If you’re a thought leader, expert, coach, content creator or publisher, Facebook wants you.  They’ve opened up “Facebook Online Events” for FREE.

Let’s be honest. There’s really nothing “new” here in terms of features.  All Facebook did was take existing features, bundle them together, integrate THEIR payment system and voila! Facebook Online Events.

Please don’t read this as snarky at all.  Facebook Online Events offer an opportunity for entrepreneurs and business owners for sure.

In this article, we’ll talk about what Facebook Online Events is, how it works, and everything you need to know to see if it’s something you should try in your business.

What is Facebook Online Events

Facebook Online Events is an all-in-one event platform that allows you to create, promote, monetize and deliver and online event to your Facebook audience.

Your Business Page can host events on Facebook Live to reach broad audiences. Facebook is also testing paid events with Messenger Rooms for more personal and interactive gatherings.

Facebook has said that their goal is to give business owners the ability to create the event, set the price, promote the event, collect the payment and host the event itself all from one place.

Some of the paid events that have already been organized during tests with early users include talks, trivia, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, meet-and-greets and fitness classes.

Facebook online events example of mobile phone screen shot

Why is Facebook Offering it For Free

to “support businesses and creators who are looking for ways to connect with their communities and bring their businesses online during COVID,”

According to Facebook, in June 2020, live broadcasts from Pages doubled compared with a year prior. In Facebook’s testing of paid events, businesses have hosted “expert talks, trivia events, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, intimate meet-and-greets, fitness classes and more,” Simo said. Facebook also is testing paid events with Messenger Rooms, its recently launched video-chat service, “for more personal and interactive gatherings,” according to Simo.

How Long Will Facebook Online Events Be Free

Head of Facebook App Fidji Simo said Facebook will not be collecting any fees from paid online events for at least the next year.

So on the web and on Android “in countries where we have rolled out Facebook Pay,” businesses should be able to keep 100% of their online events revenue. That won’t, however, be the case on iOS, and Simo’s blog post includes a surprisingly direct dig at Apple:

“We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue. Because this is complicated, as long as Facebook is waiving its fees, we will make all fees clear in our products.”

What Type of Events Are Best for Facebook Online Events

Types of Facebook online events

early users include talks, trivia, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, meet-and-greets and fitness classes.

like a yoga class or seminar for small businesses,

Watch Party

Online Course

Interview

Classes (cooking, yoga, fitness, knitting, etc)

How to See if You’re Eligible

This new service is available in the United States and 19 other countries.  Paid online events are currently available to eligible Facebook Pages in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the U.K. and the U.S.

It does come with some eligibility requirements, so you’ll test your page to see if you can participate.

How to Set Up an Online Event on Facebook

setting up Facebook online events - select business page
setting up Facebook online events select your business type
setting up Facebook online events, upload your w9 tax form

setting up Facebook online events, set up your payment either to your bank or to PayPal

finish setting up your Facebook online events

Pros and Cons of Using Facebook Online Events

Pros

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This is a terrific opportunity to test out new ideas and learn how to do online events. 

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All-in-one platform. No third party tools required.

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Allows you to focus on the content and the marketing funnel instead of the technology

Cons

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Facebook will own your audience and your content if you don’t move them to your own list. 

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Facebook is currently in a pissing match with Apple over fees. So, if you’re using an iPhone for your Facebook Online Events, Apple is taking a 30% slice of your pie.

Thoughts and Recommendations

I’ve heard it said that if something is free, then YOU are the product.  And in this case, I completely believe it.

Like Google, Facebook wants to get you and keep you on the platform. They want YOUR leads and customers to be their leads and customers.  They want your data, your demographics, your psychographics.  And they are willing to give you something for “free” in order to get it.

I’m not saying this is good or bad. I’m just making sure that there are no misunderstandings.

Whether it’s Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., this is their business model. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a little benefit out of the deal.  Just recognize that as long as you stay on Facebook, those contacts belong to Facebook and not to you.

If you leave your content on Facebook and they change something and take it down, it’s their content on their platform. If you want to own the content and the leads, you need to be on your own platform.

Having said all this, there is much to be gained from this new Online Events offer from Facebook.

Personally, I think it’s an excellent way to get your feet wet and try something new.  Practice your online presentation skills and get terrific data and insights in the process.

My only recommendation would be to use Facebook as a testing ground and then use what you’ve learned on your own property.