How To Promote and Advertise Your Event on Facebook: Top 4 Strategies
When you’re planning an event, whether it be for business or just for fun, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is ensuring that people actually attend it.
The adage of “If you build it, they will come” rings less true in today’s day and age where competition for our audience’s attention is at an all-time high.
So as the world (eventually) begins to return to normal, and events become a regular thing again, let’s go over some of the best ways to stand out from the crowd and make sure your event is a blowout success.
1. Create (and Optimise) a Facebook Events Page
The first, most important step, is to set up a great Facebook page for your event.
You could run the promotion from your existing business pages, but for the best results, you’ll almost always want to set up a dedicated event page.
This lets you provide potential attendees with all the information they need and “follow” your event for any updates or changes.
The number of people who show interest in your event can also be a great way of gauging interest, or attendance, especially if you’re starting a new event with no prior data to work from.
You can even go so far as to allow people to sign up directly on Facebook with custom lead capture forms.
1.1 Tips For Optimising Your Facebook Events Page
Optimise for Facebook’s Search Engine:
An often overlooked aspect of event promotion is trying to capture cold audiences searching for new events using Facebook’s search bar.
To capitalise on this, you should make sure your event’s descriptions and posts are all optimised for the keywords or phrases you think your potential attendee might be searching for.
For instance, if you’re running a salsa dancing workshop in Johannesburg, it’s a great idea to include the term “Salsa dancing workshop Johannesburg” in your event’s description.
This means that when somebody searches that term directly on Facebook because they’re looking for an event similar to yours, you’re more likely to come up.
Hashtags are another powerful tool we can use here, though they are used less often on Facebook than say Instagram or Twitter.
Regardless it can’t hurt, so make sure to tag all your posts with relevant hashtags to improve their search visibility for people scrolling by popular hashtags.
Optimise for Mobile:
79,9% of users only access Facebook via mobile devices.
When we’re setting up campaigns on our desktop or laptop, this can be an easy fact to forget.
It is incredibly important, however, that we consider mobile users first when we’re setting up our events.
This means keeping titles and descriptions short and relevant, making sure your images scale well to portrait and ensuring any outside links you include are also mobile-friendly.
Engage Regularly With Consumers:
Once you’ve made your event page, don’t make the mistake of abandoning it.
Consistently engaging with the people who follow your events page in some way, whether it be through updates or other kinds of posts, is a great idea for two reasons.
Firstly, it reminds people about the event and keeps it on the top of their minds.
Secondly, it creates a sense of legitimacy and reassurance.
If people see proof you’re actively planning or preparing for the event, they’re more likely to find you trustworthy.
This is incredibly important for creating attendance, especially for new events. If you want people to commit their time (and money) to your event, they need to trust you first.
1.2 (Optional) Tips For Optimising Your Landing Pages
As we mentioned before, it is possible to run an event and get sign-ups entirely through Facebook.
But, if you can, you may want to use a dedicated website to gather sign-ups or registrations instead.
In this case, a secondary consideration you absolutely need to consider is the landing page on your site.
You want to make sure the site is mobile-friendly, consistent with the messages and tone of your Facebook campaign and that the UX is optimised to make a registration for your event as seamless and intuitive as possible.
2. Run Targeted Facebook Ads
The next best thing you can do to supercharge your event on Facebook is to make good use of the paid advertising features available to you.
As the saying goes, you’ve got to spend money to make money, and it holds true on Facebook.
Targeted ads are one of the best ways of reaching cold audiences in your target market, and re-engaging warm audiences to ensure they become event attendees.
Let’s go over some of the best tools in the Facebook advertising suite for event promotion.
2.1 Boosted Posts
So you’ve got an amazing post on your event page, and you want to make sure it reaches the biggest audience possible.
Maybe you want to dip your toes into the waters of Facebook’s paid ads for your event, but you’re not sure where to start.
In both those cases, Facebook boosted posts are the tool you’re looking for.
Boosted posts let you share any regular post to a wider, targeted, audience.
This makes them great for sharing your posts beyond the audience of potential attendees that are already following your page.
It’s like a way to “share” your post with a wider audience that you can choose.
We’ll explore the best ways to target a cold audience a bit more in the next point.
2.2 “Regular” Facebook Ads
“Regular” Facebook ads come in many shapes and sizes, but they are all great tools for creating exposure, interest or signups for your event.
You can run ads in many places depending on your business’ needs, from the Facebook feed to in between Facebook videos or even cross-platform on Instagram.
The biggest selling point of Facebook ads is the ability to precisely target consumers with Facebook’s built-in tools.
Here are some of our top tips for good audiences to target with your campaigns:
- Interest groups.
If you’re going after a cold audience, you can target people with interests that align with your event. E.g. people with an interest in salsa dancing, that don’t already follow your event page, going back to our earlier example.
- Your competition’s targeting.
You can often learn a lot from the types of people your competitors target with their campaigns. It can be hard to get access to this data, but there are two ways around it. You can either look at the people engaging with their event page and make an educated guess or run a campaign targeted at people who are followers or interested in their pages.
Retargeting people who have already shown interest in your event is a great way of turning all those “maybes” into attendees. We’ll explore it more as a separate point.
2.3 Retargeting Ads
Retargeting ads aren’t really a different type of ad, but rather a targeting option that’s effective enough to deserve its own point.
Retargeting refers to ads designed to re-engage or fully convert people who have shown interest in your business in the past.
In the case of events, it could be targeting people who’ve gone to your events to the past, people who’ve shown interest in an upcoming event or people who are interested in an event but not yet convinced.
Running retargeting ads is an incredibly effective way to create more attendees because the people we’re talking to are much further along the conversion funnel than a cold audience.
This means it takes comparatively less effort (and money) than other methods to turn them into a conversion, but you, of course, need to get them to this stage of the funnel somehow.
3. Use Organic Promotion Strategies on (and off) Facebook
Organic promotion shouldn’t be ignored, either.
While paid ads are great for ensuring you’re always reaching the right people, cultivating the right organic audience can be just as effective long-term and as a bonus, it’s completely free.
That’s why it’s worth investing in creating a following around your event, especially if you plan to make it a regular fixture.
3.1 Cross-Promote Inside Your Organisation
If your business already has a following on your main Facebook page, why wouldn’t you use this to your advantage?
They’re most likely going to be the kind of people you want attending your event, too, so it’s almost always worth using existing organic resources to promote your event.
If you’re part of a larger organisation, why not get other parts of it involved too?
Any organic reach you can get lets you prime more people for later when you’re able to use paid strategies to convert them more efficiently (and more cheaply than if you hadn’t used organic promotion).
3.2 Partner Up to Promote Your Event
Partnering up with other stakeholders for your event is always a good idea.
Reach out to the venue, speakers, hosts; anybody who also has a stake in making your event successful will usually be more than happy to help you organically promote your event since it’s completely free.
You can make this process easier by preparing materials for them to share around the event, or just collaborating on your posting schedules to make sure they’re aligned.
4. Outsource to an Events Management or Digital Marketing Company
If you don’t have the time, inclination or skills needed to promote your event there’s no shame in outsourcing to a professional.
A skilled event planner, or marketer, will have the experience and knowledge needed to take your event to the next level from the start.
This means you can skip the “learning phase” of running your campaigns, and benefit from any additional skills or expertise they bring to the table.
Your main options here are typically either hiring an agency or a freelancer.
Freelancers can be great value for money if you need someone to manage one, or just a few, aspects of your campaign.
They’ll typically struggle to match an agency when you need multiple diverse services, like someone to both plan your event and promote it.
There’s also an issue around accountability. If something does go wrong, you’re entirely dependent on the person in question to make it right.
Still, they’re a great option for hiring someone with a wealth of knowledge or skill at an affordable price.
Agencies are the best option if you’re looking for a high level of service across the board.
The right agency should have dedicated people with all the skills needed to optimally promote your event.
E.g. a person specialising in Facebook ads and a person specialising in organic sharing strategies, etc.
Unlike an agency, their skills aren’t limited to what one person can do and there is a greater degree of accountability if something does go wrong, because of their reputation.
The downside is naturally that an agency will almost always cost more than a freelancer, and in exchange for benefitting their skills, you never get to develop your own (if that’s something you’re interested in).
Overall, agencies are the way to go for outsourcing the promotion of larger events when you don’t want to handle it in house.
We hope this helped you start your strategy for promoting that next big event on Facebook, or at the very least gave you a few new ideas to try out.
Remember to keep experimenting to see what works for your industry, and hone in on what works for you.
Every business and customer-base is different, so you must find your formula for success.
If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast.
This article was brought to you by Syte.
We’re a specialist e-commerce digital marketing agency dedicated to driving up your bottom line.
If you need any help running your business’ ads or promotions on Facebook, feel free to reach out with the form below or check out our case studies page to see what we’ve been able to do for our clients.