If you’re like me, you’re bombarded with Facebook event invitations everyday. Most of them are for events out of town and I end up blocking/ignoring the people or pages that continue to send this spam out. However, every once in a while, I get a great reminder of something: an old friend playing a show in town, a birthday party, a wedding, and so on. It’s not all bad. So let’s talk about how you can use Facebook events properly to promote your gigs. Follow these steps:
- Have your event details set before you create the event: Make sure that you have everything confirmed first. There’s nothing worse than promoting a show only to have it relocate or change times (people don’t always go back to the event page and sometimes the notifications don’t notify them of the changes). Be sure to have an appealing graphic, that always helps.
- Log in as your page to create the event: If you log in as your band’s page, the show will automatically populate under your page’s “events” tab. After creating the page, you’ll have to log in as yourself to invite guests. At this time, there’s no way for a page to invite its followers to an event, you have to use your personal contacts.
- Sort the list before you send invites: Don’t blast your invite to everyone on your contact list. Spam is the quickest way to get ignored. Only invite people who you know are in the area. Don’t bother inviting your friends in New York to your Los Angeles gig. Facebook does not offer a very good way to do this but you can always type the city name in the search bar on top of the Facebook page (click on the magnifying glass, don’t press enter), then click on “people” on the left hand side under “search filters.” The downside is that if someone identifies their area with a county instead of a major city or uses a nickname for the city (i.e, Portlandia ), they won’t show up unless you search for it specifically.
- When Possible, follow up with a personal message: Most people don’t like an anonymous invite, especially from someone that they haven’t heard from in a while. It’s best to send a message personally inviting them out and telling them how much it’d mean to you if they would show up and/or pass the word on.
- Use your email system: If you use a fan-management email system (such as Fanbridge), then target a message to people specifically in the zip code and send them the link to the Facebook page. The more people that are shown as attending, the better. It makes promoters happy and no one wants to go to a dead event, they want to go to something buzzworthy. You might also consider using a Facebook Ads campaign.
- Use your page to make updates: “Share” the event on your page as well as your profile (have your band mates do the same) and as people RSVP, ask questions, or information gets updated, use your page to comment on the event. As you get closer, leave a comment saying how excited you are (that kind of activity shows up under “notifications” for people connected to the event).
- As an alternative, create an event page for your tour instead of individual shows: While I’ve used this method in the past, I don’t recommend it. However, if you’re short-pressed for time, create an event for your entire tour and invite everybody to that. List all of your show dates and link to your band’s website so people can get more information, buy tickets, etc.
Whenever you use a tool like Facebook Events, try injecting some creativity and extra thought into the process. If you respect your friends enough to not drop spam on them for every show, they’ll pay more attention to your updates/invitations. Remember, this still has to do with your music’s branding so take the extra time to do it well!
Simon Tam is owner of Last Stop Booking and author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at www.laststopbooking.com. He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam