Awesome events have two key ingredients: awesome event organizers and awesome attendees. You already have the awesome event organizer (that’s you!), but getting attendees can be a bit of a mystery. You probably already know that your attendees are on Facebook, but you need some help figuring out how to get their attention. Social media platforms make it as easy as possible to market your events online, so we've put together a handy cheat sheet that allows you to skip the midnight Googling and get the attention of those awesome people to attend your event. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Starting Line: Define your voice
- Two things define how you present your event online: the type of event you're having, and the type of people who you think would be most likely to attend. If you're hosting an open mic night for students in your college town, then you'll want to use casual language that’s quick to read and feels natural. Think sentence fragments, acronyms, and if you're feeling hip, even a little slang. But if you're putting on a series of breakfast networking sessions for accountants, then consider a more professional voice and use of terminology.
- Hot Tip: Put together a list of ten words that represent your event and will connect with your audience. Whenever you're writing any marketing piece relating to your event (email, Instagram post, event description), use those words to create a consistent voice that will start to sound familiar to your prospects. It will also reduce the time you spend thinking up what to write!
Stage Two: Start talking
- You've got your language, and you know what you're going to say. Now you have to post it somewhere. Of course, you're going to want to post on your Facebook page or Facebook event. But those posts will only be seen by people who are invested in your event, and you want a wider audience.
- Hot Tip: Whenever you post about your event, include your ticket link so people can click through and buy a ticket.
- You know all those great people who offered to help you with your event? Now it's time for you to take them up on those kind offers. Send your community partners and sponsors a brief message (just a paragraph or two at most) about your event that you've pre-written (you can invite them to snazz it up with their own brand personality), along with an image that they easily post on their own social media channels. The key is making it as easy as possible for your supporters to share information about your event. And don't forget to link to the event page you created with your ticketing platform.
Third Movement: Give it away now
- The word is starting to spread about your event--people are reading, clicking through to your custom event page, and liking your social media posts. We all know the old adage: "If one person invites a friend, and that person invites a friend, well, we'd be sold out!" It’s not always quite that easy, but we’ve got a strategy that comes pretty close. Running a few promotional contests can engage new ticket buyers and increase awareness about your event. Having a pre-event prize strategy can help build momentum for your event, but because each platform is unique, try to tweak your contests to connect with each audience differently.
- On Facebook, run a contest that prompts your followers to tag a friend in the comments for a chance to win free tickets to your event. This will put your event on the radar of a larger circle of prospective ticket buyers.
Fourth Level: Stagger your content
- We know you’re excited, but this is the time to exercise a bit of restraint. Build up some anticipation for your event by staggering the information you release. Instead of announcing the entire speaker lineup at once, release event info in groups, once a week for a few weeks. Use countdown images with snippets of information as another way to build excitement for your event. Don’t forget to include quotes and content from participants as well.
Extra Credit: Bonus Tips
Here are a few extras if you feel like going that extra mile.
- Great images. In a perfect world, we'd all have great photos that help sell our event. That unreal shot of the band playing live, pictures of participants laughing and having fun, and happy event exhibitors that are shaking hands--those are the photos we all wish we had dozens of to choose from. No photos? No problem. Using free programs like Canva or PicMonkey to create great-looking social graphics is a way to entice your audience and create visually exciting posts.
- Going live. Going Live on Facebook sounds terrifying, but we promise, it's not! Your very smart audience knows that a live video means stuff happens, and they’ll be forgiving. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and make a plan before you go live. While you don't want to have your entire video scripted, writing down the four or five bullet points you want to talk about will give you a road map of what to say. Start by introducing yourself, connecting yourself to your event, and then launch into three or four exciting updates that your attendees will want to hear. People appreciate authenticity, so if while you're filming, your phone rings, that's ok--embrace it! But if a parade of emergency vehicles drives by and it makes it impossible for the audience to hear you, don't be afraid to stop filming (you have the option of not sharing your live video to your audience after you hit "end") and start over.
- Posting in groups. You know that your event will resonate with and excite people, but where are your people? No matter what your interest is, chances are, there's already a local Facebook group or Reddit group dedicated to it. If you've organized an afternoon bird watching tour, trying searching "bird watching" and your city name in Facebook, and see what kind of groups pop up. If there is a group already organized and filled with people who you think would love to attend, request to join the group and check within the group rules that you're allowed to post about your event. If you are, then fire away!