Last fall I had the pleasure of teaching a series of workshops for Network Williamsburg called Facebook for Nonprofits. In the one of the sessions, I discussed using a Facebook Page to promote annual events as opposed to just creating a Facebook Event. A page will allow you to do many things that you cannot do with a simple Facebook Event. Here some of the ways a Page can help organizations who hold annual events:
- Photo Albums: Go back and collect photos from previous years and put them into separate albums, by year, on the new Event Page. In the photos that you upload, be sure to attach a date, a description for the photo and Tag the people in the photos! (You’ll only be able to tag people that you are friends with, but see if other people in your organization can Tag people too.) This will give your event exposure to the friends of the people you’re tagging – a very FREE and effective way to get in from of potential attendees. Additionally, staffers, volunteers and attendees can post pictures of their own on the Page.
- Cover Photos: You get a large amount of space on the page to convey the event concept with a large banner-sized photo. Pull out all the stops to impress them here. Make it look good.
- Check-Ins: If when creating the new Page for your event you choose “Local Businesses & Places” for the Category, it will allow people to “Check In” at your event, telling everyone on their friend’s list that they are there. This is GREAT advertising as it seems as if, by other, these people have endorsed you by attending.
- Fan Accumulation: If you create a page, you can build on your fan base year after year. Encourage people to ‘Like’ the Page, EVEN AT YOUR EVENT! Use traditional and creative methods of telling them to get involved on Facebook. The more fans you collect this year, the easier things will get next year. Eventually it will have legs.
- Event Creation: You can create Facebook Events from within a Page. This is great because you get to invite a ton of people to your event and it is very likely they will ‘Like’ the page in the process as well. Creating an Event on behalf of the page will also put the event on their calendar. Today, many people are syncing their mobile devices with their Facebook Calendar.
- Promotional Tabs: There are many different ways to engage fans whether you are selling tickets or promoting sponsors, by using the Tabs that are given to Pages in Facebook. Sweepstakes can be used, sign-up forms, coupons, partner pages, and many more. These are a bit more work than the simple steps that could be taken above, and may require outside help.
- Army-Mentality: Put your staffers, volunteers and Fans to work! Ask them to help you promote your page. Give them clear instruction on how they can help make this page successful. They are likely to be willing to help because it is what many people do on Facebook all day anyway. It takes seconds with the right instructions.
I’ve recently created a page for the Williamsburg Kiwanis Shrimp Feast that is a spot-on example for what I have detailed above. I think you will find value in the system as the page started August 1, 2012 with three likes and 10 hours later it had 55 likes. Here is a link to the page: https://www.facebook.com/KiwanisShrimpFeast.
By creating a page, you’ll create something that will remain a part of your attendees lives, and the lives of those who would like to attend, forever. They will feel engaged and it will warm their hearts and you will be front and center next year when you hold your event again. These steps could help your organization see greater and greater attendance with each consecutive year.
I wish you the best of luck in promoting your event on Facebook. If you have questions about making this work for you, feel free to chat with me on Facebook, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 757-741-8098.