Social media has been a game changer in the world of small business marketing. The free tools available to you, especially via Facebook, have enabled business owners to increasingly extend their reach, and in most cases, without spending a dime.
One of our favorite tools on is being able to create a Facebook event to promote an actual event. It’s simple to do and provides several benefits that word of mouth or direct mail marketing alone cannot. Here’s a quick breakdown of how a Facebook event works and how it may benefit your business.
To get started, create an event on Facebook. Once that’s done, you’re ready to promote it. The creator of an event may invite any of their friends to that Facebook event. This is great news if your friends are your customers. But what if you’re not Facebook friends with your customers or if you want people you don’t know to attend your event? Answer: Make the event Public.
Creating a public Facebook event allows anyone with a Facebook account to invite people to your event themselves! It virtually hands you millions of Santa’s Helpers. When creating the event, look to the upper left hand corner for a dropdown which will allow you to make the event public.
This is the perfect opportunity to ask loyal customers, business connections, and local influencers in your niche to invite people who they think might be interested in your event. Try to spread out who you invite to your event. No one wants to constantly be the person spreading the word about your events, so be mindful of that.
Like being tagged on Facebook, an event invitation notifies a Facebook user when they’ve been invited to your event. This prompts the person to either reply that they’re interested or that they’re attending the event. After they’ve replied, their RSVP of “interested” or “going” shows up in their friend’s news feeds thus putting your event in front of more people. Now, you’ve just extended your reach and potentially could gain new clients just from getting an RSVP.
Here’s an example of how the RSVP aspect of Facebook events works: Scrolling through Facebook, you see on your timeline that a friend is attending a Grilled Cheese Festival in a nearby town. You love love love grilled cheese and had no idea that there was a festival dedicated to grilled cheese. You check your calendar and you’re free so you RSVP to the Grilled Cheese Festival on Facebook. Voila! You’re a new customer for the Grilled Cheese Festival. Had the festival organizers not created that Facebook event, your friend would not have RSVP’d on Facebook and you might never have learned about the event. That’s the power of Facebook events!
Facebook events don’t just notify users that their friends are going to an event in their newsfeed. It also shows up in suggested events for the attendee’s friends. This is as good as a direct invitation.
Facebook suggests events to users based on places they’ve tagged themselves at, events they’re connected to through friends, pages the user has liked, and apps they use on Facebook. This assures both you as a business owner that you’re promoting your event to the right people and the general public that they’re not getting junk thrown their way. Facebook is intelligibly suggesting events based on the user’s network and online behavior.
Facebook takes events one step further and notifies users that their friends are going to an event nearby on the day of the event. The photo below shows an event that others are attending.
Customers who see people they know attending local events are more likely to jump on the band wagon. They’re friends, they probably have common interests!
It’s never too late to drive more traffic to your event and Facebook is killer at helping you spread the word in real time. Posting photos of your event live followed by tagging your location will help in a couple different ways.
First, broadcasting what’s happening at your event while it’s taking place is like a little online party. It generates more energy around your event and hopefully will incite people to go to the event or your next one.
Second, if you’re event is taking place somewhere with a good amount of foot traffic, you may persuade people nearby to join the fun. Also, let’s say someone around the corner does a Facebook search for something to do in the immediate area. If you’ve added a location tag to your post you’ve made it possible for your event to show up in that very search.
Never underestimate how quickly people forget they RSVP’d for an event. Facebook events automatically send reminders to attendees when your event is approaching helping to increase your attendance rates on the actual day. Many business promote events through email, which is a great way to get people to go, but most people aren’t scrolling through their email on their commute home from work. If you send out an email reminder, it can easily be ignored. A Facebook reminder however, will pop up when your attendees check Facebook.
There are a few other benefits worth mentioning about promoting events on Facebook. One such convenience is the chat forum it creates for both your business and the event attendees. On the event page, people are able to comment and connect with one another which helps to establish a community tied to your brand. It also enables you to make mass announcements to all event invitees. Change of location? Time? Attire? Is it now dog friendly? Having this medium to communicate pertinent info can be very handy.
The attendance tracking feature of Facebook events benefits you in more than one way. First, it’s super easy to keep track of headcount, which is necessary to be sure you’re planning appropriately up until the event.
You also have visibility into those invitees who declined or replied ‘maybe’. Why is this valuable? These types of metrics can be useful when reviewing your overall marketing plan. Do you notice a certain age group is declining more often? Men or women? Singles? You name it, there are tons of ways to break this information down to help you in determining who you should and shouldn’t be targeting for your events.
Facebook can take a lot of the work around spreading the word about your event off of your hands. Creating a Facebook event is simple, quick and immediately goes to work for you expanding your reach, all without having to open your wallet.