I was recently placed in charge of coordinating one of our monthly PR 3.0 events, where we raise the stakes on the weekly social media, web trends, tech and communications confab by adding special guest speakers and local liquor. As has become the norm, I created a Facebook event page, and encouraged my coworkers to invite anybody who might find the topics of design, communications and the creative process interesting.
I then set about wading through my own list of roughly a googolplex worth of friends, handpicking the ones I believed would find value in our collaboration with neighbors ADX and/or free drinks courtesy of Deco Distilling. The result was that we had roughly 15 of the 130 people we invited show up.
When I consulted the event page on Facebook, I realized that we’d had 19 people respond that they were attending. Another 10 or so said that they weren’t, and about an equal number remained undecided. That left about 90 people that either never bothered to open the invitation or did open it but were sufficiently unmotivated to check even the beautifully noncommittal “Maybe” box.
Before we go any further, it’s important that I mention that the event was one of my favorites that we have ever hosted. The presentation by ADX featured gorgeous, thought-provoking visuals and the discussion was fast and furious. Even our bartender, Augustina (who it turns out handles marketing duties for Deco), got in on the action. Oh, and the drinks, which included coffee liquor mixed with Thomas Kemper Vanilla Cream soda, were stupid good.
Now, back to me being butt hurt about how few people showed up. It’s my PR 3.0, and I’ll cry if I want to.
Given that ADX’s presentation was all about the process of creating art and how mistakes play an important role in that process, I decided to share at the event (and with readers of this blog) my frustrations with the ineffectiveness of inviting people to an event via Facebook. The responses were interesting.
Kelley from ADX pointed out that so many people are constantly inundating her with Facebook event invitations that she hardly bothers to go and look at them. We then shared a laugh about a local music venue, which sends out such an absurd amount of event invitations that I long ago stopped looking at them. I’m sure this will come back to haunt me when Les Rallizes Denudes reunites for an American tour and only play this one venue in Portland. As Kurtis Blow says, these are the breaks.
Augustina then pointed out that, when studying marketing, she’d learned that 10 percent is pretty much the return that you’re going to get on invitations, so we were actually doing better than average. She also mentioned that her own experience with Deco had proved this truism. Bless her little heart.
As for those who wrote on our event page that they couldn’t attend – much appreciated, by the way – factors in their declining the invitation included that it was during their work hours, that they wouldn’t be in town that day and that their Star Trek transporters were broken. Not fabricating that last one.
While researching the topic, I came across the following string of posts that was quite illuminating. Perhaps whatever problem afflicted these poor people persists?
I also found this blog post with some insightful observations about reaching the audience you’re trying to via Facebook events. I like to think that I follow most of these pointers already, but I guess you can always make your invitation more of an event than it already is.
What do you think? Do you pay attention to Facebook invites? What makes them noticeable to you? Have you found other platforms for inviting people to events that have been more effective for you?