Events are a crucial part of Facebook with the focus of bringing people to an upcoming occasion by helping to create, organize and promote an invitation to such occasion.
Facebook users or page operators can plan and promote their event by sending invitations to a friends list, members of a group, or fans of a page, which will include details of the event such as the title, time and location, and some images relevant to the event.
Facebook events are also open for anyone to send invitations to their event, or to view invitations made to upcoming events by others except private, in which case they will have to be invited first to view such events.
Unlike conventional Facebook marketing such as groups and pages – which have been cramped by series of competition among brands, – events remain one of less crowed turfs still effective today.
Facebook made a big change recently to revamp its Newsfeed to give preferences to posts by friends over brand content, as it concerns Facebook’s latest algorithm updates.
The social giant is known with making hard-hitting changes that often send shockwaves across digital landscape, which often make the organic reach less and less dependable.
You can take advantage of Facebook events which are less prone to big shocks such as these to optimize your Facebook strategy.
An event is location-wise, so it means users will continue to see your event as long as they are within the geographic space that allows Facebook to target it to them and depending on if you’ve set it up correctly.
Events can also be a perfect ground to utilize Facebook Live and 360 video for business in real world.
Once you know the ins and outs of setting up an event on Facebook, it is very easy to strategize on maximizing an exposure for it.
According to Authenticity Marketing, Facebook local business pages have 5X the reach, 8X the engagement level, and 40X the overall impact compared to standard Facebook pages.
Considering these impressive figures, the prospect of exploring Facebook events, which are equally locally served, looks good, isn’t it?
So let’s get things started.
There are two types of event you can create on Facebook:
- Private event, and
- Public events.
Private events are those events that are visible only to invited users. You also have the option to choose whether to allow guests to invite their friends to your event or not.
Public events on the other hand are visible to anyone on and off Facebook.
You can view the upcoming public events near you by going to your Facebook profile and clicking “Events.”
You will be brought to a full glimpse of happenings in your area:
This allows you to choose the specific day(s) on which the events are happening: “Today,” “Tomorrow,” or “This Week.”
You can also select the categories that match your event type, – click any of these topics to view events under it.
This allows you to apply filters to your events view based on categories and location nearer to you.
Keep in mind that all of these events are public events which are also visible to anyone anywhere on Facebook or off it, which is why Facebook had selected them as part of event suggestions happening in your area.
To make your event private, you’ll have to create a private event.
Click on the icon (with “+”) to create an event of your own.
You will have to set your event privacy to “private” as seen below.
Note: a private event is invite-only, which means, only invited users can see the event or even get a notification about it. A private event is also user account-limited, meaning that you can only create or promote your private event via a Facebook personal profile, instead of using a Facebook page or group. A private event link that’s shared to users on Facebook or any platforms is visible, but only the invited users (via Facebook) will have the ability to follow the link.
With these limitations of a private event however noted, you can still make your event private for many reasons.
For instance, you can create a private event to:
- Hold a question and answer session with your existing customers about a product you are about to launch.
- Test run a product in a limited customer group before it’s released to the public.
- Build a cohesive network of people that share the same business interests with you.
- A/B test your customers, – such as assigning customers to groups and testing each group.
- In summary, if you can precisely identify each member in your guests list, it’s best to keep an invitation to such occasion private.
Having said this, let’s go into each detail involved in creating a private event. While some of these details are optional, they are all recommended.
Here’s what an edited view of your private event page will look like:
Event name or title – your event name is the value of your event to people in the first contact. People see your event name before anything else in the newsfeed, ticker feed, notification, or search.
To write a great event name, you will need to convey its value in a clear and concise manner.
You have a maximum of 140 characters to convey your thoughts in your event name, you might not need to use the full length however.
Long event names can get cut off, so avoid duplicating information that can be found elsewhere such as location, time and date, and don’t use capital letters (except for start ) or symbols that can be hard to read in your event name.
Cover photo – this is where you get to appeal your event to people with imagery. A cover photo is a way to give your event a hedonic value that is needed for event promotion. Given the importance of this section, you can create your event’s cover photo from different methods to bring your event values to the fore.
Either you take the panoramic view of the event’s physical site (if it looks good), or you use a picture of last year event (best for a yearly event), your event cover photo is the closest thing you can get to allow users in knowing your event best.
On your personal skills, you can also use Photoshop or Canva to create your event’s cover photo in an artistic way or to make the image to feature a keynote speaker or important personality of that day.
Best still, you can also create your event cover photo to feature customers’ arts (with their permission) to bring your business experience into your live event.
A number of places in which an event’s cover photo gets displayed include the news feeds, notifications section, and the events page (Facebook’s suggested events).
So check to see that your cover photo display well on your mobile and desktop computer, especially mobile.
The cover photo is of 1920 × 1080 pixels dimensions (16:9 ratio) in size. If you upload a larger image, Facebook will let you drag a box over which portion to fit into that size. Avoid too many text in your cover photo. If you upload an image with more than 20 percent text and set up ads with your event photo, it might not be approved or it might get less distribution.
With recent changes, Facebook is now allowing some publishers or brands the access to upload a cover video on to their event and Facebook page. If you are among the few brands given to this access yet, so it’s a great thing to leverage for your event. You will see a “videos” option when trying to upload a cover photo from your computer library if you are able to upload a video cover.
As recommended, the video cover photo should be 820 × 312 pixels minimum (820 × 462 pixels is the recommended size), and 20-90 seconds in length to be accepted.
Location – your event location is how nearby users can see it on Facebook. So use a location that corresponds to a Facebook page (for public events) or the Facebook-suggested location so people nearby can discover and learn more about your event through suggestions (you will have to enable the location service on your device to use this option). Otherwise, type in the full address of your event location that includes the city, street, building and area number.
Tip: if your event is so privately important that you wish to keep the location private, you can add a small text in the location box asking people to contact you for this information. This can be a more secure way to qualify the prospective guests to your event.
Date and time – find the date and time when most of your users are less busy to fix your event in. The big calendar moments such as festivals, holidays, and new seasons can be the best times to get most attention from event goers. For events longer than two weeks, create separate events with their own time and location.
Description – the description box is your best shot to really talk about your event the way you want people to respond to it. If you want people clicking ”Going” or “Interested” button as soon as they land on your event page, that decision has to be made with how you write your description.
The most helpful and impactful event descriptions are the ones that are able to give people a rousing feeling about the event. So use a tone your audience will best understand to communicate your event value in the description.
For instance, in describing a party-going event such as a concert, dinner, or night going, you may want to spur the ecstatic enthusiasm of the event to prospective guests by using a fun uplifting language. This is different from the way you will describe a conference or office meeting event, which needs to be more cohesive in a tone.
Also, the description can be a place to further shed light on the areas not quite detailed through the event, e.g. location, date and time, and the title.
Finally, use hashtags and @mentions in your description to reference sources so people can learn more about event artists and performers on Facebook.
Co-hosts – given the scale of your event, you may need help with promoting the event and to manage the event brand effectively. The answer? Co-host the event.
Co-hosting means giving an access to a friend or a page operator to manage your event in the areas of who can invite guests to the event, edit the event details, or do promotion for the event.
For a private event, you can choose to co-host with some of your Facebook friends.
In case of a public event, you can choose to co-host with anyone, whether that’s your friends or a Facebook page.
Note: a public event you want to co-host with a page must first be created as a page. And you can only co-host a page with your event if you are an existing admin of the page. If you are not the admin of a page you want to assign co-hosting to, you must first add the page owner as a co-host, then request the owner to add the page.
To add a co-host to your event, click the “Co-hosts” box to start seeing the suggestions of friends (and pages, if it’s a public event) you can assign this function to.
Select the ones you want to add, and click “DONE” to add them.
Check the box that reads “Guests can invite friends” to allow guests to also invite their friends, however, you risk inviting guests you don’t want to your event.
Click “Create” to publish your event once everything is done this way.
In the next section, we will look at the features in a public event that are not present in the private event we’ve just discussed and how to monetize your event with a ticket.
Create a Public Event
In terms of promoting, managing and monetizing a large outfit, a public event is a right option to use.
Creating a public event isn’t quite different from private, but with few additional details to make the event more manageable and promotable, and in monetizing the event as well.
Go to the “Events” tab on your Facebook page, and click “Create Event” to begin your public event process.
You will see the edited view of your public event as the image below.
Except for a few details, the public event’s edited page is quite similar to the private event’s.
Let’s look at what the details are:
“Ticket URL” field: provides the link to the event’s ticket website (we will get to that below).
“Only admin can post to the event wall,” “Posts and story must be approved by admin,” and “Promote event once it is created” checkboxes: help to manage who post to the event wall and when to start event promotion.
“Host”: the event was hosted on a Page (socialmediaverve.com).
Remember: always host your public event on a Facebook page.
[Note: trying to create your public event from a Facebook page instead of a user account gives you access to all the exclusive features that come with the event].
That being said, let’s go into the detail of monetizing your public event with a ticket.
Ticketing your Public Event
Whether to create a side business out of coaching and office meeting or to embark on a mega project like a conference or concert, event ticketing is a great way to monetize your event and generate a consistent income for your business.
Many businesses that have monetized their event with a ticket have seen explosive growths in income, a good example of such business is MarTech conference by Marketingland.com. They charge a lump sum (per attendee) in their biannual event which attracts attendance from different digital media companies.
You may not have a budget to host an event like MarTech, but you can still host your event in a way that’s profitable to your business using the “Ticket URL” option provided on your Facebook event.
So what happens is that we are going to create your event ticket from another website which you can copy into the “Ticket URL” field on your Facebook event.
So go to eventbrite.com, create your account and log in, then click “Create Event.”
As a quick intro:
Eventbrite is a platform that helps with doing a whole range of event activities such as planning, promoting and selling tickets to an event, which allows you to easily publish your event across Facebook, Twitter, and other major social networks from the site’s interface.
In this post, we are only interested in creating our event ticket from Eventbrite, but we first need to create an event on Eventbrite in order to use the ticket function.
So fill out the details for your Evenbrite’s page as seen in the image below
[Recourse to the Facebook event above to complete this section]
Next, set the event privacy to public and select the event type and topic that best match your Facebook event.
Once you’ve completed your event’s details, then you can set about creating a ticket for it.
Click “Paid Ticket” from the three ticketing options: “Free Ticket,” Paid Ticket,” and “Donation.”
Then, fill in your ticket details as seen below.
Ticket name: a ticket name is a name given to a ticket that corresponds to the people it is intended to be sold to e.g. VIP, Early birds, RSVP, etc. Remember to set a reasonable quantity and price for your ticket that can be sold within a limited time ticket sales will open and close.
Ticket description: a ticket description helps buyers to see premium experiences offered in the ticket, such as discounts, parking passes, reserved seats, bundle purchases, etc.
Date and time: choose the date and time to optimize the selling of your ticket. For instance, while it is good to account for late buyers in setting your ticket sales’ start date and end date, you may also want to create a sense of urgency towards your ticket sale by setting different dates and times on which ticket sale will start and end, so when the first batch is sold, buyers will have to wait (create a waiting list for this) until the next batch is opened. This is a great strategy to increase your ticket sales or get more customers for your business, because people are more willing to buy if there exist definite times and dates for the selling.
Group: create group tickets and offer group discounts to sell your tickets at multiple levels.
If you click “Tips” on top of the ticket section, you’ll get actionable tactics that you can implement to boost your ticket sales.
Once you’ve finished writing the ticket, click “Make Your Event Live” in the bottom to publish the event.
Next, we will need to copy the ticket link and paste into the “Ticket URL” box in our Facebook event.
Go to the tabs on your Eventbrite page and click “Manage.”
On the Manage tab, move down to the bottom of the page, under “Your Links,” to see your event URL and organizer’s URL.
Copy the event URL or click it for editing.
If you love to customize your link, this is the option you want to use.
Once you paste this link into your Facebook event and publish it, the next thing will be to get people aware of this important occasion.
Promoting your event
If you ever involved in deadline specific campaigns with targets to meet in the end, you would find that promoting an event is not too different from that experience. The more people see your event, and from different sources, the better the chance of it succeeding.
While the Facebook’s 2.13 billion user base is big as a diverse market to get people aware of your upcoming event, it isn’t quite as easy.
From choosing the right sources to promote the event in to determining if the users being targeted are the right people for your event (age, location, household income, past event attendance), you want to promote your event to as many people as possible and at the same time get the needed responses to your invites.
Because if you send too many invites to uninterested users, you risk your event for being marked as a spam. Facebook also restricts the amount of invites you can send out based on a number of factors, one of those is how many of those invites sent out have gotten responses from those users.
So, you can optimize your event promotion by focusing on those users with the best chance of converting to your invitations.
Generally, there are two ways you can promote your event on Facebook.
- Organic promotion (do it yourself)
- And, Paid promotion
So let’s take a look at each one.
To the extent you can involve in the spreading of message about your upcoming event, you can promote using different forms and tactics:
But first, send out an invitation
To jumpstart your event in a big way, you need to first invite users within your Facebook circles (friends and fans). This can help you with giving your event early takeoff that can help with improving the subsequent promotions.
Click the “Invite” button on the event page, and then “Choose Friends.”
You’ll be brought to a list containing all of your Facebook friends. Check the box next to each friend you want to invite.
- At the top of the list are the people that, in theory, you are closest (family members, close friends, acquaintances, etc.) If you don’t see someone you want to invite at first, simply scroll down or type the name of the person in the search bar at the top of the friends list to search for him or her.
- Click “Save” when you’re done inviting friends.
Invite all friends: this is the tricky part of this aspect, because to invite friends, you have to check each box individually – even if you are inviting hundreds. But I’ll show you how to invite all friends at once.
Click “Invite” button on your event page, and then “Choose Friends,” a popup window will appear displaying all your friend’s names with a checkmark next to each, as before.
- Scroll to the bottom of your friends list – the scroll bar might take a few moments depending on the size of your friends list. Definitely this is the most time consuming part of this method – unfortunately, it’s necessary. Because Facebook doesn’t automatically populate the friends list – it displays each entry as you scroll down. This method checks all the names in the list, so if all your friends are not displayed in the list, they won’t all be invited.
Access the Chrome Web Store – From your desktop computer, go to Chrome Web Store homepage, or directly from this link, and type “Invite all friends’ in the search box at the top (prepopulated with “Search the store”), then scroll down to the “Extensions” section on the search results page.
You would see several free extensions designed to invite all friends on Facebook.
These extensions are usually easy to use and to do virtually the same thing. The precise steps involved when using each extension may vary slightly.
Click “+ Free,” then “Add” on any of these extensions to add it to chrome. I’ve chosen to add “Facebook Invite All,” a popular choice which should be near the top of the search results.
Once successfully added, it should appear in your browser’s toolbar in the top right part.
Go back to the popup window showing your friends checklist [I hope you haven’t closed this window yet, otherwise, you’ll have to scroll all the way to the bottom to populate the list again.]
On the popup window, click “Facebook Invite All” icon in the chrome toolbar. The icon is a blue lowercase “f” next to a box with a checkmark in it.
Within a moment or two, you should see a message that says, “Done, all your friends have been selected.” If you check the “invite friends” popup window again, you will see that every entry in the list has been selected.
Click “Save” to invite all your friends as selected and complete the process!
- You can also use this method to invite most friends (instead of all friends) to your event. Click “Facebook Invite All” to first select every entry in your friends list as mentioned above, then, when all the names in the friends list are highlighted, manually un-invite the friends that you don’t want to receive an invitation. Click “Save” to complete the process. This is still more time efficient compared to when you manually send your invites.
Move up the events tab
On your Facebook page, click “Edit Page” then “Tabs.” Click “Edit Tab Order,” double click on “Events” tab and drag it to the top of the list, to make it easy for people to find your upcoming event.
Share your event on your page
Regularly share your upcoming event to keep it top of mind for users. Share your event when most users are listening. Facebook Insights is a handy tool to get a snapshot of when most of your page fans are online over one week. Simply click “Insights” on your Facebook page, then “Posts,” you’ll see these data under “When Your Fans Are Online.”
These are the best times to schedule the next posts about your upcoming event. If you want to mine the same data for Twitter, Tweriod is a handy tool to do that.
In your emails, text, instant message, forum, web page, or other social media sites, share your event to let people know what you’re up to.
Here’s a bonus: when someone sees your event in multiple sources as mentioned, the chance that they would convert to the event also increases, because there is something called “familiarity effect.” That’s, each repeated mention of your business to people affects how they relate and interpret your brand, which also plays a vital role in their logical conclusion to buy your product.
Finally, add visuals with some text to convey some understanding to users and optimize impacts of your event share.
Share pictures, videos, stories and updates
Take advantage of different assets on Facebook to share your event diversely.
Tag event as a location in a picture before, during and after your event.
Use Facebook stories to further spread the message about your event and keep people posted of latest event activities.
Share your mood as “Attending an event” in your Facebook posts to let people know what you’re up to.
Encourage guests to share more videos and to also share your event on their timeline. Remember: most people choose to attend your event mainly because they see other people already doing so.
Note: if someone interacted with your event they would also automatically share it with their friends or fans (if they are a Page) on the news feed.
You can design a poll on your event wall asking people to share their most interesting parts of the event, and use those responses to inform more assets to share for the event.
Go live from your event
On your mobile phone, click on the text field as if you want to post something to your event wall, click the icon with human silhouette that appears in the options below the field, and then “Continue.”
Type a simple description for your live video and click “Go Live” to start streaming.
In a moment or two, you should start seeing reactions from users finding your live feed in the news feed, you can respond back to those reactions to start the conversations immediately.
Guests will also see a notification that reads “[Host] is live now in [event].” Once they click the notification, they will be brought to the live feed where the conversations about your event are taking place.
Once the live feed is stopped, the video is automatically processed and added onto your event wall as a recorded video, where people can continue to interact with it. If the event is private, only the invited users will have the permission to view the live feed or the recorded video.
To make the most out of your live video, try to make it about how the event can help improve viewers’ experience and to what extent you’ve planned to achieve that for them. For instance, you can live stream the behind-the-scene preparations before the event starts or to show the highlights of the event when it’s ongoing.
Create a QR code
On your event page, click the three dots “…” menu to open more options, then click “Create QR Code” to download and print out your event’s unique QR code.
Place this code on your printed merchandise such as flyers, posters, or any items of value to allow people using these items to easily access your event. People can scan this code with their smartphone devices and it’ll immediately take them to your Facebook event’s URL where they can mark themselves as interested or going.
Embed your event calendar on your website
Add a Page plugin so people can discover and interact with your event directly from your website. Any changes to the Facebook event are automatically updated on the page plugin as well.
With a paid promotion, you can target your event’s guests using different audience options.
Click “…” to view more options on your event page, then click “Promote Event.”
From that point on, Facebook will walk you through the paid promotion setup process.
You can specify your audience based on their gender, age, location and interests.
You can also use lookalike audiences to improve your Facebook’s ad conversion: upload a list of contacts from your email lists or who have purchased your event tickets in the past, Facebook will target similar people using their Facebook data and browsing history.
Here’s a few more things you could do with Facebook’s events ads:
Boost your event to increase responses – click Boost Event from your event page and choose Reach more people from the option. Select your audience by their age, gender, location, and interests. You can also target people (and their friends) who have liked your page. Choose your budget and schedule, and click Boost.
Boost your event to increase ticket sales – click Boost Event from your event page and choose Increase ticket sales from the option. Select your target audience by gender, age location, and interests, or those who have liked your page. Choose your budget and schedule, and then click Boost.
Note: you can only set up event ads to drive ticket sales if you include a ticket URL on the event.
Create event ads through Ads Manager – If you create an event ad through the Ads Manager to drive event RSVPs, the call to action on your ad will say “Interested.” If you create an event ad through the Ads Manager to drive ticket sales, the call to action on your ad will say “Get Tickets.” Click the More dropdown menu on your event page for specific instructions on each ad setup.
Sell ticket directly from your Facebook event
Using the ticketing platforms like Eventbrite or Ticketmaster, you can sell event tickets directly on Facebook through the Facebook Official Events API, contact your ticket provider for more instructions on this.
Edit event details
You can make edits on your event to update any event details: title, location, cover photo, date and time, etc. The new changes will be immediately notified to guests in the notifications.
However, you can only change your event location and date up to three times if it has more than 2,500 guests, after which, you won’t be able to change the event details again.
Performance and Measurement
If you’ve created your event from a Page (as advised), you’ll be able to access some additional tools which will help you on how your event is measured and managed effectively. The Facebook Page Insights could be helpful to see how your event is performing in some key areas.
Click “Insights” at the top of your Page, then click “Events” in the left column.
From here, you can see the metrics for all your Page’s events: People Reached, Event Page Views, Clicks on Buy Tickets.
People Reached – number of people who were shown stories about any event on the page in the news feed.
Event Page Views – number of people who visited the page events.
Clicks on Buy Tickets – number of clicks on ticketing URLs for all events with a ticket link. Click on “Tickets” at the top of the page to see this report.
Note that none of these metrics are mutually exclusive, if you see a significant rise in the number of people reached by your event without a corresponding increase in the event’s page views, this is probably because the people reached are not the right fit for your event (you can solve this problem by changing your target audience), or it could be as a result of what’s wrong with the event itself (such as the title that needs to be rewritten, or the event message that needs to be more targeted, or because you haven’t added enough visual assets to give the event full visibility in the news feed.)
You can also view metrics for individual events that are upcoming or happened in the past at the bottom of the page, to see how many people have responded (“going” or “interested”) to the event or seen the event in their news feed.
Events are a crucial part of Facebook adventure which are worth taking seriously. Unlike a Facebook Page (much of which being a dramatic decline in organic reach we’ve seen recently), an event could be an evergreen option to sustain your Facebook strategy and foster new connections for your business. If you ever run a networking program or organize an office meeting, then you know what I mean.
You can create your event to focus on people in your local environment or to capture a wider audience based on their interests. If you add a few perks to the event, you can also make it private for your exclusive customers, or monetize the event as public using a wide range of ticketing options from Eventbrite or Ticketmaster.
With the Co-hosts option, you also have a good opportunity to create an event with more awareness and credibility driven to it, and the one that’s well managed.
Create your event to set the target for the organic promotion campaign at least two weeks before the actual day. Use Facebook’s ad campaigns to promote your event’s key buttons (“Interested” or “Buy Tickets”). And finally, take advantage of powerful Facebook’s audience targeting to laser-target your event audience to improve their responses to your campaigns (Note: this is the most important decision you can make in your event campaigns!)
Once you’ve successfully hosted your first event, you can leverage on your existing connections to promote the subsequent events and get more people to attend them.
Have you tried your hand on a Facebook event before, what were your challenges?