Event marketing is tough. Trying to convince people to attend your next webinar or networking event can be as challenging as getting your Fantasy Football buddies to come to your great aunt’s 97th birthday party. Unless you’ve been assigned the task of promoting Super Bowl XLVI chances are you’re more excited about the event you’re promoting than the general public. That’s not to say that your event is going to be lame, it’s just hard to convince people that your event is going to be worth their while, especially with first-time events.
Therein lies the challenge of sparking up enough interest to get people to take time out of their busy schedules to attend something that may or may not benefit them. Conveniently, Facebook has an app for that. It’s called Facebook Events, and its many features hold your hand through the process of marketing your next big event.
1. Put Some Thought into the Guest List
Think of your guest list creation as target marketing for your event. It’s so easy to create events in Facebook and even easier to hit that Invite All button. It’s pretty obvious when event invites are sent out in this manner, and it screams “laziness.”
In the event that you do have a tight, niche following on Facebook, you probably do want to invite everyone. However, go the extra mile and include a personalized message with your invites. It shows people that you genuinely want them to attend your event. Here’s an example of what you could write in a personalized message to an invitee:
Hey John, I’m hosting XYZ event next month and I think you’d really benefit from it. It’s going to be quite the draw for young professionals like yourself and it should be a great opportunity to pick up a couple leads for your insurance business!
2. Show, Don’t Tell
An easy way to convince people to come to your event is to give them physical evidence that it’s going to be great. Ideally you could post pictures or videos from the last event. However, if this is your first or only event, you’ll have to get a little more creative. One way to incorporate media into your event would be to post a video of yourself or someone else talking about the event on the Event Wall.
Logos are typically not your best bet for your Event Photo, as it is not very personal or indicative of the event’s happenings, so try to include pictures that give invitees an idea of what they can expect at the event. However, something is better than nothing in the case of your event’s photo, so if you don’t have anything better to use, go ahead and throw a logo up there as your event’s image.
3. Be Interactive
So the event has been created and the invites have been sent out, but the work doesn’t end there. Just as you want to have an interactive Facebook Fanpage, you want to have an interactive Facebook Event. It’s important to send out the invites far enough in advance so that people can make room in their schedule, but if you send them out too far in advance you run the risk of losing interest.
Your event wall is a great place to keep the buzz going about your event. Post regular updates with event details to build up the excitement. Respond to people who RSVP by telling them you’re excited to see them at the event or that you’re sorry they can’t make it. Any time you write on your Event Wall, it shows up in your invitee’s newsfeed, gently reminding them about the event.
4. Ride on the Coat Tails of Celebrities
Especially if this event is the first of its kind, a great way to spark up interest is by capitalizing on the inherent hype surrounding celebrities or big names within the industry. Even if invitees know nothing about your business or the event you’re sponsoring, they probably know a thing or two about your celebrity guests and would be giddy at the chance to meet them or hear them speak.
Use the Event Wall to go into detail about the guest speakers and what they’ll be talking about at the event. Provide links to your guests’ blogs or websites for those who may not be familiar with them.
5. Advertise on Other Networks
Just because you created the event on Facebook doesn’t mean you can’t use your other social media networks to spread the word about the event. Direct people to your Facebook Event via Twitter or write a blog post about the event and encourage people to RSVP on Facebook. Chances are there are some Twitter followers who don’t like you on Facebook who might be interested in the event. And who knows, maybe you’ll get some new Facebook Fans out of the deal.
The viral nature of Facebook and the vast user base of the network makes it a pretty ideal network for promoting your next event. However, it’s not enough to simply fill out the event details and send out an invite to all of your friends or fans. With a little extra effort you can really customize the event and your invites in order to generate a healthy buzz and a rockin turnout to your event.