So your meeting has a Facebook page. Congratulations! There are a number of basic things you can do to help the page help you. One wonderful aspect of Facebook pages is their ability to share Facebook “Events”. Here’s a bit about the why and the how.
A Facebook “Event” is a notice of a happening sometime in the future. When you create the event, you add in all the details – time, location, description. You can link it to your website, or more information. Here’s why this is different from just another blog post or notice on your website…
Facebook, remember, is social media. It is designed to connect users, and interact with you. When someone clicks on event, and says they are “interested” or “going” – that information will pop up in their friends’ news feeds. If you like an event – maybe a friend of yours will also!
Perhaps you are not sure yet if you want to attend the event. So, you click “interested.” Two things will then happen. Facebook will remind you, in the upcoming days – that an event you might like is coming up. It will encourage you to “let people know if you are going” and check “attending”. Also – clicking “interested” gives Facebook some data. The algorithms can now suggest other events similar to this one – either by type, or location, or popularity with your friends or pages you have “liked”.
These are some key reasons why you might want to create an event – rather than just post as a simple message, that only a few folks will see in the immediate time. Remember, only about 10% of your page’s followers see most posts. This lets them interact, and creates a higher chance of them seeing the event.
Here’s some things to think about when creating a Facebook event.
- Create it from your page, not your personal account. This is why it is a good idea for your meeting to have a Facebook page, even if you do not post very often.
- Create the event early. Some folks plan attending events a month or more in advance. Even if they check “interested” and forget about it – Facebook will keep reminding them of the upcoming event. Even if you create a basic place holder – you can add more information (confirmed speakers, special aspects of the day) as they unfold. That may change a few “interested” folks to “attending” ones!
- Create a public event. You want to share this widely. If you are creating it from a public page, the event will usually default to “public” – but check! If you set it to private, you cannot change it to public and will have to delete it and create a new event.
- Have all your information handy when you start. This just makes it easier – accurate time, a post on your website calendar to link to, the address.
- Will you sell tickets? You can link to a separate ticket sale page. Set that up first.
- You will need an event page photo – use something that captures the specific event tone and mood, or advertising art. Canva provides a correct size in their online free photo editing program.
- Facebook asks you to make some choices. Will others be able to see the guest list of attendees? Sometimes people like to see how many other folks are attending. Unless you have a specific reason – make it public.
- Does responding to the Facebook event “count” as an RSVP? This is a crucial consideration. Often people will click “attending” and assume they have registered. If they still need to go to a website or other location, to reserve a space, or purchase a ticket, or submit personal information make sure this is clear. A few days before an event, many administrators will remind attendees that have said they will “attend” on Facebook to register if needed.
- If any information changes for the event – update it right away – and people who have already said they are “attending” or “interested” will get an update. It’s a good idea to post that news in the event feed as well.
- Monitor the event page! Just like your main page – keep track of folks that might be asking questions. They will often ask on the Facebook page, rather than call or email.
- Share! The event can be shared by individuals on Facebook, or other pages. Encourage folks to share in their feeds for more outreach. If it’s for your meeting, share with the Quarterly Meeting, or other Meeting pages, or your Yearly Meeting.
- And last but not least – don’t forget about other ways of sharing your event. Facebook is GREAT for certain audiences. It will allow you to see who likes your event, and why. But if you also have better success with contacting clerks of local area meetings, or putting a great landing page for the even of your website, or advertising on a street sign in front of your meetinghouse, make sure you do that also! Any good plan takes into account that meetings are all different – and finding what works best for your meeting and ministry is what’s most important.