Six Ways To Effectively Promote Events on Facebook – Case Study

Six Ways To Effectively Promote Events on Facebook – Case Study

Any time you offer an event – live or virtual – there are several ways you can capitalize on Facebook’s tools to increase your event registrations. Thing is, many Facebook users create all manner of events and insist on inviting all their friends… only to upset those friends with the constant barrage of invitations and emails about events of no interest or relevancy. So, let’s take a look at what does work in terms of promoting events on Facebook!

Social Media Success Summit 2011By way of example, I’m going to use the upcoming Social Media Success Summit 2011 presented by Michael Stelzner and his team at Social Media Examiner. Anything Mike turns his hand to is professional and effective! (Note: this is my third year in a row as a member of Mike’s executive team for these Summits, as well as one of the instructors.)

First, I recommend you always have your own event sales/registration page outside of Facebook. The only exceptions might be if a) your event is coming up quickly, b) it’s free and/or c) it’s for a relatively small group. (For small group events, I recommend never, ever revealing the event location to the public. There have been many wild stories of flash mobs for private parties, including a fourteen-year-old gal in the UK with 21,000 RSVP’s for her birthday party. Yikes!)

So, once you have your own web page set up with details of your event and a way to purchase tickets, apply these six tips to generate more buzz, visibility and ticket sales:

1. Add social share buttons to your event registration page

There’s no doubt about it, numbers mean social proof. The more Facebook Likes, retweets, LinkedIn shares etc. on your blog posts and web pages the more visitors will perceive your content as being popular and will also want to share. The best place to position your social share buttons is at the top right “above the fold” (visible without scrolling). See this screenshot below of the Social Media Success Summit 2011 registration page:

Social Share Buttons on Social Media Success Summit page

Social Share Buttons on Social Media Success Summit page

At minimum, add the following social share buttons to your event registration page:

*Note the Facebook Like Button now functions (almost) the same as the Facebook Share Button. The big difference is there isn’t an obvious place to write your own narrative before posting to Facebook, plus you cannot select the thumbnail. Clicking the Facebook Like Button automatically pushes the full story into your personal Profile stream. So, you may wish to add the Facebook Share Button with Counter to your registration page instead.

Facebook Comments Plugin

I also highly recommend adding the newly upgraded Facebook Comments Plugin to your event page. I love the way the plugin now syncs with users’ Profiles or fan Pages – what that means is anytime someone writes a comment (and the button for posting to Facebook remains checked – see screenshot below), you get additional visibility for your event page!

I recently offered a couple of free Facebook marketing webinars and had my web team add the Facebook Comments Plugin to the registration page, the thank you page, and the replay page. The same plugin (and social share buttons) are on all three pages so the same numbers and comments appeared in all three places, *but* the link that gets posted on Facebook through comments – and shared through the social buttons – is the registration page. Gotta love that! Test the comments plugin live here.

Facebook Comments Plugin

Facebook Comments Plugin

You can find the new Facebook Comments Plugin here.

See also the post on Social Media Examiner with the TV show I did on 8 Ways to Use Social Share Buttons on Your Blog for additional ideas on what to add to your registration page!

2. Add a blurb to your Facebook Page banner

The image on your fan Page is prime real estate. The maximum dimensions are now 180px by 540px – I recommend taking up all that space. (Though, now that we have a list of links down the left instead of the lovely row of tabs across the top, you might want to make your fan Page image height less than 540px so more of the navigation links can be seen “above the fold.”)

Social Media Examiner do a great job of utilizing this space on their Page. As you can see, their Facebook Page image has been made to look like two banners in one. Plus, note that the call to action offers a “free sample class” which is more appealing than selling tickets directly on the banner.

Social Media Examiner Facebook Page image

Social Media Examiner Facebook Page image

You could also add images about the event to your fan Page to go across the five-photo strip with calls to action. See this post for ideas: How To Use The New Facebook Photo Viewer As A Marketing Tool.

3. Promote your registration page on your fan Page wall

So long as you consistently provide enough valuable content on your fan Page wall, you can certainly periodically promote the direct link to your event. I like to start with a question – something like “Have you got your ticket yet to this exciting event?” or “Hands up who’s attending this event?!

You could mix up sharing the link to your registration page and the link to your Facebook Event (see next tip). The screenshot below shows a recent post by Mike revealing that over 1000 participants are already registered for this mega event – again, there’s that social proof!

Social Media Examiner Wall Post

Social Media Examiner Wall Post

4. Create a Facebook Event

Notice this is tip #4, not #1! 🙂 Facebook Events is one of the most mis-used and misunderstood features. There are basically two ways to create an Event on Facebook: 1) via your personal Profile and 2) via your fan Page.

If you create an Event from your personal Profile, you will have the ability to message all invitees directly into their inbox. This one feature alone makes the Events created by your Profile the most attractive. (In essence, it’s a “loophole” to “spam” all your friends! Uhoh! Also, it used to be you could select all friends at once with the use of a javascript snippet in your browser’s address bar; however, as of recently that trick no longer works. Probably a good thing too!) UPDATE 4.4.11: Thank you to Courtney Parham for pointing out that the javascript code does still work; it changed to this one.

With the new Messages product many Event emails are now bypassing the Inbox and go straight to the “Other” folder.

HOT TIP: If you’d rather not receive Event invitations/emails from certain friends but you don’t want to unfriend him/her, help is at hand! There’s a little-known feature on Facebook that allows you to block Event invitations from specific friends. Just go to Account > Privacy > Block Lists > scroll to Block event invites and type in the friend’s name. Voila. Your friend will be none the wiser. 🙂

I strongly suggest you create a Facebook Event via your fan Page for any business-related events and keep the personal/social events for your Profile. Just click the Events link on the left of your fan Page, then click the “Create an Event” button.

The downside with Page-created Events is you cannot message all invitees – you can only send an “Update” and it goes to all fans, just as if you are sending a regular Update from your fan Page. However, if you think of your Facebook Event as an outpost for additional engagement between potential attendees, attendees and yourself as the host, you’ll get more traction.

Once your Facebook Event is set up, you can always ask your invitees (via the Event wall and via periodic Updates) and ask your fans (via your Page wall) to invite their friends and/or to post the Event on their Profile. This gives you extra viral visibility around Facebook. See screenshot below – the Share feature is now a link at the top just under the event title.

Social Media Success Summit 2011 - Facebook Event

Social Media Success Summit 2011 – Facebook Event

One thing to note about Facebook Events, you’ll want to make it really clear there is a link that Facebook users need to click in order to register. Some people might think that by clicking the “I’m Attending” button they have signed up for your event. Write periodic updates and messages on the Event wall to encourage everyone to go get their ticket if they haven’t already.

Also, the Event photo/graphic is one of the most important features – when users share the Event around Facebook, the thumbnail of the image goes with it.

5. Offer live micro events on your fan Page

A regular feature that Social Media Examiner does really well on their Facebook Page is “Expert Fridays” where a subject matter expert spends one hour answering questions directly on the fan Page wall. In the midst of a Summit promotion, Mike makes a point of featuring instructors from the upcoming Summit as guest experts. This helps to introduce the faculty to Mike’s community, provides tremendous value, and helps to further build social equity.

Example Expert Friday - Guest from previous Summit

Example Expert Friday – Guest from previous Summit

Mike says:

A few times a month, conducts Facebook Friday expert sessions. We invite a book author or well-known social media expert to answer questions on our Facebook wall for an hour. We promote the event and the expert guest for a few days before the live event. On the day and hour of the event, our readers flock to our Facebook wall and ask the expert questions. It’s a fun and engaging time where the expert shares great knowledge. And sometimes our Facebook fans chime in with their advice as well. Whether your micro event is a webinar, live video broadcast, an Internet radio show, or some other activity, the benefits of micro events are significant for your business.

I have often hosted micro events myself, such as a “flash chat” using an app like Clobby. Or an impromptu webinar using livestreaming apps like Vpype or the new Linqto (coming out of beta next month). Bottom line, many of your fans are on Facebook throughout the day and just love to interact with you LIVE! Use this engagement as an opportunity to add value and to seed your upcoming event.

6. Encourage attendees to engage and share

Once participants have signed up for your event, encourage them to come write on your Facebook Event wall and engage through other social channels. For the Social Media Success Summit 2011, Mike has a whole section for attendees called “Social Networking” which includes an invitation to join the private LinkedIn Group, interact on the Facebook Event page, tweet about the Summit, add an Attendee Badge to their website. Plus, a widget displays the livestream of #smss11 tweets, and all Summit instructors photos and Twitter IDs are displayed too.

Attendee Social Networking

Attendee Social Networking

And, here’s a bonus tip:

Include a “Share on Facebook” badge in all your promotional emails!

I created this badge, which you’re welcome to use:

Share on Facebook

Click the badge above to give it a try! The badge shares this blog post and you’ll have a chance to add your own comment and select a thumbnail.

To make your own link code for sharing your content on Facebook, use this: (replace XXX with your event URL including the http://).

Join the web’s largest Social Media event!

These Summits are among my favorite events each year. I’m honored to be a presenter and I also make a point of attending all the other sessions and join in the live tweeting – the content is second to none. Unlike events where the content is light and the pitching is heavy, the Social Media Success Summit is heavy on content and has zero pitching! By attending this Summit you’ll be able to apply practical social media marketing methods right away that will help you to create more visibility, reach more customers and take your business to the next level.

I’m leading two all-new sessions on Facebook marketing at the Summit this year:

  • Facebook News Feed Optimization: How to Dramatically Increase Your Visibility and Engagement
  • How to Create a Stampede of Local Customers Via Your Facebook Page, Places and Deals

Come join me and 21 other subject-matter experts at this year’s Social Media Success Summit!

SMSS11 Speakers

The Social Media Success Summit 2011 expert instructors include many of my favorite thought leaders in the new media spaceJeremiah Owyang (Altimeter Group), Brian Solis (author, Engage), Frank Eliason (Citigroup), Erik Qualman (author, Socialnomics), Michael Stelzner (founder, Social Media Examiner), Dan Zarrella (author, The Social Media Marketing Book), Andy Sernovitz (author,Word of Mouth Marketing), and David Meerman Scott (author, Real-Time Marketing & PR). Plus, experts from Verizon, Boeing, Intel, and Cisco will be sharing their proven social media tactics and strategies.

I trust you found some valuable tips for increasing your event registration in this post! What did I miss? Have you successfully used Facebook Ads to sell more event tickets? What other social media event promotion ideas have you seen that work well? Let me know in the comments below!

Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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  1. Kelsey Childress on March 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    GREAT article Mari, as usual. There are so many sharing and marketing opportunities that I hadn’t thought to utilize.

  2. Pmckeen on March 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Fantastic post. This information is so easy to understand and follow.Thanks Mari.

  3. Leanne Berry on March 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you for a very informative article Mari

  4. Dawn Abraham on March 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks Mari for these great tips. I have been using most of them and find them to be very successful. Keep up the great tips!

  5. Briansellspittsburghrealestate on March 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm


    I am going to be advertising on billboards for buyers to register through my business page to grow that page and after reading this I will create an event. Thanks for the info.

  6. Lusy Aaltje on March 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    LOL @ many ineffective ways to promote an event you said on your wall. It’s so true because I have seen some events that didn’t get the attention they need!

    I agree with how important it is to have a picture for the event using method #4. I once canceled my mind to share an event because it didn’t have any picture – wouldn’t look good on my wall. 😛

    Thank you so much for this. Now I know what to do when it’s time to post an event on my page. You are a blessing!

  7. Nick Robinson on March 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Wow, thanks Mari. Great post! Did you read the Inside Facebook article about how people can check-in to events on the touch site and the soon to be iphone app? Check this article out:

  8. Kirk Laidlaw on March 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    OMG, I don’t know where to post this Mari. I’m producing an 8-week TV series about peace (non-religious, non-political) that starts April 16th and have a tiny budget to hire someone to build our FB Fan Page. We have 430,000 FB fans that we want to invite. It’s non-profit. Anyone out there interested? Can you recommend anyone? Kirk at

  9. Anita Chapman-Hovey on March 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks for clarifying the personal vs. fan page based events.

  10. Raven Howard on March 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Great tips Mari! As far as the event description, we give the link to the actual registration page in the first few sentences so that the “attendee” can clearly see that they need to register for the event off of Facebook to be confirmed. I would love to see Facebook Events start integrating with email marketing platforms so that the sign up can be in the event description.

  11. Lee Horbachewski on March 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Mari you truly are amazing and my go to person of choice for Facebook – I just signed up for the Social Media Success Summit…
    Thank you for being authentically YOU

  12. Tai Goodwin on March 22, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Practical and profitable tips Mari. I think it also helps to have a good image associated with your event. It adds a little color and helps it get noticed in the stream. Also post the event listing to your groups as well.

  13. Belmarinvestments on March 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Great tie-in with an actual upcoming event – many, many lessons to be learned in this post!


  14. Belmarinvestments on March 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Great tie-in with an actual upcoming event – many, many lessons to be learned in this post!


  15. Marymargaret on March 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    It is so important to be create lists by interest and value in all address books. As it is a challenge for some to get this piece organized, I love the block event option on FB which still allows me to be friends and interact.

  16. Courtney Parham on March 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I agree with Tai. It’s extremely important to have a good event image, and perhaps include a call to action in it.

    Mari, please note that it’s not true that the javascript invite trick no longer works. There’s a new javascript code that does work to invite all friends to an event:

  17. Greener Cleaning Mom on March 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Wow! This was a great article. It helps me see the value and connection between the FB events and the actual registration page. Thanks for making the Facebook Share button and sharing with everyone!

  18. iCheap Marketing & Design on March 23, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Very useful and potential tips, Mari, you’re serving and helping the community in a real way… God bless you!

  19. Tracy Kennard on March 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Excellent blog post Mari! Great advice for events! Love the Share on Facebook button. Thanks!

  20. Tracy Kennard on March 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Excellent blog post Mari! Great advice for events! Love the Share on Facebook button. Thanks!

  21. Keri J on March 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Great stuff!

    I’m hitting the like button, and think I’ll grab the Facebook Share badge and add it to my “tools bag.”

    It seems I’ve been getting so many Facebook Events invites, that I can’t even keep them all straight. And I click the RSVP response just as another comes in. Wow…

    Mari, this could be it’s own topic at #SMSS11!! 😀

    Thanks for always offering awesome!!


  22. Anonymous on March 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks Mari, I had never heard of people “Flashmobbing” a private party. That is hilarious and sad at the same time. Thank you again for another article full of useful takeaways!

    Angie VanDenzen
    Community Manager at Circus Strategic Communications

  23. Joanne Stein on March 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Wow…I love divine timing. I’m a newbie at social media marketing and am in the process of creating my first webinar. Your tips will be of great value to me. I love your use of concrete examples and will be putting them to work before the end of the day. Thanks so much for your generosity of spirit.

    In joy!
    Joanne Stein
    Joyologist at

  24. Erica Fath on March 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I always appreciate learning new techniques of how to use something I’m on every day. You really make FB so simple. Thanks.

  25. Linda Sherman on March 25, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Mari, Facebook includes Promotions in their Terms (which you kindly wrote a great article about) but I don’t see Events in their Terms. Do you know of any? I’ve been getting some creative non-event event notices.

  26. Susan Liddy on March 24, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Bookmarking this! Will use your tips for the Body Benevolence for FEMpreneurs Telesummit! Woot! (Did I get a YES from you yet?)

  27. Mari Smith on March 25, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Oh good point, Linda. Hmm, I’ll have to dig a bit for that.

  28. Mari Smith on March 25, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Thank you kindly sweet Susan!!

  29. Mari Smith on March 25, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Lol – amazing, eh!

  30. Mari Smith on March 25, 2011 at 3:42 am

    You so rock, thanks a mil, Keri!! Great point about Event promotion as its own topic at SMSS11!!

  31. Mari Smith on March 25, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Wonderful!!!! Happy dance. xxx

  32. Stacey Acevero on March 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Fantastic tips (as usual) Mari!

  33. David Mon on March 28, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Nice article lots of good iinfo in here also apvery applicable to almost every business

  34. Deborah Richmond on March 29, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Adding a share button on the registration page of your event is a wonderful idea, one I need to recommend more often to my clients. Every little bit of traffic helps!

  35. Knut DogStudiox on May 13, 2011 at 8:19 am

     Great post! And you are right. People do not realise that running a successful event on facebook takes alot of work and the devil is in the details. You are a host and people have expectations. There are many facebook event but do it right and your’s will be a real event. That be online of offline. I run weekly events online via facebook and have learned alot from this.  Check out my event and if you need any help with your own let me know.

  36. Amanda on May 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Hi @MariSmith:disqus – have you personally used clubby? I installed it on a page and it bounced me to a speed dating web site?!? Anyhow, I’m researching doing one of these micro events on Facebook and ran into this post. Any other resources or ideas for doing a microevent? Trying to look for ways to keep it tidy and easy to use. Thanks!

  37. Jamie Gaymon on May 22, 2011 at 11:28 am

     WOW!  This is the first time I’ve been to your blog, but certainly not the last.  I’ve done it the wrong way, but thankfully I haven’t promoted enough events on Facebook where any permanent damage has been done, and I’ll certainly be using your blueprint going forward to make sure that I’m on track.  Excellent post Mari!

  38. facebook depression on May 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Good list, but there are so much more things you could do

  39. Justin Hnix on June 3, 2011 at 6:13 am

    can you still create an event from the fan page? if you dont have a personal fb page?

  40. Tamal Anwar on July 11, 2011 at 5:00 am

    That is super awesome Mari, loved this post. Also learned about the cons of public events, poor girl, the whole house trashed!

  41. blainecreates on August 30, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    I believe when you have an event on your business page you can still login to the mobile Facebook site and access targeted messaging (Attending, Maybe Attending, Awaiting Reply..etc) which I found helpful but unusual that it’s not available on the .com

  42. Rochelle Dorsey on September 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    what’s the widget that displays the live hashtag stream?

  43. Henrique. on October 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm

  44. Andrew Brisman on November 7, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Great post, man!
    There are many spheres where you can use Facebook events and there is so much that you don’t know about Facebook events. Learn here

  45. Ritzie on January 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm

     thanks. this will help me with our fanpage!

  46. increase facebook fans on February 7, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Great! Just wanted to respond and read more about with this topic. I will visit your blog very often.I am impatient for your next post.  

  47. maternity photographer on February 16, 2012 at 8:51 am

    its really a nice app i have used it thanks for the link

  48. Jimmy Papavasilakis on March 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

    What is the best day to send out facebook event invites for optimal response? For instance, I heard that the best day to send eblasts are wednesday morningm (not sure if there is any truth to that). Is there a similar theory for FB event invites?

  49. Wine Dine on March 23, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Thanks Mari for the explanation. It would be nice to have an invite Fans option on those events… 
    We will start using the fan invites for instead of the regular account invites.

  50. Albost on March 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

     Wow, great content!

    I’m definitely bookmarking your site. Just the right balance of content and links to get me hooked on navigating through as I “have to read more!”

    Will use this as a recommendation for my website

  51. party photographer LA on March 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    a  nice and worthy share with detailed description for promoting the FB page

  52. Stock_ham on April 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    What do you think about this Facebook event?

  53. Shanda on June 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I was wondering how you would suggest managing an event with multiple partners. Should we each create an event on our own pages or is there a way to share the event so that we only have one event but it is linked to each organizations FB page?

  54. Mandy Davis on July 1, 2012 at 12:30 am

     How can I also invite people from my subscribers list to an event and not only people on my friend list

  55. Ian Adams on July 6, 2012 at 7:29 am

    This is a wonderful right up Mari, just tweeted it out. Great suggestion to add a blurb to the fbook page banner, adds a nice creative to the campaign. 

  56. Trevor Prime on August 19, 2012 at 5:18 am

    Why shouldn’t the registration to ones event be a simple RSVPing on the Facebook event page?

  57. Andrus P on October 12, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Great post, Mari!

    As of autumn 2012 I would also add Facebook’s promoted posts. I recently trialled it for an event and was very pleased with the results. If anyone’s interested, I did a quick post about event promotion tips and tricks

  58. Lizz on October 18, 2012 at 5:29 am

    I hope it’s not too late for a question. I’m part of a non-profit that is hosting an event soon. Two of our members created their own event pages, and I suggested that we have one event page that we all share. Our VP told me that having multiple event pages is good because allows members to promote the event to their own friends. I’m not really buying it, bit I’m not an expert. I’ve already found errors about the event posted on those pages. What is your professional opinion? Thanks!

  59. Taran on January 21, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Thank you for a very informative article.

  60. louiemae on February 19, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Thank you for the very informative post! I just created a Facebook page, and it just sits their doing nothing, then I started a small online business, where I can use my Facebook page to advertise my stuff!

    buying likes on facebook

  61. David Wood on February 21, 2013 at 10:03 am

    nice one Mari – love it. Very professional. Btw i would comment if it was the facebook plugin, but it’s disqus which I don’t know and didn’t trust the app – just FYI. Interested why you go with disqus vs direct comment integration? Perhaps it’s because you get twitter and g+ options too?

  62. Melodie Of Movement on May 22, 2013 at 8:21 am

    My question is in regards to “Expert Fridays”. What if your following is not that big and only 1 or 2 people show up? Is it helpful to have these days anyways?

  63. Omnie webmaster on June 10, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Thanks’s really a very helpful information.

  64. k on March 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

    My question is regarding the creating of a Facebook Page (not an event page) when organizing an event that only takes place once a year (i.e. cook-off, music or charity event). It seems that the FB Page would then sit unused throughout the year until the following year when the event resurfaces. Unless it is maintained throughout the year, which I am noticing does not usually happen. Any recommendations on this?

  65. k on March 16, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I thought I should clarify that I am referring to adding a Fan Page on a FB account for an event once a year. Thank you for the post, very useful information!

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