How to Promote a Concert: Using Facebook Events
In the vast and seemingly unending sea of content that is Facebook, it can be exceedingly difficult to stand out. It is not, however, the Sisyphian task it may seem on the surface. Facebook’s current status as most of the world’s digital town square (an estimated 35 million people view a Facebook event everyday and over 700 million do so each month) means it remains the best way to disseminate information about your show to a great deal of people very quickly—and for super cheap—provided you know what you’re doing.
First and foremost, you’ll need a thorough event page, one with the who/what/when/where and how much (the “why” will be presumably because music is highly enjoyable), as well as relevant and eye-grabbing images. When considering the image, consider your event. If your venue is known for its amazing views or the show is taking place at sunset, you might want to highlight that. A good general bet though is a cool image of your headliner performing live, one that represents the general vibe of your event: a cool black-and-white shot for a folk singer and perhaps a wild action shot for a rowdy rock band, for instance. The same goes for the images within your event page (of which there should be a few): choose a series of shots that evoke what will ideally be the vibe of your show.
Once you have your featured image picked out you should go about tagged everyone who is relevant to the event. Your venue, the artist, the promoter, the opening act, local media outlets, any sponsors you may have, the artists’ label and management companies (this is especially relevant to smaller or “indie” acts)—everyone who has a vested interest in seeing your show succeed. After tagging them, a polite message about the show and your hopes they’ll share, RSVP and spread the word can go a long way as well. People are inundated non-stop with information these days, so seeing a respected label/media outlet/artists promote the show in addition to your posts is always helpful. You can add other events or pages to your show’s page, so if the label/media outlet/artist in questions needs a quid pro quo to promote your event, you can easily cross-promote, which is also a simple way to cultivate relationships within your community’s and music, arts and nightlife scenes.
With the bombardment of information that is modern digital existence in mind, it’s also a good idea to consider using Facebook’s ticketing capabilities via Eventbrite to have a direct link for ticket purchasing on the event page. If someone is interested in your event you want to monetize that interest post-haste, before they get distracted by the Dogs That Look Like US Presidents page’s latest post. Ideally, customers will purchase tickets right after RSVPing, which brings me to my next point: do your best to ensure any and every person who you know is definitely going to be at the show RSVPs early—or anyone who you know will smash that RSVP button simply to support you. Employees, significant others, your grandma and her sewing group: the optics of all those RSVPs look good in general and may hasten your target customers’ purchasing of tickets.
Beyond using your grandmother’s undying love to game Facebook’s algorithms, it’s always a good idea to purchase an ad promoting your show on Facebook. Zuckerberg and company have devised a very thorough Ads Manager page on their app, and any promoter serious about their craft would do well to familiarize themselves with the in’s and out’s of the page. Beyond a wide array of price points, you can pinpoint the location of your desired audience and, perhaps most importantly, you can use Facebook’s (and Instagram’s) data to hone in on who sees your ad. You can create a data map to target people who’ve already visited your page, people who you’d like to visit your page, people who’ve been to your venue already and/or several other facets of targeted information. Helpfully, you can also create a “Saved Audience,” so if your venue hosts a lot of a particular type of music you can use the same data for, say, a Joanna Newsom show as a Devendra Banhart show.
Now that you’ve created a fantastical event page and put some money into promoting it, keep it updated! As most artists tend to tour around releases, they’ll probably be releasing multiple singles and/or videos in the weeks and months leading up to your event. Put them on your page! Don’t let your gorgeous page lay fallow, use the interactive nature of Facebook to your advantage and keep people involved with your event. A cool video of the artist playing live works as well—just make sure the page remains alive and engaging to those interested. You can even do this after the event: post a video or two of the great time everyone had. It endears you to those who made it to the show and inspires FOMO-induced jealousy in those who did not.
The ubiquity of Facebook makes one of the best tools a promoter has – it can even out the playing field for smaller venues and streamline the work of massive ones. The key is making your page as alive, engaging and easy-to-use as you hope your show and venue are. Every post is an integral reflection of your business and a key interaction with your audience, treat it as such.