When Organic Isn’t Enough: Facebook Advertising For Facebook Events

When it comes to using social media to engage with consumers, part of the challenge is to make sure consumers see your content. With the various changes in the way Facebook displays content in its users’ News Feeds, both large and small businesses are finding it more difficult to get their organic content seen by consumers.

That’s where Facebook advertising can really help. A good Facebook strategy will use both high-quality organic posts along with advertising strategic content to make sure your brand is visible to target consumers.

In this series, I’ll be covering multiple ways local businesses can benefit from using Facebook for event advertising to build a strong social presence, drive traffic and engagement, and ultimately increase leads and sales, starting with promoting Facebook events.

Why Create an Event on Facebook?

When you have an event at your business how do you promote it? You probably put up signs, send out flyers, post information on your website, share about it on social media, and send out emails. So, why not set up an event on Facebook as well? Facebook event response ads offer great mechanisms for allowing attendees to help organically share about your event. Plus, once you create an event, you can then use Facebook advertising Event Response ads to drive awareness and attendance to your event.

Who Should Event Ads Target?

Facebook audience targeting is arguably the most powerful feature of Facebook advertising. That’s because there are literally hundreds of targeting options to choose from based on the information users enter in their profile and their behaviors on the platform.

What targeting options do you have?

Custom Audience

A custom audience is a great way to reach consumers who have already shown interest in your business. For example, you can use this by targeting consumers who have already visited your website or uploading an email list of interested prospects and customers. A custom audience gets your event in front of Facebook users who are familiar with your business without necessarily already liking you on Facebook. 

Location

If you wanted to throw a Small Business Saturday “Meet and Greet” with the owner at your location in say, St. Louis, you likely only want to spend money targeting an audience within your local area. For this, you can target users based on specific ZIP codes or within a certain radius of your town (ex. St. Louis+10 mi).

General Demographics

Is your target comprised of a demographic such as a specific age or gender? By choosing factors such as a range of ages, you can target your event to consumers who are most likely to buy from you. You can also select to target females or males, and consumers who speak certain languages if your target audience includes non-English speaking consumers.

Advanced Demographics

Here’s where things start to get interesting. In the “More Demographics” tab, Facebook enables you to target users on more specific characteristics. For example, if your business is a home remodeling business, you may want to target home owners who are part of Generation X, who have an estimated household income of $75to $700k per year (based on Acxiom data) , and who have recently moved to your city.

Or, if you own a local bakery and are hosting an open house, you could set your targeting to anyone with a birthday within a week, expectant parents, and people who are newly engaged. The options are vast.

Interests & Behaviors

To expand your audience, Facebook has included and continuously updates its targeting options in both Interests and Behaviors categories. For events, this means that you can reach consumers who may be interested in your type of business but may not fit within what you identify as your target audience. Facebook collects users interests based on what pages they like or show interest in while spending time on the site. Similar to Demographics, Behaviors are created based on a wealth of outside data from Acxiom and Epsilon, and include very specific data points such as “People in households that are heavy buyers of baked goods.”

What About The Ad Itself?

When creating an ad, Facebook provides a fairly easy-to-follow template for making sure your ad fits within a certain set of limitations and standards. For your Facebook event ad, all you have to do is create copy to pique users’ interest to check out your event.

Facebook does the rest, automatically pulling the image and event information from the event you originally set up. So, make sure you’re using compelling images when setting you your Facebook event, and include important details like the time, date, and location of your event.

How Much Should I Spend?

This is a difficult question to answer (along with “What’s a good conversion rate?”). That’s because it all depends on your audience size and budget. It’s probably not a bad idea to start out with a smaller budget and add more if you are satisfied with your results. You can select an amount to spend throughout the entire campaign leading up to the event, or choose to spend a certain amount of money per day.

When it comes to optimizing your budget, Facebook will do the work for you, optimizing your ad for event responses (“Yes, I’m going”), clicks (“I’ll check out more information”), or just impressions (“I saw it on my News Feed”). For most events, the timing is most important as you want to get the news out soon enough so that people can get it on their calendars, but not too soon that they forget about it when the time rolls around. Advertising your event couple of weeks before it happens should be a decent amount of time for optimal impressions and to drive more event responses.

When using ads to promote your business, a successful campaign really comes down to this: targeting the right audience at the right time and tracking what works (and discontinuing what doesn’t work.) Facebook itself has some great resources on how exactly to go about setting up campaigns and ads themselves that you can use to get started.

Like any type of advertising, the more campaigns you create and the more you track the activity and results, the better you will become at determining how Facebook advertising works to help your local business. Stay tuned for the next part of the series, where I’ll discuss using Facebook advertising to drive consumers to your website.

Have you ever used Facebook advertising? Do you have any specific questions about how Facebook advertising can help your local business? Let us know in a comment.

Tara Banda

Tara Banda is a digital marketer in Dallas, TX and a Content Marketing Manager for ReachLocal. She focuses on helping businesses develop their voice in order to connect and engage with the right audiences. Tara has worked on campaigns and promotions – including social media, email marketing, video, advertising, guerrilla marketing, and event marketing – for both small businesses and globally recognized brands. In her spare time, she likes to cook.

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