An event is a fantastic opportunity to delight existing customers, while also reaching new audiences and increasing brand awareness.
Consider, for instance, how I first came across Southcoast Open Air Market — a local, Massachusetts-based market featuring handmade goods, fresh produce and meats, and live music — by searching "Events near me" on Facebook.
I never would've found the company if not for an event they posted recently:
And, thus, the ultimate power of online events: The ability to attract new customers to your business.
Fortunately, an event doesn't have to be expensive. You can set up virtual events and webinars with Facebook Live for free, or create small events at your company's physical location to encourage new local visitors.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges when hosting a Facebook event is spreading awareness of the event to both new and existing audiences.
If you're going through the trouble of hosting an event, you want people to show up — and, better yet, you want people to continue spreading the word about your business even after the event is over.
Here, we'll explore some creative opportunities you can use to promote an upcoming event on Facebook.
How to Promote an Event on Facebook
To demonstrate how to effectively promote an event on Facebook, let's walk through an example.
Let's say I recently started a business — Caroline's Cupcakes — and I want to host an event to drive new traffic to my page.
But, once I've created the event … how do I promote it? Let's explore how to do that, next.
It's important to note — in this section, we'll explore how to formally promote your event using Facebook advertising features, which means it costs money to run these promotions. If you're looking for cheaper or free alternatives, skip to the next section in this post, Best Ways to Promote an Event on Facebook.
Additionally, take a look at Facebook's instructions if you're new to creating a Facebook event. You'll need a Facebook event to continue with these steps.
1. As soon as you've created your event, Facebook will serve you a pop-up that reads, "Boost Your Online Event". Click "Boost Event" to promote your event to new audiences.
Alternatively, if you clicked away from the pop-up or created the event a while ago, simply return to your company's page and click the "Promote" button displayed there:
And then click the box that reads, "Boost an Event".
2. Next, fill in the Ad Creative you want to use when you promote the event, including an event description, image, and Ad Category. Here's where you want to use advertising best practices to ensure your copy and image attract new audiences when they come across your event.
3. Once you've filled out the Ad Creative, you'll want to choose the Audience you want to see your event. Plug in certain key audience factors related to your target audience, or consider using Facebook's lookalike feature to find similar people to those who already follow, Like, and engage with your content online.
4. Finally, choose the duration for which you want to promote your event. We'd recommend promoting a few weeks before the event, so your audience has time to schedule it into their calendars and even invite friends or colleagues. Additionally, you'll want to choose your budget here, as well.
5. Once you've finalized your ad, click "Boost Event Now" to ensure your event is shared with new, interested audiences.
Of course, these steps can help you promote your event through advertising. But if you're on a strict budget, you might not have the resources to officially promote it.
Fortunately, there are a few alternative best practices to promote your event — which I'd recommend doing even if you've officially boosted your event, as well.
Let's explore those, now.
Best Ways to Promote an Event on Facebook
1. Change your business' page settings so your Events are listed first when people find your business page.
When visitors find your business page, they'll see a few tabs at the top, including "Home", "Group", "Photos", etc.
To increase traffic to your events page, consider re-organizing these tabs so an "Event" tab is listed first on your business page.
To do this, click the "More" dropdown on your company page, and then select "Edit Tabs":
Next, drag the "Events" tab to the top, right under "Home":
This is a small detail, but it could go a long way towards encouraging new page visitors to click and view upcoming events.
2. Share and pin your event to the top of your business page.
Even though you have a different page for your event invite, there's no reason you shouldn't be broadcasting the event on your business' official Facebook page, as well.
To do this, share a post highlighting details about your event — including where people can sign up, when it is, and what content you'll cover. Then, right-click the three dots at the top right-hand corner of your Facebook post, and select "Pin to Top of Page":
This is another easy opportunity to promote your event. When both new and existing audiences come across your business page they'll see, front and center, a pinned post about your upcoming event.
3. Post a status highlighting the event from your business page.
A few days before the event, reach out to your page followers with a quick reminder status. Use images, emojis, and other fun, interactive elements to remind your audience about the upcoming event and increase excitement for it.
If you can, publishing a short, promotional video could help raise awareness and excitement, as well. For instance, take a look at how Content Marketing Virtual Summit published a short video from one of its webinar speakers, Ellie Hernaman, to remind followers of the upcoming event:
4. Optimize your event page for wider reach.
If you're going through the trouble of promoting an event page, you'll want to make sure the event page itself is ready to attract and delight new viewers.
A few small details can go a long way, here. For instance, consider using a unique, original image as your cover photo, as The Honey Pot Company did with its Essence Wellness House Atlanta event:
Additionally, use relevant tags related to your event — such as "startup" and "technology" — to ensure the event gets shared and viewed by the right channels.
5. Share your event to relevant Facebook groups.
If you've created a Facebook group for your business, this could be a good opportunity to broadcast your event to audiences who've already proven an interest in your brand.
Additionally, if you're a member of a Facebook group made up of people you believe would truly find an interest in your event, go ahead and share your event there as a member post.
However, a word of caution: This can easily feel promotional and can backfire, particularly if members feel you're only sharing content related to your own business.
Instead, you'll want to ensure it's authentic and helpful to the topic at-hand. For instance, if you're part of a Tech Startup Facebook group and your company is hosting a webinar, "8 Impressive New Tech Startups to Watch", then by all means — go ahead and post with a quick, "Hey fellow members, feel free to join this webinar on Tuesday."
Just be careful not to overdo it, particularly if it doesn't feel relevant to the other topics being discussed.
6. Copy the link and paste it into an email newsletter, or alternative channels to broadcast it to existing leads.
On your event page, you'll see a "Share" option (the arrow pointing to the right) — when you click on it, Facebook gives you an option to copy-and-paste a specific URL link, or share to a Page or group:
If you feel many of your prospects and customers engage with your brand outside of Facebook, it could be a good idea to copy-and-paste the URL into other channels and share with engaged followers on other social platforms.
Additionally, you might consider opening your event for "pre-access" to an exclusive email subscriber list — like those who've purchased your product or service, or your Blog subscribers — on a "first come, first serve" basis. Here's an example of how that might look in practice:
Ultimately, it's a good idea to paste the URL into other content channels to expand your reach. For instance, if you have a dedicated Instagram following, you might paste the URL into your Instagram bio.
7. Ask other businesses or influencers to co-host or sponsor your event so they can share your event with their audiences.
One sure-fire opportunity to reach new audiences is by asking another business or influencer in the industry to co-host or sponsor your event.
This can help you increase the amount of people who hear about your event, and it can also make the event itself more valuable by including unique, original thought leadership content.
For instance, M&M BBQ, a Boston-based barbecue restaurant, partnered with Dorchester Brewing Company to host events like Sunday brunch and combine its barbecue with Dorchester Brewing Company's popular beer.
Recently, Dorchester Brewing Company posted about the event with a link directly to M&M BBQ:
This serves two purposes: First, any Facebook followers or customers of DBC might take an interest in M&M BBQ as a result of the Facebook post (or an in-person experience of testing out the barbecue).
And, second, Dorchester Brewing Company has increased value of its own event by providing its loyal customers with the option to eat delicious barbecue as they test out beers. A win, win.
Ultimately, you'll need to figure out which promotional methods work best for your brand, your event, and your audience. Fortunately, the sky's the limit when it comes to promoting an event on Facebook — both on, and off the social network.