A friend reminded me today that the best place to start is always at the beginning. So, instead of jumping into the deep-end of all the fun and exciting ways you can use these social media, I’m going to start with the basics about how you should get your event set up to be sure we’re all starting at the same place. Since Facebook seems to be the most popular tool mentioned at the showcase this week, I’ll start there.
There are several different paths you can follow in Facebook for your event. It really depends on the type of event, frequency of the event, what it ties into and your commitment to using the social media.
- Event listing created by your organization’s page. Using an existing Page for your organization, use the Events option from the right-side menu then follow the instructions to create the listing. Be sure to review all the Event listing options before you make it live – if it’s just for volunteers or just for patrons, you’ probably don’t want everyone to be able to see it.
This option is good for a one-time event like a new exhibit opening at a museum or an honoree luncheon for a lifetime member. This option is also good to use from your Event Page (see below) for each piece of a larger event, like the Patron Party, Volunteer meeting and the big day itself. The biggest detractors to using Event listings for your major event is that some people will ignore Event invitations as they get so many and it has a limited shelf life – once the event is over the listing is usually forgotten.
- Individual Page for a Specific Event. To accomplish this, go to http://www.facebook.com/pages then click the “Create Page” button in the upper right corner. Follow the steps that Facebook provides to create. If you don’t have information to fill in a blank during setup, during fret – most items you can come back and fill out later.
The biggest reason for using this option is to allow you to enter more details about your event and use the additional features like photos, videos, discussions and notes specifically for your event without detracting or competing with those items added for your organization. Unlike the Event listing above, the Page option allows you to keep a year-round relevant page with fan interactions and updates. You can use a Page year after year with new Events listings added under it for the current year. The biggest detractor for Pages is the increased upkeep. You’ll need to monitor fan remarks and continue to interact with them, even during the off-season.
- Create a Group. Groups can be created easiest by going to http://www.facebook.com/groups. Once you click the Create Group button, just follow the instructions and invite your members.
Groups are useful in conjunction with a Page or Event or for recurring events. Specific examples might be a group for your volunteers or your steering committee, so they can plan for a “meeting every other Tuesday” and still have a place to discuss outside those meetings. Groups are definitely not for your overall major Event, but can be used for small “group” meetings (hence the name…).
A few final remarks, regardless of the path you follow:
- Don’t walk alone. It’s good to have at least one or two other administrators for your Event, Page or Group. This will take some of the burden off of you and if anything should happen to you (like a well-deserved long vacation), the organization won’t be waiting for your return to keep moving.
- Warm up before you start running! Don’t think you have to attack all options right away. Get the basics set up and start letting people know it’s there. Post a few eye-catching and conversation-starting updates. Then come back and visit for more tips and where to go next.