Whether you’re a writer, comedian or an infrequent BBQ host, you have probably used social networking as a marketing tool. And why not? It’s Web 2.0, baby! This is the future, and we can all connect with each other and nobody in particular in the time it takes for an index finger to descend a fraction of an inch.
But what if I told you that you’re using social marketing all wrong? You’d probably sneer at me and mumble something like, “Who the hell do you think you are, you amazingly tanned but incredibly misinformed hot piece of man hunk?!?” Well, sorry buddy, but you are using it all wrong. And it’s annoying everyone you know.
As written about in a recent piece on MarketingComedy.com, relying on “event” invites via Facebook is not only a waste of your valuable time, but it might actually hurt your overall marketing efforts. It’s an invasive marketing technique, one that requires action on the part of the recipient. And the last thing you want to do for a potential consumer (or BBQ attendee) is to create a chore. But that’s just what you are doing when you send an event invite. On top of that, you are forcing said individual to make a very public declaration about whether he or she is attending the event. And in a society where politeness and modesty are still valued, a lot of people will resent you for humiliating them, albeit in an electronic intangible forum.
I’m guilty of sending event invites just as much as the next party promoter. I send them out regularly for Essay Fiesta and the Chicago Story Collective. I feel it’s a good way to help raise awareness that the event exists. It matters little to me whether someone actually RSVPs. I suppose, in a way, I’m using the event invite like the guy who leaves the Chinese take-out menu on your windshield. You’ll probably just chuck it, but maybe, in a few days when you’re hungry, you’ll give me a shot.
I think posting an event on your wall, on your Twitter feed and on your blog/website should suffice. Also, creating tangible marketing materials (which I do for every show I produce) is always a surefire way to attract attention. Plus, you can always send the image files as e-mail attachments to friends and family. And of course, press listings are essential. But that’s another blog.