Facebook has become a great resource for event promoters and has opened the floor for new organisers to succeed in a space that typically, was a lot less accessible. If you’re just starting on this marketing binge, be sure to read our first blog on the topic: 6 Race Event Marketing Tips it is more suitable for beginners.
For the purposes of this article I expect the reader to have a intermediate knowledge of Facebook. If you are an event promoter you should already have a Facebook Page for your organisation and have a basic knowledge of how to operate it. This list of tips isn’t exhaustive, there is loads more to share and learn, We’ll continue to bring you tips that matter and help you expand your knowledge to grow your races year on year.
Create a Facebook Event
This is one of the most important elements to promoting a race and should be the first thing you do once your event name and dates have been set. Having an event live on Facebook is crucial to the overall promotion and leveraging this event page in different ways will help build your overall strategy.
At Race Space we offer Facebook event creation free of charge as we recognise the marketing value it gives to our organisers. If your organisation is using our platform its likely that we’ve already helped you resolve and optimise your event page issues on Facebook. For those who are thinking of using Race Space to host their races it is worth noting that we are the only race management platform that uses Facebook in this way to benefit the growth of the events hosted on our website.
Tips for Creating a Facebook Event
Quality imagery is key, use a cover photo capturing your event in a way that you would find it interesting to attend, if you’re not sure, ask for feedback and research the competition. Make sure not to clutter it with text as this will be detrimental if you decide to invest in paid promotion due to Facebook’s image text ratios. If you’re afraid your image has too much text overlay, run it through their Text Overlay Tool.
Use the ticketing link, there is nothing more confusing or disrupting to your sales then omitting the most important call to action for your customers to follow. When possible minimise the clicks or actions the customer must follow. You want to streamline their purchase process, if the user is redirected to a number of websites before reaching the purchase website your sales will be effected.
Use the venues that come up when you search the location in Facebook, this will help to promote your event to the local crowd.
Check, check and triple check your dates and times, this will save you from confusion and unnecessary customer service in the future.
Include co-hosts when you create the event to help the event start off with a influx of activity. *We’ve expanded on this below.
Make sure to display guest list especially if you have a number of followers who you know will confirm their attendance through Facebook. This will show ‘social proof’ for those who haven’t heard of you or your event before, if they see the crowd flocking they’ll follow suit.
Leverage Promotional Partners Pages*
Create a strategy to share with your sponsors and support groups. The more pages that are promoting a single event, the more reach your event will have, simple right? A lot of people don’t think to take advantage of this tool which has now become easier then ever to use. At the end of the event creation page you’ll find a space to “Add Co-host,” as we’ve shown above. Be liberal with your inclusions, if you have colleagues at the local gym, running club or even the pub that is sponsoring your race, ask them to co-host the Facebook event and support you that way. With this strategy you will immediately reach their followers and could rack up a whole new segment of racers to participate that you didn’t expect to see.
Interview Previous Participants and Share Their Story
Nothing quite helps to promote your event like a personal story that shows the challenges us humans are capable of rising to. Now I don’t suggest you go out an manufacture a story to gain publicity, that would be wrong. What you can do is reach out to your participants via an email list or Facebook post and ask if anyone would like to share their story and how they ended up participating in your race, you would be surprised by the people who volunteer and the quality of the stories they have to share.
Your participants are on Facebook too, don’t forget, everyone likes to be tagged or mentioned in something that was a challenge to participate in. This lets them gloat without having to do it themselves. Use content from previous events or encourage these same participants to share their favourite moment from the race to win a place or some kit.
Promote your Race Giveaways
If you’ve been hosting your event for a number of years its likely you’re at the stage now where you’re giving away medals and maybe even a promotion package. People really love to earn medals Giving away a package/medal show it off, people love the merch.
Hashtag your Event
Do you have a hashtag for your event or your event company? This is more for Twitter and Instagram and allows participants to both search your event and past renditions but also to share content for your event in one organised space. For this one I encourage you to use Google, Instagram and Twitter to research your #Hashtag ideas to make sure they’re not oversaturated or already taken.
Don’t forget to search and keep tabs on your hashtag for quality imagery and content that you may want to share or re-gram.
Invest Ad Spend
This is a contentious debate, should social media promotion be free? Why would you spend money on something that has been touted as free marketing? The reality: gone are the days of using Facebook entirely as a free marketing platform. They have modified the sharing algorithms to the point where accessing your own network is quite difficult without an investment. However, if you’ve developed your target demographic and have invested a bit of time in understanding how to create an advertisement on Facebook you can spend anywhere from £10-£50 and get receive substantial results from your budget.
This post is the first of a series of Race Event Marketing; how to best market your race in the ever changing digital age. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible and the different tactics you can use. This monthly series is brought to you by our Head of Digital: Sean Errey. Sean’s digital marketing experience comes from a multitude of backgrounds including the food industry, e-commerce, charity and event management. With this combination of influences he has developed unique ideas for Race Marketing in the digital age.