Promoting your chamber event on Facebook? Remember the old saying: fish where the fish are.
When it comes to numbers and interests, most of your chamber members will be on Facebook. Even older generations are embracing it as an easy way to stay connected. Here’s our guide to leveraging Facebook for your chamber events.
While you don’t want to use it solely for all of your chamber communications (it doesn’t belong to you and your account could be frozen at any time), it is incredibly effective for event promotion. In fact, in 2018, 47 million Facebook events were created.
What Makes Facebook a Great Medium for Promoting Your Chamber Event?
Entertainment and a Ripe Audience
Facebook is an excellent place to advertise and promote events because most people on Facebook are in an escapist mood. They’ve come to kill time, be entertained, catch up with friends, see pretty pictures, or a host of other light-hearted activities.
Most visitors to Facebook are not looking to make serious decisions about their business. It’s not to say it can’t happen, but most of the business on Facebook is entertaining business and that’s what makes it a great vehicle for promoting events. People are looking for fun things to do.
Facebook has a lot of easy to use tools that will help you promote your event and get it in front of the right people. It also shows interest to friends of attendees and people who are interested in your event. This is ideal for helping improve word of mouth marketing. If someone knows a friend is interested in your chamber event, they may click on it to learn more.
Facebook offers strong, inexpensive, targeted ways to reach the audience that is most interested in you and your events, plus the Facebook pixel allows you to retarget those who show interest but don’t attend.
Now that you know what makes Facebook a good place to advertise and promote your chamber event, let’s cover exactly how to do that.
Best Ways to Advertise and Promote Your Chamber Event on Facebook
Let’s talk about the three different ways that most of the Facebook audience will learn of your chamber event. This is not a “choose your favorite” way to reach the audience. In order to achieve the most success, you want to do all of them.
#1. Post on Facebook
This is the most obvious one. Posts are where you share information about your event with an image. They’re easy and free. The downside of them is that if you don’t have good engagement with your audience, and they’re not interacting with you, it’s likely only a small fraction of people who follow you will see it.
That’s why if you want to organically promote your events on Facebook, you need to make sure your audience interacts with you prior to that. A few years back (2014), Facebook revamped its rules about asking for likes. It threatened to bury posts that did so aggressively.
But at the same time, it hardly seems fair to require interaction for people to see the content. But it is what it is.
So if you want people to see your event post, use other posts to drive interaction prior to that. The more people interact, the more people will see your post.
So how do you get them to interact and engage?
The easiest way is to ask them questions they feel compelled to respond to. The bonus of Facebook’s engagement “requirement” is that it doesn’t matter if they’re writing you paragraphs of how much they love your chamber or simply posting an emoji on your page, they count the same.
So ask them easy to answer questions like, “How would you describe your day in an emoji?” or “Do you put ketchup on a hot dog?” or “What’s your favorite kind of pie?” These questions take seconds to answer and people will enjoy reading what others have written.
#2. Create a Facebook Event
Next, let’s optimize your chamber page to make sure you are event ready. Facebook gives you tabs and you can control their order. If you host a lot of events and you plan on promoting them on Facebook, you should make sure your “events” tab is one of the first ones on your chamber page’s timeline.
Now that you’ve organized your tabs to give events a higher priority, let’s take a look at a few things involved in building and promoting your chamber event.
- Image/video leader: When you create an event, you can insert a video or image to serve as the banner of your event. It’s important that this grabs attention, You needn’t add in all of the information about the event in this image or video. You can do that later. The point of this is to get your audience interested in learning more.
- Event name: You have 64 characters so make them count.
- Location: You can use the venue name or give the street address. Since Facebook reaches all over the world, try to add a state in addition to your city. You just don’t know who is seeing it. You may assume Columbus is clear enough since you’re the Columbus Chamber but there are 22 cities of Columbus in this country.
- Description: Tell people what your event is about and how they will benefit. Make it targeted toward their needs, not what you think is important.
- Category: Makes it easier for people to find you.
- Frequency: This is a helpful one for chambers that have recurring events like a “lunch and learn” every month.
- Co-hosts: You can list sponsors or other co-hosts here. Tag individuals or company pages. But before you add a sponsor or an individual know that you are giving them admin rights to the event when you add them. If you don’t want to do that, leave them off this space and mention them in the description.
- Schedule: If your event is a festival with multiple acts, you can add the times and details in this space.
- Keywords: This is really important as some people will search by keywords to find things to do, especially last minute.
Peopleon Facebook like to leave their options open. Just because you have 150 people say they’re interested, it doesn’t mean they’re attending. Of course, it doesn’t mean they aren’t either. Some events need tickets and strict RSVPs. Adjust the settings in this area to reflect that.
- Options: This section allows you to control who can post. Leave this as open as possible. If you allow people to easily ask questions and get answers quickly without talking to someone, you’ll increase interest.
Once you fill out the details you can choose to publish it or schedule it like you would a regular post. Facebook’s event tools allow you to mass delete events too. You also have the options to publish news events to your chamber timeline and calendar automatically.
#3 Know the Policies
Facebook has a lot of rules and they don’t spend time spelling them out to you. If you’re in violation of anything when promoting your chamber event, they can freeze or delete your account without warning. Here are a few things you should know:
- No impersonation. You cannot pretend to be someone else in your invitations, group or page.
- No gambling. While you can advertise or invite someone to a casino night, you cannot invite them to partake in online gambling. Be clear when promoting your chamber event about the exact nature of these activities.
- No incentives. Do not give people reasons to do things that are against Facebook’s features or functionality like asking for good reviews for
pastevents in return for something like a free ticket.
- Be careful when collecting data. If you are collecting data from people to be used later, you must inform them that you are collecting it and using it and not Facebook. You must get permission to use it (this is just good practice anyway). You cannot collect data without permission (go ahead and have a little chuckle over this rule from Facebook. I know I did.).
- Be careful with personalized calls to action. You cannot use any information gathered from a person’s interaction with your page on your call to action for anything other than the service you provide without their consent.
- Content posted to an event page is public.
- Your page’s cover photo or profile picture cannot have a verified check mark (like on Twitter), and must not include third-party products, brands or sponsors.
- You cannot use automated invites on Facebook.
- You must be upfront with any additional charges or costs associated with your event.
Even if you are the engagement king or queen, if you want the most people to see your event, you’ll need to advertise.
There are two bonuses to doing that. You’ll get more views (of course) and you can target just who sees your content. Targeting who Facebook shows it to means you can find your ideal demographic and people who are most likely to convert without spending a lot of money.
Through detailed targeting, you can create custom audiences based on:
topics they’ve talked about (such as travel)
- pages they’ve interacted with
- ads they’ve clicked
Here are a few best practices from Facebook about creating your chamber event ad.
For your most successful Facebook event, you want to ensure you promote