Inside the Chamber: Getting summer visitors to your upcoming events using Facebook and other online tools | PostIndependent.com

Inside the Chamber: Getting summer visitors to your upcoming events using Facebook and other online tools

Cristin Barta
Inside the Chamber

Cristin Barta

The summer season is right around the corner, therefore so is an influx of happy Glenwood Springs visitors. If you blink, 90-degree days and sold-out weekends will be here, and that means it's time to start promoting your upcoming events. The easiest, and often cheapest, way to get your events in front of today's ever-connected guests is via the Internet.

If you only have time to do one thing to promote your events to out-of-towners, make sure they are posted to Facebook as an event. Bigger events, like Strawberry Days, may have business pages (aka Fan Pages), but it is also very important to add a Facebook Event to your business's Fan Page.

Why is creating a Facebook Event so important? Facebook continues to be the social media colossus with more than 50 percent of Americans logging in at least once a day, but organic post reach for Business Pages has continued to drop due to Facebook's pay-to-play business model. However for some reason, Facebook continues to favor event exposure. The current platform is set up to constantly remind users about upcoming events on both mobile and desktop. Depending on a user's settings, an event can trigger numerous newsfeed stories, alert notifications, and push notifications (when your cell phone's status bar has an icon notification).

For example, if one of your Facebook friends has shown interest in going to an event near you, you have probably noticed that Facebook has not only notified you when they showed interest, but will also remind you multiple times if your friend actually marked "going." If you yourself have shown interest in attending an event, the reminders and notifications are even more frequent. For example, if a person engages with an event listing's wall and asks a question about event parking, this will generate a story in your newsfeed. This gives you another reminder about the event.

Additionally, the Facebook platform makes events extremely easy to share, ensuring even more exposure. This can be as simple as a friend sharing an event listing via a wall post or message to strike up a conversation about attending together. But this also means it is easy for other Fan Pages to share your event. Once again, all these actions can trigger event reminders and push notifications.

Events are also searchable, making it easy for out-of-towners to see what is happening near them or inadvertently alerting them to events they might not have been aware of when searching for other things on Facebook.

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Best of all? Just like Facebook Business listings, event listings are free but can be promoted with a very small budget if desired. To set up a Facebook Event, access Events via your Facebook Business listing, ensure your listing includes a distinguishing, catchy and accurate title, an engaging description, a venue location (selected from the auto suggestions if possible) and good photos. Facebook Events are a great tool for bigger events, but this great exposure can diminish if they are used too frequently. To avoid creating audience fatigue, don't use Facebook Events for events that occur weekly or more frequently.

In addition to creating Facebook Events, another very important way to get your events exposed to guests is to ensure they are listed on all local event calendars. The Post Independent's Community Calendar listings are free, or can be promoted for a small fee, and are listed on the numerous sister newspapers throughout the Roaring Fork and Vail valleys. As an added bonus, creating a listing on http://www.postindependent.com will also show your event on http://www.visitglenwood.com, the visitor website for Glenwood Springs. Other places to list your event for no cost include http://www.glenwoodchamber.com, http://www.colorado.com (the tourism site for the state of Colorado), and http://www.coloradowest.org (the tourism site for Western Colorado).

Cristin Barta is the tourism marketing project manager for http://www.visitglenwood.com and helps promote Glenwood Springs on social media and other online channels. If you have any questions about submitting your event to Facebook or any of the other calendars mentioned, please email cristin@glenwoodchamber.com.

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