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How Facebook Can Work For Event Planners

10th February 2017
Facebook logo and two silhouettes

Facebook and Event Marketing

Facebook has revolutionised the way the event industry functions.  It is well suited to our social industry; it is powerful as a promotional tool and a marketing platform. It provides vital information for event seekers allowing you to connect directly to your customer base.  According to a 2017 survey from Eventbrite, 48% of attendees are now discovering events via Facebook. 

Getting Started: Facebook for Event Professionals

If you don’t already have a business page for your brand then it’s advisable to create one. It gives you the ability to advertise yourself as effectively as possible, whether you’re a one-man band or a large corporation.

It is crucial to sell your brand, whether you’re an expert event planner or organising your company or department event for the first time. Each time you have an event to push, you should create a separate event page on Facebook, linked to your brand page.

A Facebook Events Page:

Setting up a Facebook page for your event is a simple process. We’ve summarised it below, in easy to follow bullet points and helpful images to guide you through the setup.

1: Click ‘create an event' at the top of your page’s timeline. 

Setting up a facebook event page step 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2: Add an event picture and further details of the event, such as the location, date time and category. Make the image distinctive and as evocative of your event as possible.

Setting up a facebook event step 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3: It’s wise to give people as many details within the event description as you can. The more details people have, the closer they’ll come to deciding to attend. Add a link to your ticketing website if you have one, making the conversion process seamless.  

 

facebook event page setup step 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Finally, choose who you want to help administrate your event page within your company. You will also need to decide which delegates are able to post to the event wall. We’d recommend keeping this open, so potential attendees see mutual acquaintances that may be going. 

Facebook event set up final step

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a detailed guide to Facebook events, you can find a ream of helpful tips and inspiration on the dedicated Facebook Events site. For creative recommendations regarding the look of your event page, as well as marketing tips, browse this Eventbrite blog.

Event Marketing Strategies on Facebook

Facebook is invaluable for your event marketing – it allows you access to that personal level of data that you can’t get from other marketing channels such as traditional or search marketing.  You have access to specific demographics, via the Facebook Advertising interface. Using this you can find those people who like other brands similar to yours or who have interests that match your brand values. If for example you're planning an upcoming awards ceremony, you could find all those people on Facebook who've associated with your company in some way, boosting numbers. For tips on organising an Awards Ceremony, check out our guide.

Facebook as an Event Planning Tool

Facebook allows you to build up connections with your audiences. Through your brand page on Facebook you can connect with people who are a major part of your target audience.  Think of it as an active community. You are there to join in with conversations and encourage people to engage with the event.

Once you’ve made these connections, make people feel involved by asking for their opinions before you plan an event. This way you can also suss out what people would expect or want from an event.   

Use your Facebook event page to keep people regularly updated with the event news. This could include new additions to the line-up, changes to the event details or travel information. Anyone who has shown an interest or marked that they’re attending, will receive a notification. 

Get people excited about the event by drip-feeding them new details as the date of the event gets closer. This helps maintain interest and ensures the event is at the forefront of their minds.  

Once an event is over, use your event page to ask for valuable feedback. Make a post on the page and ask people to share their favourite bits or share what they would change for the next one. You can also use Facebook post-event to share photographs, videos or slideshares from the event.
 

Facebook image event feedbank

Image Credit: Jennifer Daniel, Flickr.

Facebook for Event Promotion

If you’re willing to assign a Facebook marketing budget then you’ll be able to make use of paid ads. These will allow you to reach a wider target audience as well as focus on specific niche groups.

You can push your event out using promotions directly from your page. Simply click on ‘Boost event’ on your event page and target people based on gender, age, location and interests.

Launch your campaign with panache, plugging it as a huge launch day. Ensure that you invite previous event attendees.

If you want to specifically boost ticket sales through website conversions, select ‘increase ticket sales’ when you’re boosting the post. Make sure you have a ticket URL on the event page itself.  Using Facebook Ads manager, you can tailor the ads in a more granular way, such as just targeting friends of connections for example.

As mentioned above, you have access to demographics via Facebook advertising that you wouldn’t have in any other form of marketing.  Via the Facebook Advertising interface, you can also target people who have visited your site before and even create lookalike audiences who have similar profiles to those who’ve visited your site. 

A Facebook recommendation is as good as a word of mouth in the non-digital world, so news of your event could spread quickly. Attendees essentially become brand advocates. And the beauty of Facebook is that people can be connected to it at all times of the day. So you can connect with your audience at optimal times, when the majority of people are online.  

Event Marketing

As part of the bigger event journey, use Facebook to network with well-known event professionals to gain tips and keep up to date with the latest trends and tools within the Event planning world.

You never know, you could pick up personal endorsements and recommendations once you’ve built up a good relationship with them. Combine this with traditional networking and those one-off meetings will be cemented by follow-up interactions on social media.

Use Facebook further to cross-fertilise with other digital marketing channels. Push the event out via Facebook, using a boosted post and send people to your page to signup for further news regarding your event.

Now they’re signed up to your newsletter subscriber list, you can market to them via a promotional email send. You could use this to suggest an early bird discount, if your event is a paid gathering. 

Getting down to basics: Using Facebook on a daily basis

Facebook is a multi-faceted tool for event planners and can perform many different services at once:

·      Marketing

·      PR

·      Customer Service

·      Event Feedback

·      Audience research

In addition to longer-term goals, Facebook can work hard for you on daily basis, if you plan events regularly.

It’s a handy platform for letting your target audience see your brand personality.

Post in a relatively chatty and informal way, with short and meaningful text content. Ensure your post has a strong piece of visual content attached to it, perhaps allowing an insight to the latest activity in your business or location.

It can be used to great effect for a number of events, such as meetings, product launches, exhibitions, trade shows and conferences. 

On the day of the event

During an event, you can use Facebook to enhance your customer service reputation. The chances are if people have something to complain about, they’ll use Facebook to connect quickly and directly with your brand.

It’s vital to monitor this and try to deal with any issues as quickly and honestly as possible.  Before, during and after the event you can also post practical content, such as tips on where to register, transport link recommendations and links to an event app if you have one.

Facebook is a particularly useful tool during an event to boost audience engagement. You can post videos and images of event highlights and ask people questions to get them excited about their favourite parts of the day.

A recent and exciting development for Facebook is the ability to stream a live event as it’s happening. This is ideal for attendees who can’t make it on the day, with the ability to live stream events from your mobile device to your event page. Read this handy guide to the new functionality from Hubspot. This works in a similar way to the Periscope app, enabling you to receive and respond to live comments on the video stream. Boost exposure of your event by complementing your Facebook use with Twitter promotion too; become an event pro with our 28 rules for promoting your event on twitter.

Upcoming Trends for Facebook

The coming year looks set to be an exciting time for Facebook and events. With Facebook Live taking off, the future for Facebook events is looking strong.

The Facebook Events App

In October last year, Facebook announced the launch of their Facebook Events app, which is currently only available in the US.

This Facebook tool is fantastic for enabling people to find events that are local to them and enabling them to be synced to their phone calendars. This will most likely enable you as an event promoter to get organic reach, so making Facebook even more efficient for event promotion, particularly on a local basis.

The app shows people what events Facebook thinks they would be interested in, based on what their friends are going to, the person’s location, interests and likes. By syncing the events with your calendar, you can then see which events you would be free to attend as well. This too makes interested groups more likely to make a definite commitment on the spot.     

Facebook image of app on phone

Image Credit: Facebook Newsroom

Facebook for Events

In summary, Facebook is a hugely valuable tool for event planning, marketing and promotion. 

Remember it’s crucial to create a powerful event page, separate from your company brand page.  Use both these pages to research, engage with and target your desired audience.

Cross-fertilise Facebook with your other marketing tools to optimise its impact on your events.

Be certain to educate yourself about recent and upcoming Facebook trends such as the Facebook Events App and Facebook Live, so that you’re aware of all the advantages Facebook can bring you as an event planner.

 

At Senate House Events, our in house team is always on hand to help out with any queries you may have, regarding our event venues, booking of your event and technical or logistical issues on the day. Find out more about our additional event services and browse our room hire prices. Get in touch with us on 020 7862 8127, email us on conference@london.ac.uk or make an online enquiry.  And of course you can find us on Facebook.

 

Posted by
Charlie Vernon
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