Should I start a Facebook group for my event? If so, when in the planning process should I start it? After people have signed up? After the event? Or should I use it as a marketing tool for people and promise access to it in my marketing materials?
I remember the good old days of Facebook Groups that were totally irrelevant and related more to the shows I watched on television and funny things my friends did at parties than actually connecting with other people.
These days, Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool to build momentum, create connections, and take the pressure off coming into a brand new situation, ESPECIALLY if travel to a new city or country is involved.
My opinion? Yes, start a Facebook group for your event.
When should you start it? Depends on the event.
Upon Event Sign Up
For big events like conferences, retreats, or any event where people are traveling to and from your destination, giving them the ability to figure out travel or road tripping with other attendees, whether or not they live in the same city as other attendees, and the PROMISE of connecting prior to flying across the country is a huge bonus incentive to add to your sales page.
Going to an event where you don't know anyone can be scary. Giving people the opportunity to break down that fear barrier with a Facebook group is imperative.
A Few Weeks Before
For smaller events like workshops and one-day retreats or masterminds that still may require some hurdle-leaping, as people often want to know who else will be at the event before they actually show up.
For higher investment events like two-day workshops among a local crowd, a Facebook group a few weeks prior to the event may be the perfect way to make sure you're addressing the group's primary concerns and questions about your workshop topic. It's a great way to make sure you add all the value you can possibly add by addressing the topics your audience wants to hear about!
After the Event
For events like networking events where people want to stay in touch after the event, but don't necessarily need to meet beforehand (likely because it's a local event and/or a shorter event), start a Facebook group after the event is already over so people can stay in touch.
As a moderator, it also may be a good to form the group, then pop in once a week with a provocative question. It's great for building your brand and reputation as a facilitator and a leader, too!
What do you think about Facebook groups around events? Do you like them or do you think they add more noise than they're worth?