Are you eager get more sales, more people through you door, more checkouts at your online shop, more leads, and MORE people talking about your business? Today I'm going to teach you how to use Facebook events to do exactly this.
I'm always surprised when biz owners tell me Facebook events won't work for their business. By the end of this post, you'll be ready to host your first event or improve your event strategy to get max results for your efforts.
Ready? It's time to dive in.
First off, let's kick a few Facebook event myths to the curb.
MYTH: Facebook events are only for businesses with a physical address.
TRUTH: Noooope. For ages I've been hearing people say they can't use Facebook events because they don't have a brick & mortar style biz, but this is simply not true. You can use events to promote any type of event, online or offline, that you'd like your audience to participate in or know about. We'll dive into the exact event types below!
MYTH: Inviting people to a Facebook event is obnoxious and intrusive.
TRUTH: Ok, inviting your ENTIRE friends list is actually SUPER annoying, so definitely don't do that. Just like any other event you'd plan, you should curate your invites in a way that makes sense for your business and the event itself. When you create an event, you'll see different options as to who you can invite based on your list of Facebook friends.
MYTH: It costs a fortune to promote Facebook events.
TRUTH: The amount you spend on promoting your Facebook events is completely up to you. You may be hosting a local event with room for 20 people or an online summit with room for thousands. You can spend $0 or $1000+ to promote an event on Facebook. The good news is that you can absolutely host a successful event without spending a dime. Keep reading and I'll tell you how!
Facebook Event Ideas: Online & Offline
Now that we've squashed the myth that you can only use Facebook events for in-store events, let's talk about some of the types of events you can be promoting. You might even get a few ideas for an event that would work for your awesome biz.
- Get more people into your store by promoting your in-store event online
- Anniversary party, store opening, new product release, pop-up event.
- A 2 week BOGO sale, Boxing week promotions, holiday sales and discounts, or any other money-saving event spanning a period of time -- online or offline!
- Teaching something online or in person -- use Facebook to invite people, get sign-ups on another site, allow people to register for a class, demonstration, webinar, in-store class, 1-on-1 training, or whatever makes sense for you and your biz.
- Examples: Flower arranging classes, pre-natal courses, CPR training.
- Use events to promote meetup events at your shop or at another local venue -- a mom's group, a homeschooling group, a teen book club, a knitting group, study group etc. as it pertains to your business.
- You can host a free online event INSIDE the event itself by pre-recording videos, hosting them on YouTube or Vimeo, then sharing them at intervals throughout the event duration online and encouraging participation from attendees. This type of event can be repeated over and over as long as the information is relevant.
Facebook events are for more than just baby showers and birthday parties -- they're for getting the news out about your business in a way that informs and excites. There's a sort of ownership that people take when they start inviting people out to your events -- this is the moment when you'll know you're doing things right!
Now that you know what type of event you're going to share on your Facebook page, let's dive into creating your first event.
How To Host A Facebook Event From Your Page
When you're promoting your event via a Facebook event page, try to create the event somewhere between 1-4 weeks prior to the actual event date or dates.
Bigger events should be given more time. Too quick and you won't get enough exposure for the event, too long and people will start to get event-blindness and won't actually notice your event anymore because they've seen it pop up so many times.
When you're ready to create your event, follow these steps:
1. Head to the Facebook homepage and find the Events section near the bottom of the righthand sidebar or simply go to facebook.com/events.
2. Click Create to bring up the event creation window.
3. Select Create Public Event from the top dropdown menu and you'll see the format change. If you leave this option as is, you'll create a private event hosted by you as your personal profile. This can't be changed, so make sure you choose public first thing!
4. Choose the host page -- your business page -- from the dropdown menu.
5. Add your event photo (header), date, time, place (address if physical or just write "online" or your website), add any co-hosts, category, and any other details. (Keep reading to see my note on branding your Facebook event for header help!)
6. Click create when you're finished and you'll be taken to the event page. (You can also schedule an event to post on a certain day if you want to plan something out for the future. Click the dropdown menu beside the create button and choose Schedule.)
Inviting People To Your Facebook Event
First just a quick note about WHO you should be inviting to your event. As I mentioned in our myths section, you don't want to invite every single person on your friends list just because you can. You need to tailor this to specific people, pages, and groups. Be mindful that you don't annoy your friends list. When it doubt, don't invite someone. When you're sure, go for it!
On the bar just under your header, you'll see a dropdown menu with the label "Invite". Click this and you'll see three options:
- Choose Friends
- Share Event
- Share On Page...
This option will bring up the window below. Here you can invite people who are already your friends on Facebook.
Facebook sorts your friends list into handy little groups so you can find the right people by their connections to your location, groups, previous events, and pages. Click all those who you'd like to invite, then click the "Send Invitations" button at the bottom of the window.
I love this option because you can choose friends within the events, groups, and pages categories who are super targeted to your business and niche. This is the perfect way to start and is beneficial especially for local businesses who will want to invite those who are actually located within a certain city or town.
TIP: Since you'll only see the folks who you are friends with, if you have other employees, encourage them to invite people within their spheres as well. This will help you boost your event spread. Just be sure the people you are inviting may have an actual interest in your business.
When you click the "Share Event" option, you'll be able to share your event either on your own personal timeline (on your own profile), on a friend's timeline, in a group (be sure to abide by group rules -- never spam your event), on a page you manage, or in a private message.
Share On Page...
This brings you directly to the window that allows you to "Share as a page you manage" option. Usually you'll be sharing it on your business page from your business page.
Branding Your Facebook Event
The current Facebook event header size is 784 x 294 pixels. I recommend doubling that to 1568 x 588 pixels for better resolution. Keep in mind that on mobile only the very centre of your image will be shown, so if you want it optimized for smartphones, try to keep your design/text centred as much as possible. You will also lose the bottom left corner to the date box and the title of your event on the desktop version, so don't add any text to that space.
My advice would be to go with a centred design so it looks good on both desktop and mobile. With the mobile market for social media growing so quickly, you want to serve the bulk of your audience in the way that they view content the most.
Feel free to use a photo only, instead of going with text or your logo. You can always share more information within the event itself. Don't try to fit all of your event details onto the header image. You can use Cavna + stock images (or professional photos that make sense for the event/your business) to create a really striking design without being a design pro. This is not the place for blurry images and cropped text. It sets a bad tone, so make sure you're giving the right impression.
Inside The Event Page
Now that you have a beautifully branded event, it's time to make sure the event content sells your shindig like hotcakes!
Oh yes, inside the event page is where the magic really starts to happen. Don't set it and forget it. Take advantage of the fact that your attendees may even be more likely to see your event posts than your actual Facebook page posts. More about this in a moment.
Once your event has been created and you've started to invite people, you need to make sure that everything people need to know about your event is accurate and easy to find.
Here's what you should do to make sure your page informs like a boss:
- Make sure your event description is exciting, informative, and concise.
- Double-check that your time, date, and location fields are correct -- when you change these, everyone connected to the event will get a notification and it'll get super annoying if you change it over and over. Plus, people will get confused, so always check. (I'll admit I've done this several times and had to sheepishly fix the time later... but you won't tell anyone, right?)
- Add a first post and pin it to the top. I prefer to use an eye-catching images with a sneak peek, or some more info about the event, or something else to get folks excited! This is a perfect place to upload a video too. Whatever works for your event, make sure you pin a post to the top so that people see your post first when they come to the event page. (I also like to pin each of my host posts as I go so that they are seen whenever a new person checks out your event.)
- If you've allowed others to comment on the page (which I would encourage -- this is a setting when you first create your event and it can be changed at any time) you may start to see people expressing excitement, sharing ideas, letting you know they'll be there, etc. all through the comments below your pinned post. Interact with all posts.
- Post at least once each day leading up to the event and during the event. If your event spans several days, update the event page each day with photos and highlights. Example: If you're hosting an in-store sale, share images of people shopping, products, the free cupcakes you're handing out, etc. to get those who have expressed interest in the event excited about it too! If your event is online, like a fundraiser, update your potential attendees with your progress!
- You can post images, GIFs, videos, polls, questions, and more. (If you're using GIPHY for your GIFs, copy/paste the HTML VIDEO URL under the Advanced tab into your status, then delete the URL to keep things neat and tidy.)
Value, Value, Value
When you're adding new content to the event each day -- or during the actual event -- remember to always think about how you can add value.
How can you make the post more relevant to attendees?
What would make them more likely to show up?
What will entice them to invite friends?
What will make your event the one they MUST attend/watch/shop?
Just like when you're posting on your Facebook page, adding value is the best way for you to grow your relationship with your audience and soon-to-be customers.
Remember when I said your event attendees may be even more engaged than those on your Facebook page?
When someone is invited to an event hosted by a page, they are given three options to choose from: Interested, Going, Ignore.
If someone clicks Ignore, then obviously they won't see any more updates from your event. However, if someone clicks Interested or Going, they are going to get an update when there is new content added to the event. This is the best part about hosting events because it's one of the easiest ways to get in front of your audience consistently.
Note: If an event is hosted by a personal profile, your options are Interested, Going, and Can't Go.
By default, those who click either Interested or Going will get a notification when the event host posts OR if any of their Facebook friends post on the page. An attendee can change these settings by clicking the three dots at the right hand side of the bar under the header and choosing Notification Settings. Here's what that menu looks like to attendees:
As you can see, by default they get the Highlights. However, I can tell you that most people won't bother to change these setting, so at the very least, they'll be getting an update whenever you add or change something inside the event.
Make sure each piece of content you add to your event page is GOLDEN. You want to wow the people who are coming to your event and you want to make sure that those notifications are worth their time. Or else the Ignore option is right there for them to say bye-bye.
You've invited friends, they've invited friends, you've shared the event, and you're starting to see the numbers grow above "interested" and "going". Here are some more ways that you can promote your Facebook Event:
- Schedule tweets to go out several times per day with a link to the Facebook Event (shorten your links using Bitly and customize them so they look better)
- Change all social media website links to your event link (again, Bitly is great for this)
- Create an image for Pinterest (useful for online events with some lead time) and link it to your Facebook Event page
- Add a link to the event in your email signature
- Send a newsletter to your list reminding them about the event and asking them to RSVP
- Share an image on Instagram and ask your audience to click your profile link, which you will have already changed to your event URL
- Promote your event with Facebook advertising -- the ad type will read "Raise attendance at your event"
- Tip: If you have a mailing list, you can create a custom audience within Facbeook that will allow you to target the people on your list in your next ad. This will allow you to target people who are already familiar with your business, ie. warm leads
- Link to your event in blog posts leading up to the big day
- For brick & mortar locations, add signage in-store, reminding customers about your Facebook page and upcoming events
I hope this post has given you some fun ideas for how you can start to use Facebook Events to promote your business in a new way!
Once you start adding a few upcoming events to your page, you'll see how they add another dimension to how your audience views you on Facebook. You can train your customers to watch for your events and they may even choose to subscribe to them which means they'll be notified even if you don't invite them. THAT is the dream, my friends!
Hop down to the comments to share how you've been using events... or how you WILL be using them in the future. I'd love to hear from you.