Monday, March 12, 2012

Marketing Tidbit: Online Events and Invites

This is another Marketing Tidbit focusing on issues specific to social networking, particularly Facebook. One of the fabulous things about Facebook is that you can set up "events" and invite your friends. Allyson Seconds and I use them with great success in getting the word out about our ongoing Project Hank gigs to help Sacramento area animal charities. Events are also fantastic for reaching out to non-local people for online classes and calls for art.

HOWEVER, one event tool, the invite can really bother the bejesus out of people (the invite should not to be confused with public posts on pages or timelines). These excerpts from The Oatmeal's "How To Suck At Facebook" strip have always made me laugh.

Yeah. It's like that.

Laughter aside, would you like to see how overuse and abuse of the event invite works against your small business/band?

I had two people on my friends list who run a marketing company in the midwest (I am in California), one of whom constantly sent me personal invitation to events clear across the USA. After being invited to three events in one day, all of which were over 2,000 miles away, I removed her from my friends list. A week later, her business partner started serial-inviting me to events in Illinois. Yep - she got unfriended too. I had previously unliked their page, simply because they use it solely to promote their local events, which are too far for me to attend. It's not that I dislike these two or their company by any means, but I got tired of having my events calendar clogged with things I couldn't possibly attend. I would have stayed a fan of the page if anything was going on there - besides posts about events they were doing across the country.

Now before anyone gets all defensive and tells me how I "should have" handled it, hang on. I know I could have messaged them and asked them to create invite lists for their local area and and to please not include me. If they had been actual friends or colleagues/artists/DIYers with whom I interacted on a regular basis, I would have. I might even have pointed them to the Facebook help guide on creating lists.

However, this post isn't about how I handled an online annoyance from people I don't know well and never interact with. The point is that THIS IS WHAT MOST PEOPLE WILL DO. If people are deleting you/your company/business/band because you are annoying them with inappropriate personal invitations, you've lost a potential fan or customer.

If you want to run a successful company, and this goes double if you are representing others, make lists for event invitations rather than inviting everyone you've collected on your friends list. When you create these lists, only include appropriate people on them. Do you run online sales? Create an invite list of people who have purchased from you or expressed an interest on your page. Are you a musician/artist playing a gig/having an art show? Create lists of local fans. Don't bother inviting people from across the country unless you and/or the art is going where they are. And feel free to spam away on your own page - that way you'll pick up the stragglers and travelers who were left off the invite list.

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