
If you skip this step, you may lose potential registrants, even if they’re hitting your page looking for the event.
3 Share your event to your page (and your speakers’ pages, and your sponsors’ pages, and … you get the idea)
This is the manual part, and the closest step to how you might natively think of sharing your event on Facebook. Once the event’s created, you can start boosting its presence on feeds (and in hearts) by sharing it everywhere you can.
A good place to start is your own company page. You can share your event on it by clicking “more” on your event page (next to “invite”) and hitting “add to page.” Set yourself some reminders to do this regularly to extend your reach.
More importantly, you can push your event to a much broader audience if you share your event page to your speakers’ and sponsors’ company pages as well, along with any stakeholders in your organization who may have relevant networks.
Asking for this kind of influencer reach is crucial for expanding your Facebook audience. And anyone with an official Facebook page can add the event to their public calendar, if they’re not comfortable sharing the post directly. The more places your event page is present and accessible, the better.
4 Take advantage of Facebook’s ad platform
If you’re using Facebook to promote your event, you should throw a little money behind the whole shindig to really help it take off. The good news is, Facebook’s ad platform is a really safe bet; targeting within the platform can get super, crazy specific.
So budget some money, and get to segmenting. You can target by location, age, gender, likes, interests, education, workplace, job role—literally anything you think of can help keep your ad budget down while expanding your reach exponentially.
If you want to get really fancy and advanced, Facebook also lets you create unique audience segments for your ad campaigns. We’re talking about targeting your own customers by email address, retargeting your site or app traffic, etc, so you can spend your hard-earned event budget while really resting assured that you’re reaching the best people.
5 Think mobile first
This one is crucial. In 2021, over 98% of Facebook’s overall traffic was from mobile, and that’s not just people looking at their aunt’s status updates—it’s your audience.
Luckily, your Facebook page and Events page are already going to be optimized for Facebook’s app, thanks to Facebook being … well, Facebook.
What you need to worry about is your event registration site. Your audience isn’t going to discover your event on mobile and then fire up the ol’ laptop just to order tickets. They need the journey from discovery to purchase to be seamless, and that means that when they navigate from the Facebook app to your event site on their phone, your registration tool better work.
If you’re using Swoogo, you’re used to event registration sites being automatically mobile responsive. But if you’re using another tool for registration, you may find that your site is a hot mess when accessed from a phone. It’s a good idea to think of this in advance when you’re choosing your event registration platform, or find ways to retroactively address it if you’re stuck in a contract with a clunkier tool. (We’re sorry.)
Make sure it’s easy for your new audience to buy tickets, no matter how they access Facebook or your event page.
After all, there’s no point in steering your audience to the beginning of the journey, if you can’t get across the finish line.