I am always amazed when my students don’t know about a particular upcoming event. Between the e-mail, the video announcements, the postcards, the bulletin inserts, and the website, I figure it should be the only thing that is ever on their mind. But alas, fighting for a precious spot in the conscious memory of a teenager is a difficult battle. Fortunately, you have a very powerful ally in Facebook Events. Today we’ll take a look at how to create them.
What Are Facebook Events?
Simply put, Facebook Events are the easiest way to promote an upcoming event to the students in your minister, the most convenient way for them to invite their friends, and the best way to raise awareness about what your group is up to. Who doesn’t like that?
Why Use Facebook Events?
By creating an event, you get a digital invitation, attendance sheet, a direct line of communication with attendees. It’s a simple process that is often more effective than most other promotional methods combined.
How to Create a Facebook Event
Fortunately, setting up Events is pretty easy once you have all your basic info. Start by clicking “Events” in the menu beneath your profile picture. Then click “Create an Event” in the upper right-hand corner. This takes you to the event creation page.
Enter your basic information such as date, time, place, etc. You can add a simple description that will show up on the Event Page and any invites you send out. You can also add a picture for the event, which is a great way to tie in a logo or theme you might have for the event.
Alternatively, you can use a simple photo editor like Picnik to add text to a photo of some students or something that represents what your event is about. A photo size of 200 x 300 pixels is a nice balance between big enough to notice without being overpowering.
Once you have the information set and the picture chosen, just click “Create Event” and you’ll be ushered to your fancy new event page.
From the event page, you can send out invites. Beneath the event picture on the right-hand side, just click “Invite People to Come” and a window will pop-up from which you can choose who should get an invite. You can even pick from one of the handy Lists you’ve made and then select all for a quick and painless mass invite.
Your students will then be able to RSVP by saying they are Attending, Not Attending, or Maybe. It’s been my experience that the majority of students who say Maybe really won’t show up, but want to let you down easy.
A few other neat tricks once your event is setup:
- You can send a message to everyone who said they are attending or maybe attending. Perfect for last minute reminders, schedule changes, or other important information.
- If you make a change to the time of the event, each attendee is notified automatically.
- You can print a guest list.
- Your event gets a wall where people can talk about it, and post pictures afterwards.
Lastly, one of the greatest effects of a Facebook Event is when a student RSVPs, it shows up in the News Feed of all their friends, that means a lot more bang for your buck in terms of promotion.
An email invite sent to 50 students will probably only be seen by 20-30 people (that’s if you have a very healthy open-rate for email newsletters). And those people are unlikely to forward that email on to their friends. But, send that invite through Facebook, where an average user has 130 friends, and your event information might make it in front over 3,000 people in the same amount of time.
And a final hint, you probably don’t want to use Facebook as your “official sign-up” for events that require you to collect money. Culturally, a Facebook RSVP is not a particularly binding agreement. Plus, it’s hard to know what to do with those Maybes. In our group, we send out Facebook invites, but the “official sign-up” is done on our website.
That’s it. Facebook Events are the perfect and most effective way to promote an upcoming event to your student ministry.
This post was inspired by “Youth Ministry Topics You Should Cover” on www.studentministry.org