Organizing an event is a great way to get fans involved with your business and to put your brand in the public eye. But before you can play host, you need to get the word out to your guests. Facebook has long made a name for itself in this space with Facebook Events, but there are competitors — for example, Google+ recently launched its own competitor.

Social media networks offer plenty of features that let companies plan and promote events. Three of your most promising options are Facebook, Google+ Events, and Eventbrite. Each of them offer pros and cons, so you’ll want to have a clear idea of what kind of event you want to put on to pick the best option for your brand.

Facebook

The biggest perk to hosting an event on Facebook is the network’s size. You can easily reach an audience in the hundreds or thousands depending on how many people are fans of your Page. It’s also easy to respond and react to status posts that tag your event since those will appear on its Wall. Facebook also has rolled out a Suggested Guests feature. It uses the network’s check-ins and relationships to generate a list of people who would potentially be interested in your event (that have not yet been invited).

There are some downsides, though. One of the most notable is the lack of features for messaging guests. Your only means of communicating with the people you’ve invited is by posting to the event’s Wall. While this does keep all of your updates in a central location, a guest can opt to turn off notifications for the event and possibly miss your posts. Facebook’s changes to its News Feed algorithm mean that while you can create an event for free that fares passably well, paid media is becoming more and more of a requirement for success.

Facebook is the standard for event hosting when a business is already using the network. However, it really works best for companies that have built a strong and engaged community base (so that an invitation does not fall on disinterested ears), or for brands that have the cash to experiment with Facebook’s advertising.

Google+ Events

The social media network for search engine behemoth, Google, unveiled its latest feature for events earlier this year. Google+ Events goes beyond the basics of RSVPs and includes some great features for interacting with guests. You can view, comment on, and share posts about your event from within Gmail, and the events you are attending will sync with your Google Calendar. This makes it easy for the host to manage the planning and promotion stages of the event.

For even more interaction once the event is underway, it’s possible to enable Party Mode. Here, photos and videos from the event, including those taken by guests, can be uploaded to the page. You can also broadcast your event publicly with the On Air feature of Google+ Hangouts; people who cannot attend in person can still be involved with the action.

The catch for making an event successful on this platform is that your audience needs to be using Google+. The network is still woefully underutilized, even though there are some excellent features (such as the platform for events). If you’ve successfully migrated your customer base to Google+, then this is a wonderful option. It would also work well for a small, private event where you have email addresses for all of your guests.

Eventbrite

One of the best elements of Eventbrite is that you can advertise a link from that platform on any other social network. You could post it on Facebook, tweet about it on Twitter, promote it on LinkedIn, or share it in Google+ circles. This is also an ideal situation for events that require ticketing or paid admission. You can keep all your administrative tasks under one system, which makes Eventbrite particularly promising.

Eventbrite provides some analytics about event attendance and tracking ticket sales. It also has a mobile app and a mobile box office that offers tools for monitoring your attendance at the door.

Unfortunately, Eventbrite doesn’t have the same depth of social network integration as the more established options. People can browse events, but there isn’t a way for them to keep track of events hosted by a brand they like. That means you’ll need to use popular social networks in order to get the word out and mobilize your followers.

Another possible downside to Eventbrite is that while a free event is free to host, the company does collect a service fee and payment processing option once you opt to charge for tickets. Coupled with the need for extra social media promotion on all networks, brands hosting events with paid admission need to decide whether the simplicity of using the system is worth the extra cost. However, for a free event, this is an excellent hosting option for brands of any size.

What platform do you use for hosting events? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credit: Dichohecho]