Just because you’ve scheduled your event and created the necessary sales page, Facebook Event and tab doesn’t mean people will automatically be aware of it. You’ll need to do some promotion first.
There are dozens of ways to promote your upcoming event, from press releases to personal invitations, but some of the most effective include:
Create Micro Events Leading Up to the Real Thing
This gives those “on the fence” a chance to see what they can expect from you, your speakers, and your subject matter. Ask for an opt-in and you’ll receive the added benefit of growing your mailing list while promoting your event, so even if visitors don’t ultimately join you for the big day, you can continue to market to them in the future.
Some ideas for micro events are:
· Open phone lines – give callers a chance to chat with you to ask if this event is right for them.
· Hangouts – Invite your speakers to a “get to know us” Google Hangout. Visitors can tune in to see if the subject matter and speakers appeal to them before committing to a live event.
· Mini-webinars – These free events are a great way to present a taste of the information followed by an upsell to the real thing.
· Q & A Calls – Invite fans to join a group call to get all their questions answered, or they can submit their questions ahead of time right on your wall.
Of course, each and every one of these “micro-events” should be promoted on your Facebook page and in the events app itself, for maximum exposure. Depending on the cost of your main event and whether or not attendees will need to travel to join you, you may want to host more small events leading up to the main show.
Host a Contest or Giveaway
Contest Domination allows you to tailor your contest to your ideal audience. You can set up a contest that awards participants “points” for sharing on social media, driving traffic to an opt-in page, or simply for signing up. You can choose contest winners based on number of points earned or completely by random.
Be sure to include share buttons on your registration page, in promotional emails (use http://clicktotweet.com to embed clickable Tweets in your emails or on a web page), and on thank you pages.
You can also set up a simpler version simply by creating appropriate graphics and asking your readers to “like” and “share” for contest entries. Be aware though that Facebook regularly changes the rules about this type of contest, so you’ll want to be sure you’re fully in compliance with their terms of service.
“Boost” Your Posts and Your Event
It’s pretty well known that Facebook limits the reach of your wall posts. In fact, as of this writing, only about 20% of your fans will see any given post, so if you rely strictly on organic methods to get the word out about your event, you’re going to be disappointed.
With that said, though, Facebook post promotion is easy and effective. For example, on a page with less than 3,000 “likes” a recent boosted post was seen by nearly 15,000 people, at a cost of around $50. If even 1% of those who saw the post clicked through, and 1% of them made a purchase, this boost (for a $500 event) paid for itself ten times over.
To boost a post, first create it, then on your wall, click the “Boost Post” link that appears below it. Choose:
· Who should see this post – either just your fans, or those you target.
· What your maximum budget is – you can adjust this number to see what the estimated reach will be
· Advanced options (opens in a new tab), including
o Ad placement – either in the feed or in the sidebar (test placement to see which generates the best results for you)
o Audience demographics – target by location, language, age and more
o Connection to you or to friends who are connected to you
o Audience interests – so you aren’t paying to get your post in front of those who are not interested in your event
Keep an eye on the “Estimated People Reached” number as you adjust your options. Your goal should be to reach as many targeted people as your budget allows.
Remember, boosted posts must follow Facebook’s ad guidelines, so be sure to read before boosting.
While Facebook has finally adopted the hashtag, it’s not used in quite the same way as it is on other platforms. You can’t search hashtags on Facebook, for example. But clicking on a hashtag will bring up a list of related items that all contain the same tag.
Hashtags have two distinct uses on Facebook: branding and reach.
You can amplify your brand by developing your own unique hashtag and encouraging fans and followers to use the tag when posting about you, your company, and your event. For example, the recent NAMS event used #MyNAMS as their hashtag. Everyone who posted pictures and information about or from the event was asked to use the tag, and the result was a branded feed exclusively about the event.
Using hashtags to expand your reach is a different style, but perhaps even more important than branding. Here’s why: With a branded hashtag, only those interested in that specific event will click – or even see – the tag in the first place. By using a generic, topic-driven tag instead, those interested in your overall subject will see your posts.
For example, if your event is about using social media in business, you might use #socialmedia in your posts. This will allow your posts (depending on privacy settings) to show in the #socialmedia feed, and those who are interested in the topic and click that tag will see them.
Whether you choose the branding or increased reach approach (or both!) keep these tips in mind:
· Be consistent – tag every post that mentions your event
· Remind others – make it clear to your fans, followers and attendees what the preferred hashtags are, and ask them to use tags consistently
· Check for branding tag availability before using – while no one really owns a hashtag, it will confuse your audience if you try to use #idol for your event about pagan religions
· Use sparingly – not every word in a post needs to be a hashtag
· Don’t split words – #socialmedia is a much more powerful and targeted hashtag than #social #media