InScope: How to harness Facebook Events as a promotional tool

Claudia Bill is a Social Media Specialist for OMD Create Brisbane, driving strategic content and social-lead solutions across a wide range of clients.

How to harness Facebook Events as a promotional tool

Facebook Events are a powerful tool for marketers when used in the right context and with optimal utilisation of the features on offer. According to Facebook, 35 million people worldwide view a public event on Facebook every day[1]. In 2018 alone, there was a 40% year-on-year growth of people engaging with events created by pages[2]. It’s a rapidly expanding area both in event creation and user engagement, so here’s how to harness this knowledge and reap the benefits:

Leveraging organic reach
In a time when Facebook organic reach is virtually non-existent for most brands, the organic reach from events can be impressive. Recent updates to the Facebook algorithm were designed to centre around an individual’s friends and family members[3]. As Zuckerberg stated, we use social media to connect to people we care about, so it goes without saying that events are a strong form of connection amongst an individual’s network. When you respond to an event, your Facebook friends will see it in their feed; a friend responds; their friends see it, and the process goes on. It’s a meaningful social interaction, with the added benefit of exceptional organic reach.

Promote event responses via Ads Manager
While organic reach can be the driving force behind the success of many events, you will need an initial awareness push to show the event to your audience. There are two ways to promote your event: boosting ticket sales with a “Buy Tickets” call-to-action or boosting the event responses on Facebook. Unless you are retargeting an audience, event responses are the way to go to in order to ensure you’re making the most of the on-platform benefits. You can get as granular as you like when choosing your audience, including age, gender, interests and even users who have recently been in close proximity to the event location. Custom Audiences are useful here too, with the ability to target an audience who have recently engaged with your Facebook page or visited your website. When creating your ad, be sure to include relevant details with short and vibrant copy, using a high-quality photo or video to capture the attention of scrolling Facebook users.

Take advantage of free retargeting
Another reason to keep your event on the Facebook platform is to build the number of people who have responded with ‘going’ or ‘interested’, creating audiences to retarget at no cost. For one thing, Facebook will automatically send out notifications to people who have responded to the event as it approaches; so it’s important to create your event ahead of time to reach your audience with these reminders. Additionally, you have the event ‘discussion’ tab to take advantage of. Use this to post any event updates, information, countdowns, or ticket reminders (if applicable) – and yes, every time you post, attendees will receive a notification. This is a helpful tool in itself as it creates a reminder for the individual to organise with their friends or purchase tickets. AdEspresso also recommends features such as asking questions, conducting polls and responding to comments to spark engagement[4].

Draw insights
Both in the lead up to and after your event, Facebook allows you to track detailed results and draw your own insights. It’s as simple as viewing your event through Business Manager and hitting the ‘insights’ tab. From there, Facebook provides a wealth of information. From reach broken down by day and by source (paid vs organic), to when people are responding (plus their demographics and location breakdowns). You can also see from here who your top engaged audience is and work this into your ongoing promotional strategy.

Build a custom audience
Your audience can still be valuable even after your event has finished; Facebook now allows you to build Custom Audiences based on event responses. This means you can build audiences based on people who have responded ‘Going’ or ‘Interested’ and use this audience for future Facebook campaigns. Have another similar event coming up? Target the people you know will have an interest based on previous events. Want to send a follow-up message after your event? Use this as a way for them to view a gallery of photos or to keep in touch for future events. You can also make use of this in the lead up by connecting with people who have already responded with a more specific reminder message. This feature creates limitless options using a very specific and relevant audience.

[1] https://www.facebook.com/business/pages/post-event#why-facebook-events

[2] https://www.eventbrite.com/blog/asset/facebook-events-updates/

[3] https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571

[4] https://adespresso.com/blog/5-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-facebook-events/

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