Posted: 7th November 2016
Years ago, to promote my Charity Dinner I would drive around with posters pinning them to notice boards and leaving them in receptions of local companies.
Today things are so much easier! Social media including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are by far the cheapest and quickest ways to get the message out about your event.
There are a few things that will save you time before you get started:
Do this in Word/Notepad and include all your key facts such as headline, date, start and finish time, venue address, postcode, cost and a description of your event and get together a couple of pictures or images. You will also need your contact details and any social media or website URL’s then you are all ready to copy and paste!
If you already have a website, create a page for your event (or recurring event such as a workshop that you put on regularly). Or add it to your news or blog. If you don’t have a website set up a Facebook page.
If you don’t already have Facebook page then it is always a good idea to create one for community, personal or charity events. If you have a Facebook account just click on the little downward arrow at far right of the top blue navigation bar and click on ‘Create’ to create a new page.
Otherwise navigate to www.facebook.com/pages/create and follow the instructions. It’s quite instinctive, don’t forget to make full use of the bio and all the account information.
You can only create an event if you are an admin on a Facebook page or group. Simply go to Event or More/Create Event from the pull down list under your header picture depending on what type of page you have set up. Then follow the prompts. Make sure you include an image for full impact and all the relevant information.#
It’s always a good idea to have a poster that is saved as a JPEG to use on social media or your website. If you have a marketing/design person or company get them do a design and to save the poster as a JPEG so you can use it. Remember you don’t want too much information on it, just the basics including contact information in clear text and nice images.
If you want to create one yourself try a graphic design software platform like www.canva.com which is great for beginners. You can select the type and size of image that you want to create, use free templates, add text and upload your own images. Download it as a JPG or PNG. Then you are all set to print it, share it, email it or post it on social media.
Once you have everything ready it is then a question of a bit of research to find out where is the best place to advertise and promote your events. Here’s some options.
Every town, city or county has a number of sites official tourism/visit sites (run by the local council or the Destination Marketing Organisation). Google ‘official tourism site for…’ Many of these sites allow you to ‘Add an Event’. You may find this under the Event Calendar or there may be a button you can click to take you to the event listing form.
Some may charge non-members, others are free. Each site is different, some will let you add links, images, contact details, categories and tags, whilst others are more limited. If there are no on line forms then you can always try and email the organiser.
Again every area will have non-official ‘What’s on’ sites, some of these are run through local media groups which will also have a printed newspapers or magazines. The lead times on monthly/ quarterly print versions can often be lengthy, on line/Facebook versions are more responsive.
Micro local magazines in a small town or area of a city are often a low cost option for print advertising, particularly if you take a longer term package.
The biggest and best event platform which is easy to use and attracts no fees if your event is free.
There are costs if there are event charges, but all the payment and receipts, reminder emails etc. are taken care of by EventBrite as well as marketing to viewers who are browsing events in the area. It’s a great tool if you have regular events and very professional. See: www.eventbrite.co.uk/fees/
This does depend on your connections but it is generally considered to be a business and professional network.
If the event is relevant to your connections then it is definitely not one to miss. You should publish this as an Update and link it to your website or EventBrite listing.
There seems to be a wealth of websites and Facebook sites which concentrate on events suitable for children. Google ‘Kids Activities’ in your area and see what pops up. There will be local Facebook groups, usually that you have to join.
Most will allow you to post freely, sometimes posts have to be approved and all will be moderated so be sensible, don’t post too frequently or use the site inappropriately otherwise you will get blocked.
There are also national sites you’ll need to register but listing is free for ‘standard’ events, your event can get lost but it’s worth a go to see if they work for you.
As well as posting on your own site, creating an event and sharing your posts on other sites such as local community sites and business networking sites. You don’t always need to be a member, but some are closed groups you will have to join.
Some of them will allow you to post direct to the page, some will need to approve posts, some will let you post but it will appear tucked away as a visitor post and will only be seen on the page feed if the host organisation shares the posts.
You can always boost your event or pay for advertising if you have a budget, but remember that you may not get the reach you are promised.
You can of course promote your event through your own Twitter network, but you can also mention other Twitter users in the hope that these people will retweet or like your tweet thus spreading the word.
So you could target your event at a local area, or a local networking group (probably better received if you are a regular attendee), the venue you are using and the people who are attending/sponsoring/supporting your event. Depending on their following you can massively increase the reach of your tweet.
Don’t forget Twitter Hours, these can be great fun! These are usually a monitored account that shares and retweets posts during a specific hour, either once a week or every business day. Remember to engage, share, comment and make your content appropriate for the area/subject.
You have to use the #hour in the relevant time slot to get a retweet. You can search on Twitter for appropriate hours but do check if the account is still being used, sometimes one will be started in an area but not maintained.
Hopefully this blog has given you some tips for getting your message out there for relatively little cost although it can take up quite a lot of time, so see what works for you. If you want to see the longer version with examples of different websites, Facebook sites and relevant links see my Blog
If you have any comments please share them. If you need help with social media content, planning or management please do get in touch.