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May 7, 2011

4 Ways To Effectively Promote Events on Facebook – Case Study

Any time you offer an event – live or virtual – there are several ways you can capitalize on Facebook’s tools to increase your event registrations.

Thing is, many Facebook users create all manner of events and insist on inviting all their friends… only to upset those friends with the constant barrage of invitations and emails about events of no interest or relevancy. So, let’s take a look at what does work in terms of promoting events on Facebook!

First, I recommend you always have your own event sales/registration page outside of Facebook. The only exceptions might be if
a) your event is coming up quickly
b) it’s free and/or
c) it’s for a relatively small group. [For small group events, I recommend never, ever revealing the event location to the public.]

So, once you have your own web page set up with details of your event and a way to purchase tickets, apply these six tips to generate more buzz, visibility and ticket sales:

1. Add Social Share Buttons to Your Event Registration Page :-

There’s no doubt about it, numbers mean social proof. The more Facebook Likes, retweets, LinkedIn shares etc. on your blog posts and web pages the more visitors will perceive your content as being popular and will also want to share.

The best place to position your social share buttons is at the top right “above the fold” (visible without scrolling).

Facebook Comments Plugin :-

I also highly recommend adding the newly upgraded Facebook Comments Plugin to your event page. I love the way the plugin now syncs with users’ Profiles or fan Pages – what that means is anytime someone writes a comment [and the button for posting to Facebook remains checked ], you get additional visibility for your event page!

2. Add a Blurb to Your Facebook Page Banner :-

The image on your fan Page is prime real estate. The maximum dimensions are now 180px by 540px – I recommend taking up all that space. (Though, now that we have a list of links down the left instead of the lovely row of tabs across the top, you might want to make your fan Page image height less than 540px so more of the navigation links can be seen “above the fold.”)

3. Promote Your Registration Page on Your Fan Page Wall :-

So long as you consistently provide enough valuable content on your fan Page wall, you can certainly periodically promote the direct link to your event. I like to start with a question – something like “Have you got your ticket yet to this exciting event?” or “Hands up who’s attending this event?!

4. Create a Facebook Event :-

Facebook Events is one of the most mis-used and misunderstood features. There are basically two ways to create an Event on Facebook: 
1) via your personal Profile and
2) via your fan Page.

If you create an Event from your personal Profile, you will have the ability to message all invitees directly into their inbox. This one feature alone makes the Events created by your Profile the most attractive. 

HOT TIP : [If you’d rather not receive Event invitations/emails from certain friends but you don’t want to unfriend him/her, help is at hand! There’s a little-known feature on Facebook that allows you to block Event invitations from specific friends. Just go to Account > Privacy > Block Lists > scroll to Block event invites and type in the friend’s name. Voila. Your friend will be none the wiser. ]

I strongly suggest you create a Facebook Event via your fan Page for any business-related events and keep the personal/social events for your Profile. Just click the Events link on the left of your fan Page, then click the “Create an Event” button.

The downside with Page-created Events is you cannot message all invitees – you can only send an “Update” and it goes to all fans, just as if you are sending a regular Update from your fan Page. However, if you think of your Facebook Event as an outpost for additional engagement between potential attendees, attendees and yourself as the host, you’ll get more traction.

Once your Facebook Event is set up, you can always ask your invitees (via the Event wall and via periodic Updates) and ask your fans (via your Page wall) to invite their friends and/or to post the Event on their Profile. This gives you extra viral visibility around Facebook. 

One thing to note about Facebook Events, you’ll want to make it really clear there is a link that Facebook users need to click in order to register. Some people might think that by clicking the “I’m Attending” button they have signed up for your event. Write periodic updates and messages on the Event wall to encourage everyone to go get their ticket if they haven’t already.

Also, the Event photo/graphic is one of the most important features – when users share the Event around Facebook, the thumbnail of the image goes with it.

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