Facebook Promos

Interesting article in the Grid today by Denise Benson  – Has Facebook ruined the art of party promotion?

Facebook invites have all but replaced flyers and posters as the primary means of event publicity. And now, thanks to easily-abused new features in the Groups section, Facebook fatigue is giving way to outright hostility….
I tend to agree with a lot of it – and not with some of it. But it’s true, you get inundated with event invites to everything from baby and bridal showers to opening nights to CD release parties and it`s really hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when all you can see is the phrase 27 event invitations, or the first words and they’re CD RELEASE or OPENS TONIGHT.
I’ll be the first to say that I used a Facebook invite for my birthday party, knowing I’d get about a 50% response rate. That’s based on the fact that I personally knew every person I was inviting. I’ll follow-up with the other 50% – and that’s the big thing – and I’ll follow-up in person, via text, and by email with some. Again good PR/invites aren’t necessarily about the invite – it’s about the followup.
I don’t necessarily think that it’s the death of well written press releases or flyers or posters – I still read and get a ton of those. But at the same time, I get those from folks who are good at PR to begin with. And odds are they’re using that well written press release as the basis for their FB invite. For a production I worked on in the summer we did posters, flyers, marketing collateral including fans and temporary tattoos, issued a press release, ran online and paper ads and THEN – issued a Facebook invitation.
I think that Facebook invites can be part of a strategy, but can’t be the only thing you do, otherwise it’s simply an online version of this and you’re holding your breath.  “well I sent out a Facebook invite” is not good enough.  And you must remember and believe it or not –
Some people aren’t on Facebook.
Or some people don’t check it religiously.
Or some people opened an account and forgot they did it.
I heard tell once of a company who did all their show promo via Facebook – a page, invites everything. Guess who didn’t come? Their sponsors. The ones who you are contractually obligated to invite and give tickets to. Why not? Because they weren’t on Facebook.
All I am saying is that it’s one thing to use Facebook invites to pad or up your numbers (I have NO idea why I get invited to some things then I remember you can ‘choose all’.)  But think about why you’re inviting someone. Are they interested in your show? Do you know them personally? Or are you just hoping they click something and it helps you promote?
Just because it’s easy to click “invite” doesn’t mean you should.
Know why? Because it’s just as easy to click “remove this event”.
This image  is beautiful. Photo by Andrew Louis, courtesy of Torontoist.

5 Comments to “Facebook Promos”

  1. This is especially relevant today, as I continue getting word out about our conference starting tomorrow. Posters, flyers, release, PSAs, online classifieds, are all out there. But, (and being a youth arts org, FB is perhaps more relevant for us), if I want to get word to our participants (and better, get them to pass said word to their friends/acquaintances/peeps) Facebook is the way to go.

    The shotgun approach (blast away and hope to hit something) is the problem. It is so easy to be non-specific. My dilemma is finding the line between inviting and spamming. And I figure I’ve about three seconds to win them. That’s how long it takes me to decide whether a Facebook invitation is relevant to my interests. And my interests are pretty eclectic.

    • I call the shotgun approach “spray and pray” and I totally understand it. It doesn’t work that way anymore – there’s too much competition. And that is a hard line to find. And i think three seconds is about right – so people need to use those seconds wisely.

  2. I sympathise with your post about facebook event invite fatigue. As some of my clients have followers from across the country and even around the world because of their touring activity, I am careful to use the edit friends function. I only send messages and invites to people who are geographically likely to be able to attend. I still post about activities occasionally on the Wall, and provide links to details, as people do travel and/or have family and friends who would like to pass along information. If we inundate our followers with useless messages, we run the risk of making a useful tool useless.

    • I’ve been known to preface certain invites with, “hey Vancouver peeps!” to let people know who the message is intended for. But you’re right -don’t invite me to your show tonight in Whitehorse. I’ll never catch a flight in time. 🙂

  3. Woah. This is the second time this topic has come up for me this week.
    I have over 900 friends, and I get bajillions of event invites. What I don’t like is when people who live away, like in San Francisco or something, send me invites to their shows. Sure, there’s always the chance that I’ll be passing through, but if I was, I’d make the effort to find out what’s playing in town when I’m going to be there.
    They feel like more noise than anything else, and I primarily ignore them.
    I wrote this blog post almost a year ago: http://www.rebeccacoleman.ca/2010/09/15/arts-marketing/are-facebook-invites-dead/
    And I don’t think my opinion has changed much since then….

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