An Event in an Event: 5 Tips for Driving Event Registrations from Facebook
Facebook may lack the sexy appeal of Instagram or have the verbal trash-fire lawlessness of Twitter, but I think we can all agree: it’s where the people are. 1.52 billion-ish people, to be sort of exact.
With that kind of 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, as such, rendered ineffective.
This is, to put it simply, a big bummer. A big bummer because Facebook has a lot of power for event promotion, and even it’s own events platform designed to make telling people about them easier.
That platform, what we think of as the feature simply called “events,” is used by 490 million people each month, and the platform’s “discover” feed is wildly popular for those 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 Swoogo or one of our wannab…. sorry, competitors to help you build.
And thus is the crux of the problem— promoting an event on Facebook isn’t the same as promoting it on other social platforms. Where 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. Which brings me to my first point:
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.
To frame this up, let’s use an example that we’re all familiar with: a birthday party. For most, 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, and you could even add details like where and when and how to get there (it would be long-winded but we can’t tell you how to live).
The problem lies in how posts like status updates live on Facebook: they’re ephemeral and widespread. Unless your friends did a good job of both noticing your post and copying down your event details, they may still not show up— after all, it’s really hard to find that post later on to get the details, and it’s even easier to forget the party’s even happening if you don’t regularly post the same update.
Creating an event page lets your friends revisit the details in a click, whenever they want, and the platform automatically sets up reminders to make sure they don’t totally forget your birthday (bc, let’s face it, that would be tragic).
More importantly, having an event page lets you send out specific invites to the people you care most about having in attendance. Even if you choose to make your birthday a public event (you party animal you) you can let people like your best friend or grandma or work husband know that you specifically want them there, and you think they’d have a good time.
The same factors apply to your corporate or b2b event— in order to get the most traction from Facebook, you need to both 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 just relying on posting your event registration site.
2. Optimize your business page for event promotion
Ok ok, this is more of a half-step than a full one, but 5 looked better in the post title than 4. Once you’ve created your event page, it’s important that visitors to your company or group page can find it easily as well— this streamlines access for everyone in your potential audience who wants to revisit the deets. While someone who’s interested in your event might not remember the exact event name to search for it directly, they might remember who’s throwing it, so it’s a good idea to make it so they can easily re-discover your event when they find you.
The best thing you can do is to 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.
3. Share your event to your page (and your speakers’ pages, and you sponsors’ pages… 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, and you can share your event to 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 out to a much broader audience if you can 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 simply add the event to their public calendar if they’re not comfortable with sharing the post. The more places where your event page is present and accessible, the better.
4. Take advantage of Facebook’s ad platform
This is kind of a no-brainer: 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 cough up some dosh and get to segmenting: you can target by location, age, gender, likes, interests, education, workplace, job role— literally anything that you think 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 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 right people.
5. Think mobile first
Honestly, this one’s so important we probably should have listed it first, but hey, this is the payoff for those of you who bothered sticking around (at LEAST 4 or 5 people, we hope).
In 2018, just over 75% 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 buy tickets. They need the experience 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 WERK.
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 and marketing software, or find ways to retroactively address it if you’re stuck in a contract with a clunkier tool.
Bottom line: 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 marketing if you can’t get the across the finish line.