Facebook Local vs Event App – Which is Best for Your Event?
Facebook Local is a relatively new tool that’s getting more and more hype recently. That’s because the Local is, in fact, Facebook’s events feature, but in a form of a stand-alone app. We took a closer look at this social media giant’s product from the event planner’s point of view, checking what opportunities it brings to the event industry and who is able to take the full advantage of it.
The Facebook’s latest event app is available for both iOS and Android. As we can read in the “about” section of the store, the mobile event tool is to keep its users up to date with what’s happening locally, whether they’re looking for something to do with friends or want to explore the neighborhood.
It’s quite accurate – the Facebook Local is a better, enhanced version of Facebook Events app, that won its users hearts nearly a year ago. Revamped Local delivers new possibilities as it combines events and places to a single search engine. It gathers data from Facebook’s 70 million business pages alongside with reviews and friends’ check-ins.
What is Facebook Local exactly and why you should care?
It’s essentially a mean to discover what’s happening nearby. It combines information about events, local businesses, and places. A user no longer has to dig deep within the Facebook’s main app among the news feed chaos to find events they’re interested in. Users compare it to apps like Foursquare and Yelp, as it searches and discovers locally. Then presents the results in one place in form of a list. The simple and clear interface, as well as the customization in each area, makes it easy to become entranced by whichever event, page, or place is displayed in front of the user.
Right at the top of the homepage of the Local app users can see today’s date and the local weather. When they look down a bit, there are plenty of options to help them find the best places and activities in their city. That’s highly convenient when you visit the different city (or country) and want to spend free time after hours. Or when you plan a business trip and want to take part in some local business (or cultural) initiatives.
Events of many kinds
While scrolling down the main wall users can see some distinct sections:
- trending nearby – the events chosen for users based mostly on their location.
- with your friends – interesting options selected regarding Facebook friends that are willing to partake in
- from pages and groups – that one seems interesting, as it gives its user suggested events created by the pages and groups they like.
The lower they go, the more friends’ recent activity they can see.
The next section within the Facebook Local app is guides. The choice of events and places here is wide. Ranging from food, nightlife, music, and fitness to arts and networking.
All the events can be presented as points on the map of users’ location. It’s great, as it helps them visualize where to go, how far it is and what appealing destinations are nearby. It organizes the events in chronological order and encourages the users to map out their own personal schedule.
If a user is interested in an event they can click the button, to save it calendar and – just as it works with the Facebook app – they are provided with notifications and info about the event. It’s about the places and destinations as well.
Events stand a core part of Facebook Local, but the app is also a guide that can get its users through local attractions, restaurants, cafes, or bars. The app lists the places nearby, along with their ratings and info about user’s Facebook friends who have checked-in there in the past. It’s unusual because now the users choose a place of the recommendation of a friend, rather than a stranger’s review.
Facebook Local vs Event Applications
As an event planner, you’re probably wondering how can it help you with your event’s promotion and if it can replace a usual event app. Let me explain the idea.
If your brand isn’t developed yet
and you are just taking up moving within the event industry with a small audience and low budget, Facebook Local seems like a great option for you. In such a case the event can reach a wide audience and local attendees with low cost and little effort. Therefore it’s an easy access to people you look for. By specifying its category, you can be sure it will attract interested and engaged participants.
You don’t have to take care of additional info about the nearest restaurants or cafes. The map that includes the event’s venue shows such places as well. The same goes for local attractions. You can be sure the audience has a chance to spend their free time with pleasure.
Facebook Local includes the content you share on your Facebook event page. The description, media, and social discussion. It’s convenient, easily gathered in one place.
Don’t forget it is still Facebook, the biggest player in the field of social media marketing and promotion. You can take advantage of the paid campaign like Facebook Ads to boost your event or take it fully organic with shares and distribution.
With an established brand
that attracts the bigger amount of valuable attendees, who are truly devoted to your event’s topic and their expectations are high, you should rather choose a dedicated event app as your main tool. It requires some budget and a bit more effort with customization and uploading the whole content, but creates new opportunities that really matter.
The event app not only enhances the marketing of your event. It meets all needs connected with providing information, management, and sponsorship.
Inform your attendees about interesting places near the event venue, but choose them yourself. Maybe they are sponsors that require to place their offer in the app? With a mobile event app, you decide which particular spots should be pointed.
You are able to share content like photos and videos, that show your preparations and serve as sneak peeks of the upcoming event. You can take it even further, uploading additional materials like presentations and PDFs. But in the case of a dedicated event app, only attendees who downloaded it are able to see shared content. You can even restrict the access to the app. Such a move is a great advantage considering the security of data and prevention from unwanted persons. Plus, it creates a feeling of exclusiveness among your attendees.
The interactive map, in this case, can serve as a guide to the nearest parking lot or registration point – you decide. There can be a few necessary points on the map, to increase its readability and ease the way to get to them. Less is more, especially when the event space is big and there are many objects within.
While employing event app – similarly to Facebook’s events – your audience can get a reminder in a form of PUSH notification. The difference here is that with dedicated event app you can fully adjust the message. It doesn’t have to be just a date and time of the event popping up on your attendees’ screens. Include essential info or let your sponsor reach their target audience with their offer.
Check-ins and Reviews
Facebook is full of reviews and ratings. They are the factor that makes many people decide to visit a place or attend an event (or just the opposite). The Local takes advantage of them as well. After all, its core idea is to show the user’s friends opinions so they can get an insight. In a similar way, the event application provides a possibility to gain such ratings to collect feedback and draw some conclusions about the event. But the collected data is accessible to the event planner and serves rather than a source of info to use in terms of following events.
Facebook Local opens up a whole new world of opportunity for business owners to attract, engage, and inspire customers to visit their business. It can work as a powerful promotion tool, yet it’s not sufficient to serve every event comprehensively.
The bottom line is:
- Use Facebook Local if your budget isn’t so large and the event attracts a relatively small audience. It should do well and increase your event’s awareness.
- Focus on a dedicated app for your event if it’s more sophisticated and the expected audience is big. Your attendees are more demanding and their expectations are probably higher.