It’s Facebook Friday — each week we’ll offer one tip for leveraging Facebook to increase customer awareness of and engagement with your brand or business.
With the release of Timeline earlier this year, Facebook has made lots of adjustments, both big and small, to its user experience. From cover photos to adopting a new storytelling approach, most of the new features have all been discussed thoroughly in the tech scene.
However, there is one element of Facebook that has seen extensive alterations, and can be a huge asset for businesses, that hasn’t gotten as much attention. That’s the suite of features known as Facebook Events.
Facebook has changed how members view their invites with the addition of a calendar view. The nuts and bolts of creating and promoting an event has changed as a result. Here are a few suggestions, along with some tips and tricks, that can help make your events more successful.
1. Be Short and Sweet
One of the big changes to how events appear on Facebook is that members can now see their invites in calendar format. That means only three or four words of the name will show up on your Events page. If you’ve created an event with a long title that doesn’t easily convey what will be happening, your followers may simply gloss over it. Use a name that’s simple and direct.
Likewise, the description of your event should be concise. The text box for a description is only a few lines long before Facebook cuts it off, so you want as many of the essential details to appear immediately for your guests. If your description is longer than the visible space, your guests can click through to read the entire text, but you can’t guarantee that everyone will do so. If important details are buried at the end of your description, some people may not see them.
2. Pick an Evocative Photo
Facebook is a network that revolves around images. An event is just one more way to solidify your company’s visual signature. You can upload a photo up to 4MB, so you have some flexibility to create an image that’s large enough to include some detail. If you have a poster or promotional flier for the happening, that’s a great choice for your event photo. If you don’t have extensive resources in graphic design, then just stick with an image that prominently features your company’s logo.
3. Make Separate Events for a Series
Some businesses may have an ongoing series of events, such as a concert tour with many stops. In this situation, it will be easier for you and your guests to create separate events for each occasion.
Especially in cases where your event might move to different venues, or even different cities, breaking out your events means you may be able to target the fans who would likely attend. Otherwise, telling a San Francisco resident about something happening in New York may just look like a useless invite to your Californian customer.
One exception might be when all of your events take place in the same location. If you are hosting a series of weekly classes or a contest with several rounds, it may be easiest to keep information consolidated so that guests may drop in and out of the dialog. You’ll have to make a judgement call about which approach makes the most sense for your brand and your event.
4. Advertise Wisely
Getting the word out about your event is key to building some buzz among your fan base. However, a constant barrage of posts asking people to attend can come across as desperate or annoying. Plan a general schedule for the time between the event’s creation and its actual date to make your announcements. Maintain a regular rate of posts tagging the event, then increase the frequency in the final days. You’ll rarely need to post about an event more than once a day.
Another important point is that event hosts can no longer send out messages to all of their guests. This used to be a major component of keeping people informed of updates or last-minute details. Instead, hosts must now rely on Wall posts for sharing that information. It does give your guests a centralized place to find out about goings on, but it also means that your official announcements can be pushed down by other posts. Just as you should be regular but reasonable with tagging the event, take the same approach to posting directly on the Wall.
5. Consider Facebook’s Promotion Feature
Just as brands have the option to promote a specific status, you can get into the nitty gritty of Facebook advertising to promote your events. This isn’t going to be the best fit for every business because it comes with some cost. For brands with a small or mid-sized audience to reach, the paid posts are probably not a good use of your resources. But for a large public event, this is an option to consider.
6. Devote Enough Resources to the Event
You know not to let a customer support inquiry go unanswered on your brand’s Page. The same holds true for any other Page related to your company, including an event. Make sure that your social media team keeps tabs on any notifications about the event. That means you’ll be able to answer questions, clarify details, and Like when people RSVP in a timely fashion. And since the Wall is so important now as a source of updates, you’ll want to be extra vigilant about moderating it. If you receive spam posts, you can hide or delete them.
The best approach for promoting Facebook events is to treat them as another place to demonstrate your commitment to your fans and your prowess in engaging your community base. The feature should just become a natural extension of your strategy on the network.
Got any suggestions for making your Facebook Events stand out? Let us know in the comments!