20 Ideas for Facebook Live

You’ve decided to utilize Facebook Live in order to market your upcoming event. Where do you go from here? Before making your first live stream, invite your team to a brainstorming session for content ideas. Determine how often and when you want to “go live.” Some videos might involve traveling to a particular location or meeting with a specific person, so developing a master plan will help you map out your marketing strategy.

Make your Facebook Live streams fun and inviting, yet informational and professional. These videos have the potential to draw prospective attendees to your event and enhance the excitement of those already registered.

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for live stream content, here are 20 to help you in the brainstorming process:

  1. Take your viewers on a tour of the venue, emphasizing a few of the main event spaces.
  2. Go live in the lobby of the hotel or other housing accommodations you will be using. If possible, interview a general manager or event host at the site for more information about the lodging.
  3. Find a local coffee shop your guests may want to visit and do a live feed onsite.
  4. Interview your keynote speaker about the upcoming event and answer questions live.
  5. Explore different workshops you will offer, providing a short description of each one.
  6. Talk to various workshop teachers about the content they will discuss during their sessions.
  7. Interview your worship leader. As a bonus, see if he or she will perform a song during your live feed.
  8. Showcase merchandise that will be available for sale at your event.
  9. Highlight an activity your group may participate in during the event.
  10. If your event will have a special themed night where participants can dress up, emphasize that by wearing an appropriate costume while discussing your themed night. This will give attendees an idea of what to wear.
  11. Do a “behind the scenes” video while setting up for your event at the venue.
  12. Offer a challenge for your attendees prior to the conference via Facebook Live. Have a special prize for those who complete the challenge.
  13. Highlight someone packing for your conference to help attendees know what to bring.
  14. Introduce your event team.
  15. Interview someone who has been to the event before.
  16. Host a live Q & A session about your upcoming event.
  17. Walk viewers through your event schedule.
  18. Let viewers know the heart behind your event. What makes it special to you?
  19. Showcase a special cause your event supports.
  20. Show viewers how to register for your event.

What ideas do you have for Facebook Live content? Share in the comments section below!

 

Tips for Using Facebook Live to Market Your Event

 

Social media is a great way to market an upcoming event. While there are seemingly countless ways to utilize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, one of the easiest ways to reach your audience is through live video feed with Facebook Live.

Facebook Live is simple to use. After logging in to Facebook, click on “what’s on your mind” (where you would typically update your status). Click on “Live Video,” type a description, and, when you are ready, “Go Live!”

Facebook offers a few tips on its website when using Facebook Live. These tips are shared below, along with a few comments about how these can enhance your event marketing.

  1. Tell fans when you’re broadcasting ahead of time. Facebook recommends one day’s notice. This is a simple practice to put in place. The day prior, post when you will go live and include a teaser for what you will share.
  2. Go live when you have a strong connection. According to Facebook, Wi-Fi usually works best, but if this isn’t available, a 4G connection will be necessary. If your connection isn’t strong enough, you won’t be able to go live. Test your connection prior to going live, leaving enough time to find a new location if necessary.
  3. Write a catchy description before going live. Grab your audience’s attention by writing a catchy heading. This will appear in the news feed above the video.
  4. Ask viewers to subscribe to Live notifications. They can do this by tapping on the “Follow” button on current live videos or videos that have been live.
  5. Say hello to commentators by name; respond to their comments live. This tip is self-explanatory. If you are taking questions during a Facebook Live event, respond and use the commentator’s name. For example, if “Joe” asks a question, respond with, “Thanks for the question, Joe…”
  6. Broadcast for longer periods of time to reach more people. Facebook recommends at least 10 minutes. While this allows more viewers the chance to tune in live, as a viewer myself, I don’t always have this amount of time when the video is live. If using Facebook Live to market, vary the times, depending on the topic you are discussing. A few minutes could suffice.
  7. Use a closing line to signal the end of the broadcast. For example, you could close with, “Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you at ‘X’ event in ‘x’ days.” Include the event name and the latest countdown.
  8. Be creative and go live often. The possibilities are endless when it comes to content you can use to market an event on Facebook Live. If you plan to go live once a week for a few months prior to the event, you can build momentum and share quality information about your upcoming event.

In addition to these tips, here are a few of my own:

  1. Do a quick run through of your video before you hit “go live.” Live means live. Though you can delete a video after it is posted, you will lose the value of the live video and comments made.
  2. Use a tripod if available. No one wants to watch a shaky video.
  3. Choose a location free from distraction. Make sure the lighting is good. Record a brief video prior to going live. Review the video to see if the location chosen will work well for your Live event.

Stay tuned for our next blog post showcasing content ideas you can use for Facebook Live event marketing.

Ask the Expert: Creating an Event Website

I’m excited to share another installment of our “Ask the Expert” blog series. This week, we will dive into the world of website design. Jess Freeman is an Atlanta-based freelance graphic and web designer. She was named 2015 Gwinnett Chamber Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Jess is a great resource for designing event websites.

  1. I’m planning a retreat for the first time. I want to have a website to share with those who are interested. Where do I start?
    First, you’ll want to decide if you want to use Squarespace or WordPress for your website – there are other platforms, but these two are the most reputable and the easiest to use. Squarespace comes pre-loaded with themes you can choose; you would need to buy a WordPress theme. Then, you’ll need to choose a domain name. This should be no more than 15 characters long.

    The content of your website needs to be organized and flow in a way that makes sense. I always recommend having one to two buttons on each page that will direct the user to the next right step. The buttons will save users from having to scroll back to the top of the page and guide them through your content.

  1. I don’t have pictures from previous events, but I think pictures are important. Where can I find quality stock images at a moderate price?
    Images are indeed very important because they help convey emotion and connect with the viewers. One of the most popular stock photo websites is istockphoto.com, but you will have to do some searching to find photos that aren’t too cliché. CreativeMarket is also a popular resource with more affordable photos but less selection.

    Depending on the type of retreat, you may be able to use free stock photos. Now, to be clear, this does not mean going to Google Images and grabbing pictures – that could get you in a lot of legal trouble. However, there are royalty-free websites like Unsplash.com that have hundreds of great photos that are totally free to use.

    You could also try to work with a local photographer and do a little photo shoot for your website. It’s unlikely they would be able to (or want to) do it for free, but they may be up for a trade! For example, maybe you could list them as a sponsor and put their business card in a swag bag in exchange for some discounted services.

  1. What tips can you give when creating a website name?
    Names can be tricky because it can really set the tone for the event. It’s always best to keep it clear and simple rather than trying to be cute and clever. For example, my church has a “Walking Wisely Weekend” for middle school students. The alliteration makes it fun but still easy to remember. If they ever wanted to create a separate website, it would be easy to leave off “weekend” for a shorter domain.
  1. Is it possible for guests to register and pay online for the event? Any tips on how to do that?
    Thankfully, it is easy to have people register for events right on your website! For Squarespace users, you can set up a “product” as the event registration and get the names and emails of all customers. For WordPress, there are many plugins that can handle this – Event Registration, Event Espresso, Events Manager and many more.

    Another option is to use Eventbrite, a third-party platform. Some prefer Eventbrite because you can send “invitations” to people, you can enable specific seating at your event (like concert seats) and you can integrate it with Facebook. But, of course, they do take a percentage of your sales.

  1. How can I link Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media to my page?
    Squarespace lets you connect your social media profiles and pages seamlessly. You’ll just need to “login” through Squarespace and an icon will appear on your website. For WordPress, it’s also very easy to integrate your social media with the help of plugins. Most of the time, however, your theme will have a spot for you to put links to your social media.

    I don’t recommend displaying social media feeds (like Facebook and Twitter) on your website. This was a popular thing to do many years ago, but it generally makes your site look cluttered and dated. Instagram is one exception, since it is pictures only – but this should be considered carefully, as you want to make sure the photos don’t clash with your website.

    Something I do recommend is having share buttons on your website. This enables people to share your site or your blog posts with just a click of a button. SumoMe and ShareThis are popular plugins that I use with most of my clients.

  1. What are some of your best tips when creating a website?
    One of my favorite tips to tell people is to limit yourself to three colors and three fonts. That doesn’t mean you have to use all three of either, but limit yourself! This will truly help your site feel more cohesive and look professional. Having fewer choices will also speed up the design process because you won’t feel as overwhelmed with options.

    As far as events and ministries go, it’s always important to make sure you’re not too insider-focused. Even if it’s a women’s retreat that you think only current members will want to come to, what if they decided to share it on Facebook and invite friends? The messaging is going to influence whether or not they feel welcome at the event.

A big thank you to Jess for sharing some great information about event website design. You can learn more about Jess and gain even more graphic design wisdom at jesscreatives.com.

3 Ways To Use Email Marketing Effectively

Quick.  What’s the first thing you do when you walk in the office?  I bet you’re a lot like me and you check your email first.  Some of you probably check your email before you get to the office.  I’m guilty of that as well.

Email is not dead!  Email marketing is not dead!  It’s a very viable marketing method because it is a direct link to people who have given you permission to talk with them.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when sending your emails:

  1. Subject line Is important.  What draws your attention when you open your inbox?  Probably two things: who sent it and what the subject line is.  The subject line works like a headline in a newspaper, and should be written in such a way to grab the reader’s attention.
  2.  Content Is important.  The emails you send out should add value to the recipient because that is how you’re will keep that person on your list.  Leading up to your event, teasing speakers and what to expect at your event is a great idea.  After your event is when I would recommend pouring on the content.  Share blog posts or articles that are related to your event.  It’s also a good idea to start teasing your event about 6 months out.
  3. When The Email Is Sent Is Important.  It use to be the day and time to send emails was early Tuesday mornings.  Usually you have Monday’s behind you and can now pay attention to what’s in front of you.  That time frame to send your email is probably great timing.  This might be an area you experiment with to judge the reactions of your database.

There are several great programs out there that can help you manage email database.  I’ve used Constant Contact, am familiar with Mail Chimp, but I’m a big fan of Aweber.  Highly recommend that service!  All of these services allow you to measure click through and open rates.  I would pay attention to these, but not to the early stats.

One extra thought: you don’t want to over communicate to your list, but you don’t want to under communicate either.  Finding that balance, while tricky, is important.  A good starting point is once a month.

How do you use email marketing?  Have you found a special ingredient that works for you and your company?

Should I Webcast My Upcoming Event

I went to a great event last month.  The speaker was doing a fantastic job, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if my brother could watch this?”  Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible for this event.  But the great thing about modern technology is you can webcast your event relatively easily.

Let’s talk first about why you would want to webcast your event.  I think there are 3 reasons why you should:

  1. It allows a bigger audience to see and to hear your speakers.  There are those moments when you’re sitting at a conference wanting to share what you’re hearing.  If the event is being webcast, it’s easy to pass along a link via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or even text message.
  2. It makes other people want to be there.  People like to be a part of something.  You see a great sporting event on TV and dream of being in attendance.  Watching via webcast is one thing, but if your event is great, next year virtual attendees will do everything they can to be there in person.
  3. It creates a greater impact on the Internet.  Here’s what I mean: with all the social networks out there, people will take the opportunity to talk about your event (and speakers) which helps spread the word.  The more “social buzz” that is generated, the more people will check out your event.  This leads back to point #2 above.

Now, let’s talk about how to webcast.  Each event will be different and the event coordinator will need to work with the audio/visual guy to coordinate logistics.  Here are a couple of great services to webcast your event:

  1. Ustream.tv. This is a great free service that also has a very nice social plugin for viewers.
  2. YouTube. YouTube has recently allowed live streaming of events via Google+ Hangouts. Here’s a great article on how to set that up.

Have you done a webcast of your event?  How did it impact your event for the next year?

 

Marketing Strategies To Consider For Your Upcoming Event

Choosing the correct marketing strategies for your upcoming event is equally as (if not more) important than planning it. This post will help you with how to promote your event to ensure that people get the message and attend.

Social Media – Everyone and their grandma is addicted to Facebook or Twitter these days, so this is obviously one of the quickest ways to connect with people you know really well, or don’t know at all. Writing statuses and updates about your event, with catchy phrases that make people want to learn more, is a simple way to get the word out about your event. Make sure to include the link to your website and/or landing page. Oh, and creating an event hashtag on Twitter will help you monitor the chatter.

Facebook Events – Creating a Facebook Event is another way to share information with potential attendees. Make sure to add pictures, information, and links for the event so people can RSVP, learn specifics, leave comments, and ask questions. This will help the conference have a web presence and is very helpful for potential and confirmed attendees.

Facebook Ads – You know those little “sponsored” ads on the Facebook sidebar that seem to know exactly what your hobbies and interests are? Those, my friend, are Facebook ads. After doing research on your target market, you write up a one line ad, throw in a picture, choose what your target market is (you can choose age range, location, education level, interests, religion, and all that jazz), link it to your landing page, then choose how much money you want to spend and voila, instant Facebook ad and instant marketing. Read this article to learn more about creating a Facebook ad that really works.

Landing page – I’m sure you’ve seen a landing page before. Have you ever clicked on a link that brought you to a bare-looking page, with no upper tool bar, that just had lines and lines of sales content on it? That is the ever-so-important landing page. A landing page is usually linked to from social media or other advertising, and is basically the next step to registering. This is where you entice readers to RSVP to your event by using attractive marketing lingo. At the bottom of the page, (and in the middle too, in some cases,) a call to action button is present. This is a fancy term for a clickable rectangle that says something like, “Register Now!” on it. This is the page that will really convince your readers to sign up.  You can learn more about how to set up a landing page here or here.

Email marketing – You have an email list, right? An email list is one of the most important steps in Internet marketing, because everyone on there chose to receive your emails. Their obvious interest in the topic you teach makes them prime candidates for invitees to your conference. You can send out an email a couple of months before the event, giving some key clues to peak their interest with enticing phrases like, “Click here to learn more about this once in a lifetime opportunity!” (with a link to your landing page, of course.) Closer to the event, you can send out another email stating, “We have a limited amount of tickets, so act now!” A few weeks before the event, mail out reminders to people who haven’t caught on yet. Also, send out specific emails to those who have signed up, to remind them about dates, times, locations, etc. There are so many ways to market through emails, but just remember not to send them too frequently or it might scare away potential customers!

 

6 Marketing Tips You Need to Know

There are hundreds of blogs and articles on marketing advice, but this list is a quick reminder of some tips you can use in every aspect of your business. This list caters to marketing and advertising products as well as events, so think of them while you’re promoting absolutely anything!

  1. It’s easier to convince a current customer or repeat buyer to go to your conference than to persuade potential clients to become attendees. So, don’t forget to show some love for your current customer list; they are just as (if not more) important as newcomers!
  2. When using social media, don’t forget to add some quality content. If every post is trying to sell (direct marketing), your clients will get turned off. The “rule” is to write about semi-equal parts of general content about your niche, personal content about your company, and selling/advertising for your product/service/event. This mixture will show that you are credible and not pushy.
  3. Don’t market any ideas that are too far out of your niche. If you are a website design company, it wouldn’t be wise to post a random blog post about pants. Stay in your niche so your customers (and prospects) understand what your company stands for. Really, would you buy pants from a design company?
  4. Know your customers. Learn what they like and dislike. See what marketing strategies work and what don’t. There is always going to be trial and error in marketing and advertising, so pay attention and use what works for which group of clients!
  5. Branding is so extremely important. If you have a logo, a slogan, a spokesperson, or all three, make sure it is, or they are plastered on your marketing campaign so people recognize you quickly and easily.
  6. Customers come first. This one might be common sense, but it’s so important that I need to mention it. Make sure they are happy. If they have a question, answer it. If they have a complaint, try to help them to the best of your ability. If your attendees are content, you will be content.

I’m sure you know other great tips, so share in the comment section below!