Improve Your Turnout With These 6 Easy Ways to Promote Your Industry Event on Facebook
You already use Facebook—you spend hours keeping up with friends, dominating at Candy Crush, and maybe even promoting your business. But do you know how much Facebook can help you when conventions roll around? It turns out that social media and your industry’s marketing strategy can be a perfect match. Here are six of the most high-impact ways to use Facebook before, during, and after your next convention to make it your best yet.
One: Create an event page. This is an easy first step—you’ve probably already made event pages for personal parties or gatherings. Include an informative, concise description of the convention, as well as the time, location, and (if applicable) a link to the host organization’s website. Relevant photographs will make the page more eye-catching and polished. Invite Facebook friends who may want to attend, but make sure you think before you spam your entire friend-list with a mass invite. For example, if you consistently send foreign friends invites to Chicago-specific events, they’ll pay less and less attention to even the best things you share.
Two: The reach and effectiveness of Facebook’s in-newsfeed ads has generated buzz this summer, and paying to “promote” some of your event’s posts can be a great way to reach more potential participants. The price varies in relation to a number of factors, including where you live or are hosting your event, but you’ll receive a clear quote before you have to commit to the purchase. After writing a short, status-like message on your event page, simply click the “promote” option that will appear nearby and follow the directions. Users can like and share these posts just as they would a normal status, so be sure to write something your target audience will find interesting or useful—perhaps a fun fact about your industry followed by a brief announcement of the event, or a piece of exciting conference news.
Three: Once people have signed on to attend your event, you can build anticipation by sharing relevant articles, videos or other media to spark discussion. When you post these on the event page, they’ll appear in the newsfeeds of many participants, creating excitement about the event and giving them a chance to share it with their friends. Posting items like these is especially effective if you connect them back to the upcoming event and close with a question. In advance of an education convention, for example, the organizer might link to an article about the rise of chess in elementary schools with the caption, “Does your school offer chess? Drama? Kazoo? Our ‘Effective Extracurricular Coaching’ panel will dig into how non-academic activities can foster kids’ drive to succeed—help us prepare by sharing your best (or zaniest!) stories below.”
Four: Make sure that all your attendees see these discussions—and have the chance to share them with friends—by installing social share buttons (“Like this page!”) on your event’s registration website. These buttons give users an easy way to endorse the event on platforms including Facebook and Twitter, which serve as powerful, free advertising. Place these buttons near the top of the registration page, where all visitors will see them. Going overboard can create a cluttered look, so pick five or fewer buttons to install. Consider your audience: if your industry is a creative one, for example, attendees may jump at the chance to share their excitement with their Twitter followers.
Five: During or immediately after the event, create a group to help the attendees stay in touch with one another and continue the conversations they started at the convention. This should be separate from any groups you run for ongoing businesses or other organizations, even if there’s overlap between your business’s customers and the event’s attendees. Invite your new friends to join, and encourage them to pass the word along. To prevent the group from quickly petering out in the days following the convention, post resources and questions that will help people follow up on the discussions they had there.
Six: You can also use this after-convention group to post photos and videos of the event’s highlights. This will solidify attendees’ positive memories, allow them to catch up on any moments they missed, and give them a virtual souvenir to share with their loved ones and industry contacts. Tag people to ensure that they (and their Facebook friends) see the pictures that include them. Compiling these photos in one place will also make it easier to prepare for next year’s convention—when it’s time to start from step one again, you’ll have lots of happy images to brighten your new event page.
Taking these steps—along with maintaining consistent social media presences for yourself and your business all year round—will not only help fill your convention seats, but also ensure that attendees show up ready to engage and leave with a new set of strong connections. Make Facebook work for you!
Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance site that helps consumers stay informed about the best money-saving tips and tricks. Check out her Google+ profile for examples of more of her work.