As Facebook turned 10 this week, its importance in promoting events has never been more prominent. There are many ways you can promote your workshops and seminars with Facebook, some more effective than others.
The Facebook Events feature in particular has undergone some changes in the last few years. It was a great way to promote your event when it first started out. It can still be effective if you know how to use it and when to use it.
For one thing, Facebook events are more effective for virtual events and low cost introductory workshops. If you are selling tickets to a multi day seminar, it doesn’t make sense to create a Facebook event for it. However, if you are hosting a webinar, teleseminar or live stream to promote your event, a Facebook event listing is very effective to get the word out.
In this post, you will learn how to create an event from your Facebook page, how to share it and how to promote it. And also what not to do…
There are a couple of ways to create a Facebook event, and the most popular one is to create it from your Facebook profile. The advantage is that you can invite all your friends when you do this.
The problem with creating an event from your profile is that you can invite all your friends when you do this. That is right. The biggest advantage is also its biggest problem, because it has been abused so badly.
If you have been on Facebook for any length of time, I am sure you have seen many events go by and have learned to ignore them. Most of the event invitations are not targeted either by gender, interest or location. Sorry, but I have no interested in attending a direct sales party to buy candles in another state!
Sending a blanket invitation to your event to everyone on your friends list is a huge no no.
Do not send an invitation to an introductory workshop in Oregon to someone in New York. They will not go across the country to attend your 3 hour workshop, no matter how compelling your topic.
The first rule of marketing is targeting your ideal audience. Sending invitations to everyone obviously violates that rule. Worse, it is counterproductive, since people not only will ignore your event invitation, but you lose credibility. And as a seminar leader, your reputation and credibility is crucial to your business.
Since Facebook pages are designed for business, we are going to create your event page from your Facebook page.
Create an Event From Your Facebook Page
When you are on your Facebook page, go to where you normally update your status. You will see 3 different option; status, photo/video and offer/event.
When you click on Offer/Event, you get three options; offer, event or milestone. Click on event.
When you click create event, a box pops up where you have a few fields to fill out.
First, you have to enter the event name. This is self explanatory, but make sure that you have an event name that is benefit driven. Stay away from cutesy names that don’t tell anyone why they should attend your event.
Now we get to the details, which is the most important part. This is where you add your vital information, like why your attendees should attend and what they will learn. This is where you talk benefits, benefits, benefits. You should have the benefits already on your registration page and you want to add them here. (If you are not clear on your event’s benefits and want to learn more about registration pages, check out the Butts In Seats Virtual Boot Camp.)
By the way, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your event page on Facebook can serve as your registration page. You always need a registration page outside of Facebook, where you can take payments and you have the control over the design, the layout and the graphics.
Make sure that your potential attendees know that when they RSVP to your event on Facebook, it does NOT mean that they are registered for the event.
Here again, the message is more important than the listing. Without a compelling reason for them to click on the link to your registration page, they will never become attendees. Many event hosts think that just listing their event will get them more attendees. That is not true. You have to have your listing create such desire and curiosity that they will want to learn more and click on the link to your registration page, where you will close the sale.
Don’t forget to also use your keywords. These are the words and phrases that your ideal audience searches for. When you include your keywords in your description, your event is more likely to show up, when your audience is looking for it.
The next step is to add the location. For a face to face event you add the facility or the hotel where you are having it. Click on add street address where you can add more details. Now if you are doing a small, intimate workshop at your own home, you obviously don’t want to add your address in here and make it public. There have been birthday parties that had tens of thousands RSVPs. Not likely to happen at a seminar or workshop, but you still want to be careful about your privacy.
If you are doing a preview webinar or teleseminar, this is also where you would specify that it is online or from your own phone. You can add phrases like “the comfort of your own home”, or “conveniently accessible anywhere you have a phone”.
An even better option for this is to add the URL to your registration page. Remember, even if people say they are coming on Facebook, that doesn’t automatically register them. So the more places you have to click through to the registration page, the better.
The next thing is the date and time. This will show up in the time zone that you are in. If you are doing a virtual event, you can include a time zone converter in your description, or just add in the correct times for different time zones to make it convenient for your attendees.
This is another place to enter the link to your registration page. It also makes it clear that your attendees have to go through another step to actually register for the event.
Allow Non Admins to Write On Wall
The next box, when left unchecked, allows non admins to write on the event wall. You definitely want to leave this unchecked, because this is what allows your guest speakers and friends to post updates, pictures and videos.
It is also your opportunity to jazz up your event wall. If you have pictures and testimonials from the last time, be sure to upload them. When you make your event wall look like there is something going on, your potential attendees will get excited and RSVP, click your link and register.
Click Create and you have added your event. Before you start sharing this with the world, there are a few more steps to complete.
Finally, you see there is a place to add your event photo. This is similar to the cover photo on your Facebook page or profile. Although it looks smaller than your normal cover photo, it also has the same dimensions; 851 X 315 pixels.
If you have a big event where your attendees pay money to attend, you need to project a professional image and you have to have your own event graphics.
You can outsource this to a professional, find a gig on Fiverr for $5 or do it yourself on Pixlr.com.
I created this graphic myself on Pixlr in about 5 minutes.
You can always use a picture of you as well. Remember, you are your brand, so be sure to identify your event as yours as well. The added bonus is that if you include a picture of you in the event photo, Facebook will automatically find your face and use that as the thumbnail for your event.
If you don’t, they will use a portion from the center of your cover photo as shown in here.
Make sure that you plan for that so your thumbnail represents your event effectively.
The more visual you make your event listing, the more your event will stand out. You have a better chance of people clicking on your event listing and attending your seminar.
For a final ninja trick, add your registration page URL to your photo description. Your event photo is no different than any other picture in Facebook. You click on it and it opens up to reveal any description with it. When you click on your own photo, you have the option to tag it, add a location to it or to edit it. Click on edit, add a call to action and your registration page URL.
You can even encourage people to click on the photo by adding this text on the picture itself: “Click Here To Register”
Edit Your Event
To make any changes to your event, go to the little gear icon under your event photo and click edit event.
When you are there you can make sure that the Show Guests button is checked.
This button is your social proof and should always be checked. When you have a bunch of people coming to your event, it shows that your event is worth coming to. However, this is a double edged sword.
If you are inviting a few thousand people and nobody is RSVP-ing, it looks like you are having an event all by your lonesome and that screams “Loser! Don’t go to this one!”
That is why it is important to start building some buzz around your event. An event without any guests is just another boring seminar that no one knows about or cares about. So you have to make sure that you start building some buzz and some community around your event.
If you have any guest speakers at your seminar, invite them to mark that they are attending the event. Also ask them to post a comment in the updates section, perhaps with a short description of the talk they will be holding. They could post a little teaser and say they are looking forward to the event.
Then ask your close friends, business partners and others that you know will be attending, to mark they are attending and to post a comment in the update section.
Share your event
When you have created your event and created some buzz with your friends, colleagues and guest speakers, now is the time to start sharing it.
From your event page, you have 2 ways of sharing your event.
First, you can click on Invite Friends, and click on the friends you want to invite. Be careful here, because you don’t want to send out a blanket invitation to people who are either not geographically able to come, or people that have no affiliation with your business or your event. If you know your friends well enough and think they may be interested, by all means invite them. However, you do not want to spam them and cause them to ignore your invites, or worse, block them all together.
Facebook has a feature in their settings where people can block event invitations from certain friends. You do NOT want to end up there. And the fastest way to get your event invitations blocked is by sending out untargeted seminar invitations.
Another option for promoting your event is to share your event page. This is much the same as sharing a link or your page. You can do this my clicking on the arrow next to the gear icon.
This will open up a window with a link to your event page and your event picture. Then you can choose if you want to share this on your own timeline, a friend’s timeline, in a group, your page’s timeline or in a private message.
Sharing it on your page’s timeline is a smart idea, since those are the people who have indicated that they are interested in your topic. Since they are the most interested parties, they will also be the most likely to sign up for your event.
Of course this is where your EdgeRank comes in. The higher your EdgeRank, the more likely it is that your page fans actually see it. And don’t be afraid to repeat the sharing. Your fans may not always see your post and your link and besides, it will take them a few times to see your message in order for them to take action on it.
You can also share your event on a friend’s timeline. This is perfect if you have a few friends that you know would enjoy this event and want to make sure they know about it. Write a note with the link that says something like:
“I have an event coming up and want to make sure you knew about it. It is about (benefit, benefit) and I thought it would be right up your alley.”
Use this sparingly, since this can be construed as spamming. Not only do you not want to spam, but you definitely do NOT want to spam your friends. That is the quickest way to lose your friends and friends are a precious commodity. Treat them the way you want your friends to treat you.
Sharing it in a group really depends on the group rules. If the rules are iffy or if you are not sure that you should, contact the group’s administrator to ask permission. Tell them that you have this event coming up, what it is about and how it would benefit the group members. Give them the link to the Facebook event page so that they can see the details for themselves. You can do that by sharing the event link in a private message with them. They may actually want to share the event with the group themselves, which is more powerful than you sharing the event with the group. It is a third party endorsement and social proof is very powerful.
And of course you want to share it on your own timeline as well, that goes without saying.
Sharing your event in a private message is also very effective. When you make it very personal and use some of your benefit laden (not hypy) copy from your registration page, you can get many attendees that way. This works especially well if you have a local workshop and you target only the people that you know that live in the area and have expressed some sort of interest in your business, or in your topic.
I do need to mention that any time you share it like this, except for on your own page wall, you share it as your profile. You do not have the capability to share your event as a page.
Promote Your Facebook Event
Promoting your Facebook event is very similar to promoting anything on Facebook. Here are some ways to get going.
Tag Your Event Page
The easiest way is to promote your event is by talking about it and tagging it in your updates.
Look at your event and what you are going to be talking about and get 10-20 tips together. I can be more depending on the length of your event. Some may be short, others can be longer. End each tip by saying, “You will learn more about this and benefit, benefit at your event.”
You can tag the name of your event in any post, so it becomes highlighted and your fans can click on it to go to your Facebook event page. You don’t even have to include the link to your event page.
Highlight your Event Speaker
A great way to introduce your guest speakers to your Facebook fan page is to invite them to be a guest expert for an hour on your Facebook page, where your fans can ask them questions. You can announce the guest expert by letting your audience know that they will be speaking at your event and again, tag your event so that it becomes clickable.
You can find a bunch of ways to work your event name into your updates without going out of your way to heavily push or promote it. Remember, Facebook is social, so the more social and friendly you are, the more your audience will engage with you, click through to your event page and then register for your seminar.
Another way to share your event on your page is to post the event graphic with a message and then tag your event, much the same way that you can tag another page.
If you have pictures of previous event, be sure that you upload them to your Facebook page, not just to your Facebook event page. Highlight a fun picture every day, tag your event and anyone who was in the picture. Add a fun caption to it and let the picture do the rest.
You can even add the URL of the registration page to the picture as well for an additional way to get to the registration page.
Build community on your event page, by engaging your attendees. Any time someone makes a comment or asks a question, be sure to answer it. When someone RSVPs, let them know how excited you are that they are attending.
Encourage your attendees to share your event page. Don’t be afraid to ask your attendees and invitees to share the event on their own profile or Facebook page. Many times, people that are not able to attend, but wish they could go, leave a comment on your page. Thank them, tell them you wish they could make it and ask them to share it with their friends if they think of someone that the event would benefit.
When your attendees start sharing your event, it goes viral. So make sure you ask your attendees to share your event page on Facebook. Every time someone shares your event, it goes out in the ticker and is featured as a highlighted story in the news stream of their close friends they interact with. Your event’s exposure increases exponentially every time that happens.
That is why the Facebook event application is such a powerful promotional tool and a must in every seminar marketing arsenal.
How are you using Facebook Events to promote your workshops?
Want to keep this blog post in pdf format as a handy reference? Share this post with your friends and unlock the pdf.