‘Tis the season! We’re going to party like it’s 1999. Shhhh, it’s a surprise!
Surely you’ve seen any one of these descriptors at the top of a Facebook invite.
That’s because Facebook events have become a sort of catch-all way to invite anyone to anything. Whether it’s birthday parties, housewarming get-togethers, graduation celebrations, and more, there’s been a Facebook event for it.
Yep, that’s right, this social media platform has even seen some couples send out invitations for their wedding day.
Whatever your event, it’s true that Facebook is a quick and cash-free way to make a mass, or intimate, amount of people aware of an upcoming gathering. The social media platform has eradicated the need to send out annoying group texts and has made it easy to figure out who plans to bring the barbecue chips.
How to make an event on Facebook
Under "Explore" click "Events" and then "Create"
Fill out the details of the event such as name, location, time, date, and description
Denote the event as public or private
Invite guests and send invitations
Every good gathering needs barbecue chips.
If you have something special coming up, perhaps you want to save some money on stamps and create a Facebook page instead. You can send out invites to all your friends, and even configure the settings to where friends can invite their friends (if that’s the vibe you’re going for).
There are plenty of other reasons to prefer creating an event on Facebook as opposed to sending out physical invitations. For one, Facebook never gets the address wrong! With a digital event, no invitation is returned to the sender or lost in transit.
Guests are also able to change their mind at any time, providing you with the most accurate headcount come the day of the event. You’re able to add visuals to the event page, further branding the event and making the page itself more fun to look at.
How to make an event on Facebook
But before we go through all of the fancy details, let’s talk about how to create an event on Facebook.
Create the Facebook event
There are a couple of different ways to create an event on Facebook. The first and easiest is using the platform’s new “create” button on the top right-hand corner of the screen.
Once you click create, you have a number of options to choose from. For the purpose of this article, you’re going to click on “event.”
Another way to get to creating an event is to navigate to the sidebar on your homepage. Underneath newsfeed and shortcuts, there is another tab labeled “explore.” Click on “events.”
Go to the bottom of this list and click on “create event.”
Public vs. Private Facebook Events
From here, you get to decide if the event is private or public. Public events mean anyone can view the event page, regardless of whether they were invited. This is a good option for large, open-invite events such as block parties, concerts, street festivals, or anything you don’t mind letting anyone attend.
Events should be private when you have a limited amount of invites to hand out. For example, you probably don’t want your entire city showing up to your husband’s retirement party. In this case, you would make the event private and send out invitations only to those you want showing up.
Something to consider: Users can create events from their personal Facebook page, or from a Facebook business page (i.e., a page you manage). If you make a Facebook event from your personal page, you can only include one date. If you make a Facebook event from a page you manage, you can include multiple, and even recurring, dates. The following photo is an example of how it looks when users can choose from multiple dates.
Events created through a page you manage also have the potential to be categorized with descriptors such as kid-friendly, can have co-hosts added, and can include keywords. Keywords are useful because they help public events reach nearby Facebook users who have denoted similar interests.
Facebook Event Invitation Settings
If you want a private event but still have room for some extra attendees, check the box at the bottom of the “private event” box that says “guests can invite friends.” If it’s already checked off, you don’t have to do anything! This allows the people you invite to also invite people of their own.
Obviously, only do this if you trust your friends and family not to go crazy with the invites. You don’t want to end up hosting 200 extra hungry college students for Grandma’s 80th birthday party just because you gave your nephew the ability to invite friends!
What the “guests can invite friends” feature allows you to do is maintain control over the core guest list while giving friends and family the opportunity to add anyone you may have overlooked, or people you aren’t personal friends with on Facebook. This feature is especially great for say, a family reunion when relations might go back further than you know.
The previous image is where you’ll handle the details of the event. All of this can be edited later, but keep in mind many people may look at an event once, put it in their personal calendar, and check back on the Facebook page sparingly. It’s important to try and get the details listed accurately so there are no location, time, or date mishaps.
Themes for Facebook Events
As the above picture implies, users can give their event a theme. These themes are only available for private events, as the images are licensed by Facebook. The event photo can be taken seriously or can be extremely silly. Facebook provides a couple of canned photos that might be relevant to your theme. Consider the event photo to be like the Facebook cover photo of your event page!
One example is this photo of fireworks, which could be a fun icon for a 4th of July party, or New Year’s Eve, Bastille Day, or any other celebration which utilizes fireworks.
There’s also this shot of people dancing with cake and presents. Personally, I don’t think there has to be an occasion for people to dance with cake and presents. But if you want to put a label on it, this graphic would be fitting for a birthday, a zany baby shower, or a retirement party.
Additionally, you’re welcome to upload your own photo, or choose from your Facebook uploads. You can choose a graphic you’ve created specifically for the event, or just a fun shot of you and your roommates to commemorate the housewarming party.
Naming the event
After you’ve chosen a theme or picture, you need to name the event. Make the name short and informative. For example, compare these two options:
—“Liz’s Garden Birthday”
—“Liz’s Garden Birthday Rendezvous This Saturday at 2pm in Helen Haverty Park”
The former is a better choice. It provides enough information without visually overwhelming those invited (Facebook marketing 101). Longer event names also are not as compatible with mobile devices. Plus, it’s much easier to lean over and ask a coworker, “Hey, are you attending Liz’s Garden Birthday?” than it is to repeat the latter. Use the rest of the event page to communicate extraneous information.
Giving friends a location for the event
After picking out a name, list the location. If you choose to type the name of a venue, it might pop up in a dropdown list for you to choose from. If you type in an address, that might also appear in a dropdown list. If the location is not on a map, such as “The Office Annex,” you can choose from the dropdown list to just use “The Office Annex” as the location.
Be sure to include the date and time as well. If your location was not picked up by Facebook’s geographical features, you’ll be asked to manually name the city you’re in so the timezone is accurate.
Describing the Facebook event
Include a description that lists out the remaining details. Like I said, the title should be short, meaning it doesn’t always let invitees know what’s going on. If the event title is “Chill Get-Together,” the description should explain things such as the occasion, what attire guests should wear, and what they are expected to bring.
If it’s a public event, the description might also include things such as the price of admission, or a link to the site where people can purchase tickets. Much like a physical invitation would, Facebook event pages should serve as an all-encompassing informational on what guests need to know. Some examples of things to include in the event description:
—We have cats, so please take allergy medication prior to arriving.
—This party is a surprise, and surprises are fun. In the spirit of fun, once you arrive, you’ll have to give the hostess the codeword “ALLIGATOR.”
—Jim and Pam have asked that, in lieu of giving gifts for their anniversary celebration, you make a donation to Scott’s Tots. The link to donate is as follows: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott%27s_Tots (NOTE: Scott’s Tots is not a real charity; please do not donate.)
—Beer and wine will be provided, but feel free to bring any other beverages you’d like to consume!
Once you’ve included all of this information (as well as indicated through the checkboxes whether you want guests to be able to invite others, and whether you want the guest list to be displayed), click “create event.” It’s not until after you have created the event that you are able to invite guests. This is, presumably, a feature meant to allow you time to look over all the details before inviting others to look at the page.
The people you invite to an event are a community in and of themselves. As such, you have the opportunity to crowdsource with them should you need answers to a question.
This is especially relevant for event planners who may have questions such as, "Would everyone prefer a vegetarian menu?"
Luckily, Facebook has thought of this and offers its users the ability to create polls within events. Polls notify attendees in the same way a post would, allowing a host to ask their full invite list for information regarding the event.
Event administrators can create a poll in the same way they would create a post in the event, or share a photo on the event wall. Rather instead of writing a post or sharing a photo. the administrator elects to create a poll.
From here, the poll's creator can choose what question to pose toward attendees, and offer a list of potential answers.
There's much more to polling than meets the eye. If you're interested in crowdsourcing within your community and want more information, check out how to create a poll on Facebook.
Your Facebook event is all set!
Once created, your event page should look a little something like this:
As you can see, I’ve invited a few friends. (None of them have said yes yet, but we’re hoping that changes.)
You can invite people by clicking on the “invite” icon underneath the event name. There are multiple ways to filter through possible attendees. You can ask Facebook to show you a list of people in your current city. You can have it show only people you are in certain groups with, or have attended past events with. You can even have it show only the people you’ve confirmed being related to. (Ie, the family reunion example.)
Invitees are able to give a couple of different responses to an event: Interested, Maybe, Going, or Can’t Go.
“Interested” is usually a response reserved for public events, and more typically public events that have multiple dates listed. For example, if a band is having multiple performances, those who were invited might not know which night is best for them to attend. By clicking “interested,” invitees denote they would like to revisit the event page or have periodic reminders to choose a date.
“Maybe,” “going,” and “can’t go” are reserved for private events. As I have stated already, it’s often important to hosts to have an accurate headcount. Private parties often have caterers or require some other count for food, beverages, seating, party gifts, etc. As the host or administrator, you’re able to see exactly how each person has RSVP’d.
Now that you’ve created the event with all of the details included, you have nothing left to do but wait for friends, family, co-workers, etc. to give you their response!
Remember that if you ever feel as though you or your company's information is being compromised, the best course of action is to change your Facebook password. For help on figuring out how to do so, head to our article on how to change your Facebook password.
Facebook Event Timeline
Another helpful aspect of Facebook events is their ability to host conversations between guests and hosts. Just like you’re able to post on your friends’ walls, or within your own timeline, you’re also able to create posts within event pages.
This feature can be used for a number of reasons. Perhaps someone has a question about the attire. What really is business casual? Maybe someone is unable to attend and wishes to express their regret. Maybe, like in the example below, a friend wishes to bring something but is unsure what the host or celebrated guest prefers.
The posting feature helps turn the event page itself into a sort of bulletin board for the event. People can discuss what time they should show up, if the host needs help with setup, what kind of music everyone wants on the playlist, food allergies, and more.
This feature removes a lot of the back-and-forth conversation associated with traditional event marketing and management, such as with email or paper invitations. With the event wall, questions can be answered immediately, and for all guests to see.
There you have it, folks. The ins and outs of creating a Facebook event are all listed before you. Dare I say, I’ve given you the basics and THEN some. Now that you know what to do, I expect to see a whole lot more invitations in my notifications!*
*This is absolutely a joke. I am a very private person. Please do not invite me to an event if I do not know you. Like teachers, I too must draw boundaries.
Grace Pinegar is a lifelong storyteller with an extensive background in various forms such as acting, journalism, improv, research, and content marketing. She was raised in Texas, educated in Missouri, worked in Chicago, and is now a proud New Yorker. (she/her/hers)