May 7, 2018

Facebook Events Q&A

Who's ready to talk Facebook? This month we're going to deep dive into what I consider the most useful Facebook tools that you have at your disposal as a creative entrepreneur. And guess what? Most, if not all, of them are free. This week I want to start with Facebook Events because they are beneficial to most artists and handmade business owners. Whether you participate in craft fairs or show your work in galleries or just sell online, you are likely to have special occasions related to your work. How do you spread the word efficiently and effectively? For the segment of your audience that is active on Facebook, Events are one of the best options. Facebook is by nature a social platform, and it's becoming where people manage their social calendar. Don't you want to be on the list of things to do in Austin? Great question, am I right? While that one was rhetorical, here is a series of additional questions to help you make the best use of Facebook Events for your next art happening, be it a show, sale, gallery opening, or what have you.

1. Does the event already exist on Facebook? 
  • Yes – Use the feature that allows you to add other Events to your page and share with potential attendees. One of the greatest benefits of public Events on Facebook is that everyone can do their part of getting people interested. We all have our own audiences, and that means a wider net for the organizers.
  • No – Then an Event needs to be created. Be sure you searched well to confirm.

2. Are you the host of this happening?
  • Yes – Go ahead and create an Event. In almost all cases, these Events should be tied to your Page not personal Profile for professionalism.
  • No – Talk to the organizers because they should be the ones to create the official Event.

3. Are there multiple hosts?
  • Yes – Cool, you can all be listed and help share the task for spreading awareness. By adding Co-Hosts, each will need to approve, but then the Event is listed on everyone's Page.
  • No – Ok, then just list your page, but that doesn't mean you can't ask affiliates and supporters to help spread the work. You'll notice that I have many Events listed on the Crafting Exposure Page that I am not actually hosting. This is a specially curated list of Events and Opportunities that I think artists like you might benefit from. The same is true of Annie's Artist Lookbook with local art happenings and pop ups for art lovers to shop. 

4. Do you need your own Event for this happening?
  • Yes – If you are the host and you have your own location for an Event, like East and West Austin Studio Tour, then it makes sense to have your own Facebook Event.
  • No – If you are participating in a larger event at one venue, no need to create clutter for other Facebook users. Just use the Add to Page feature and share the existing event. That's where people will get the most accurate information from the host.

5. Do you want your Event to be easy to find?
  • Yes – Naming is key. Make sure you are keeping consistent with what your audience already knows about the event so if they search, they can find it. Also, use the Category, Description and Keywords to your advantage so new people can discover your event. Remember, this only works for Public Events (which I would assume applies to most of your business happenings).
  • No – Keep it Private and only invite the applicable people. This would make sense for exclusives you might be offering existing customers to reward loyalty.

6. Do you have a great visual for the event?
  • Yes – Good because that's the first thing people will see in their feed or when searching. 
  • No – Better work on something that's eye catching and informative so people will want to click into the event for more info. I recommend balancing the imagery and text, and again with the consistency - If there's branding offline, use the same design.

7. Is the event happening offline?
  • Yes – Always include a location. If you're lucky, the venue will already exist on Facebook, and you can link to that so people have information about the spot and a map to get there. If not, you can add the location.
  • No – Make sure it's clear. This works for flash sales for example.

8. Is this a recurring event or one time?
  • One time – Set the date and time so it shows up correctly on people's calendars.
  • Recurring – Facebook now lets you add multiple times instead of having to create a brand new Event for each recurrence. However, only use this if it is truly the same event happening several times. If there are variations, it's worthwhile to create multiple.

9. How much in advance can you setup your event?
  • The more time you have to spread awareness, the better. Certainly there is a time and a place for using urgency to your benefit with something that's happening tomorrow, but let your fans plan ahead by knowing about your Event at least a few week in advance. Then you can ramp up your promotion closer to the actual date.

10. Does the event require an RSVP?
  • Yes – Make sure your attendees know that RSVPing on Facebook is not enough if they also need to buy a ticket or at least reserve their spot. You can expect there to be drop off between the number of Facebook RSVPs and actual ticket purchases because one is easier and less commitment than the other. Plenty of people save an event by marking themselves as "Interested" but don't actually end up going. Use Facebook RSVPs as a directional metric, not the official count of attendees. Be sure it's easy for the truly interested to get their ticket.
  • No – Let a Facebook RSVP be enough. Again, this won't indicate total attendance, it can be insightful for gauging interest.

11. Have you shared with your friends? 
  • Yes – Good, that way more people will see the Event as your friends RSVP. This is always my first step with an Event. Make sure the people who know you are first on the list and then they can share as well. Facebook will automatically show other people in their network when they RSVP so that's free publicity and "social proof" for others considering attending.
  • No – Use the Invite Friends feature to reach low hanging fruit. Just be sure you only include relevant people because Facebook will penalize you for activity that seems spammy.

12. Do you have money to promote your event?
  • Yes – Great, you can run an ad campaign to drive RSVPs. This will help you reach more than your fans and their friends. You can target by interests, location, demographics. With that said, I highly recommend only spending money when you have a specific metric to track though, like RSVPs.
  • No – No worries, you can still get exposure. Just be sure to put in the time to get the word out organically. Post about it, invite people, get others to share invites. 

So are you ready to get something on the Facebook calendar?