Stop Wasting Your Time with Facebook Events

Facebook Events

Stop Wasting Your Time with Facebook Events (Sending Messages through Facebook Event Invites is Now Essentially Useless)

I have a confession to make: I stopped checking Facebook Event Invites late last year. It started feeling eerily like MySpace at its worst (and look where MySpace is now). I have an average of 80+ invites at any one time, and what made it even worse was the constant messages that were sent to everyone invited to the event, whether they had confirmed or not. So not only did I stop checking event invites, my Facebook inbox became such a mess that I stopped checking that too.

That is until Facebook changed the way their messaging system worked. Your Facebook inbox is now an integration of SMS, chat, email or messages. But one of the biggest changes for bands is that now any messages sent through Event Invites no longer wind up in someone’s regular inbox, they now end up in the “Other” inbox. That’s right, the “Other” inbox where message updates from Facebook Fan Pages go.

Facebook Inbox

The “Other” Inbox

How many people actually know that this secondary “Other” inbox exists? How many people know it exists and proactively check it to get those updates? I’m willing to bet, not very many. I actually knew it existed, but had totally forgotten about it, and now have 20 pages worth of unread messages from Facebook Pages. It’s like a junk mail folder that I never open. And now all of those messages from events I’m not attending are going to that inbox too, which is great news for me (and I might actually start using my Facebook inbox again), but it’s not very good news for people organizing events, specifically bands.

What’s the solution?

So what’s the solution? What should bands do now? Keep sending messages through event invites even though they are going to the “Other” inbox? While you can keep doing this if you want, here are a few other things you can spend time on that might give you better results and more attendance at your shows:

1. Stop blindly inviting everyone to shows

I live in Montreal, but I can’t tell you how often I get invites for events that are happening in Toronto, New York, Boston, etc. Is there a chance I will be in that city for the show? Yes, in theory, but it’s really not worth the risk of being blacklisted. Blacklisted? Yes, you can actually ignore all invites from certain people if you want to. I do it all the time, and being invited to shows that are not happening in my home city is often the reason (especially getting invites to shows in each city of a band’s national tour).

Facebook Ignore Invites

And if I do happen to be in that city for the show, I’ll find out when the person updates their fan page, sends out a message through their mailing list or tweets about it. But blindly inviting everyone in your Friend’s list is just not the way to go.

2. Be active on your Fan Page

Be sure to post regular updates about your show on your Fan Page. Event details, updates about the line-up, links to blog posts & video blogs on your website previewing the show, pics from band rehearsals, etc. And why not use Facebook Questions to build your set list? Each day ask fans to choose their favorite songs and build your set list from those songs.

And if there are opening bands, talk about them too! You can post info about the bands, their music, pics, videos, etc. If you regularly post creative updates leading up to the show, it will no doubt help create buzz/excitement about the event.

3. Send personal messages to people that you invite to events

So the messages you send through the Event Invite itself are now going to the mysterious “Other” inbox? Well, why not take the time to send each person who you’ve invited a personal message inviting them? And I don’t mean copying and pasting the same message to each person. Yes, you can and should use some of the same elements, but take an extra few minutes and personalize the message to the individual. You can reference a recent conversation with them, tell them what’s going to be special/unique/fun about that night, basically, tell them why they should come out that night.

Don’t be discouraged

This post is certainly not meant to be discouraging, but more of a reality check for promoting shows on Facebook. I sat in many empty rooms during my 3 years as a venue booker in Montreal, and often the band’s idea of promoting the show was creating a Facebook Invite and sending out 1 message to everyone who they invited. It’s just not enough anymore, and this goes for any event where the audience is not built-in. The message here is that we all have to go the extra mile to get people to our events, and the more creative, the better.

In what creative ways has your band promoted your live shows on Facebook?

Posted by Dave Cool on 07/07/2011 | 14 comments

Comments

SheSaidSunday
Posted by SheSaidSunday on Jul 16 2011 7:30 AM
Oh, thank GOD for this message. As a Facebook user, I block anyone who sends me event invites without me requesting them, and I am adamant that we don't "mass invite" people to our shows. We have our schedule on our dot com page, and always send people there from our social networking sites. It's surprising how many people think that "mass invites" should be a standard practice, and the misconception that they actually work. In my opinion, the best way to get people to gigs is to talk to them personally. We started going up to random people at shows. Whether they were there to see us, or not, we said hello and chatted and said, "we hope to see you at the next show - check our website at SheSaidSunday.com for our next dates". And they do!
Mount Fabric
Posted by Mount Fabric on Jul 7 2011 12:52 PM
Not so much promoting a show, but after our last EP launch, we put up a photo taken from the night (with a big banner in the middle with our band name on it)and encouraged people to tag themselves if they attended in exchange for an exclusive free track. A fair few people tagged themselves, so the picture appeared in all of their friend's news feeds.
Mount Fabric
Posted by Mount Fabric on Jul 7 2011 1:00 PM
I would like to add to Dave's post, that we've actually had fans asking if there's an event for a gig we've announced. It may not be as effective a way of inviting people to your shows as it once was, but it is a way for fans to show their friends that they're going to your shows, and even invite others - "That gig I was talking to you about, here's the event..."
Kanerko
Posted by Kanerko on Jul 7 2011 2:37 PM
The "OTHER" inbox is not on any of my facebook accounts. I do have the "Updates" link though and I never check those.
jennifergrassman.com
Posted by jennifergrassman.com on Jul 7 2011 5:33 PM
The Event Pages work differently if you're using your "Page" to create them as opposed to a personal account. I can opt to "Update Fans Of Jennifer Grassman" which sends a message out to all my fans, and should be relayed to their email inbox too (depending on their settings. In addition, I can invite all the "Friends" on my personal page. I always, always, always "Add A Personal Message" which helps a lot. And then I post the event on my Profile and Page on a regular basis leading up to the event. By the time it's showtime, I'd say most of my fans / friends know all about it.
Dave Cool
Posted by Dave Cool on Jul 8 2011 5:09 PM
@MountFabric: Great idea! Anytime you can get fans involved and interacting with the band in some way, it's a very good thing. @Kanerko: My secondary inbox only changed from "Updates" to "Other" in the last few weeks, I think Facebook is gradually rolling out the new messaging system. @JenniferGrassman: Good to know, and sounds like you're going about it the right away and avoiding playing in empty rooms ;-) Thanks for the comments everyone! Cheers, DC
James Berkowitz
Posted by James Berkowitz on Jul 9 2011 2:19 AM
Perhaps a different Facebook format in Canada then USA. My personal account (other) inbox is listed in the upper left hand corner under messages which is displayed underneath when you click messages. However, when I'm invited to an event the message is also displayed under a banner titled (Upcoming Events) on the top right hand corner with a search bar underneath and underneath that the number of invitations and underneath that the current event that is happening. Under Friends on the top left hand corner there is subcategory Friends events which lists all events happening with your friends and when opened displays under the events category on the upper right corner. I like what Jennifer Grassman pointed out and her approach as I recently created a fan page but have not promoted any readings/performances via sending invites. However, any wall posts on fan pages also comes up on the personal account newsfeed too which can help immensely with keeping the message fresh to fans and friends. I definitely would not call Facebook events a waste of time but understand your personal sentiments and insight from your own experiences.
Black Crystal Wolf Kids
Posted by Black Crystal Wolf Kids on Jul 11 2011 9:36 PM
[quote="MountFabric"]Not so much promoting a show, but after our last EP launch, we put up a photo taken from the night (with a big banner in the middle with our band name on it)and encouraged people to tag themselves if they attended in exchange for an exclusive free track. A fair few people tagged themselves, so the picture appeared in all of their friend's news feeds.[/quote] We've been trying to do this at each show, but are hearing from people that they can't tag themselves in a band's photo. IS there a setting we're missing to get past this hurdle?
DeaonForever
Posted by DeaonForever on Jul 11 2011 11:24 PM
Thanks for taking the time to give tips. I will use the tip of sending everyone a personal message. Thanks
Corduroy Jim
Posted by Corduroy Jim on Jul 15 2011 12:58 AM
Thanks for sharing Dave....Ya, I have started to feel the same way about Facebook invites. I try to make time and invite people personally either with a FB message or text message. It's funny because I'm noticing that even from our website mailing list, only about 30% of our fans are even reading the email blast/updates. The thing with Facebook invites is all my friends always tell me to invite them on FB but many of them never even bother to RSVP and just like them, I wonder if it's from being overwhelmed with invites at this point. Anyways, I'm always looking for creative ways to reach fans and create new ones......Band Zoogle is an awesome platform for sharing ideas, so cheers! Marty San Jose, CA. [quote="DaveCool"] Stop Wasting Your Time with Facebook Events (Sending Messages through Facebook Event Invites is Now Essentially Useless) I have a confession to make: I stopped checking Facebook Event Invites late last year. It started feeling eerily like MySpace at its worst (and look where MySpace is now). I have an average of 80+ invites at any one time, and what made it even worse was the constant messages that were sent to everyone invited to the event, whether they had confirmed or not. So not only did I stop checking event invites, my Facebook inbox became such a mess that I stopped checking that too. That is until Facebook changed the way their messaging system worked. Your Facebook inbox is now an integration of SMS, chat, email or messages. But one of the biggest changes for bands is that now any messages sent through Event Invites no longer wind up in someone’s regular inbox, they now end up in the “Other” inbox. That’s right, the “Other” inbox where message updates from Facebook Fan Pages go. The “Other” Inbox How many people actually know that this secondary “Other” inbox exists? How many people know it exists and proactively check it to get those updates? I’m willing to bet, not very many. I actually knew it existed, but had totally forgotten about it, and now have 20 pages worth of unread messages from Facebook Pages. It’s like a junk mail folder that I never open. And now all of those messages from events I’m not attending are going to that inbox too, which is great news for me (and I might actually start using my Facebook inbox again), but it’s not very good news for people organizing events, specifically bands. What’s the solution? So what’s the solution? What should bands do now? Keep sending messages through event invites even though they are going to the “Other” inbox? While you can keep doing this if you want, here are a few other things you can spend time on that might give you better results and more attendance at your shows: 1. Stop blindly inviting everyone to shows I live in Montreal, but I can’t tell you how often I get invites for events that are happening in Toronto, New York, Boston, etc. Is there a chance I will be in that city for the show? Yes, in theory, but it’s really not worth the risk of being blacklisted. Blacklisted? Yes, you can actually ignore all invites from certain people if you want to. I do it all the time, and being invited to shows that are not happening in my home city is often the reason (especially getting invites to shows in each city of a band’s national tour). And if I do happen to be in that city for the show, I’ll find out when the person updates their fan page, sends out a message through their mailing list or tweets about it. But blindly inviting everyone in your Friend’s list is just not the way to go. 2. Be active on your Fan Page Be sure to post regular updates about your show on your Fan Page. Event details, updates about the line-up, links to blog posts & video blogs on your website previewing the show, pics from band rehearsals, etc. And why not use Facebook Questions to build your set list? Each day ask fans to choose their favorite songs and build your set list from those songs. And if there are opening bands, talk about them too! You can post info about the bands, their music, pics, videos, etc. If you regularly post creative updates leading up to the show, it will no doubt help create buzz/excitement about the event. 3. Send personal messages to people that you invite to events So the messages you send through the Event Invite itself are now going to the mysterious “Other” inbox? Well, why not take the time to send each person who you’ve invited a personal message inviting them? And I don’t mean copying and pasting the same message to each person. Yes, you can and should use some of the same elements, but take an extra few minutes and personalize the message to the individual. You can reference a recent conversation with them, tell them what’s going to be special/unique/fun about that night, basically, tell them why they should come out that night. Don’t be discouraged This post is certainly not meant to be discouraging, but more of a reality check for promoting shows on Facebook. I sat in many empty rooms during my 3 years as a venue booker in Montreal, and often the band’s idea of promoting the show was creating a Facebook Invite and sending out 1 message to everyone who they invited. It’s just not enough anymore, and this goes for any event where the audience is not built-in. The message here is that we all have to go the extra mile to get people to our events, and the more creative, the better. In what creative ways has your band promoted your live shows on Facebook? [/quote]:(:(
She Said Sunday
Posted by She Said Sunday on Jul 16 2011 7:30 AM
Oh, thank GOD for this message. As a Facebook user, I block anyone who sends me event invites without me requesting them, and I am adamant that we don't "mass invite" people to our shows. We have our schedule on our dot com page, and always send people there from our social networking sites. It's surprising how many people think that "mass invites" should be a standard practice, and the misconception that they actually work. In my opinion, the best way to get people to gigs is to talk to them personally. We started going up to random people at shows. Whether they were there to see us, or not, we said hello and chatted and said, "we hope to see you at the next show - check our website at SheSaidSunday.com for our next dates". And they do!
Alyssa Landry
Posted by Alyssa Landry on Jul 16 2011 6:03 PM
For the moment I don't have any events to promote, but just to give another point of view... I am an American living in France and working in musical theater. With the opening of my site a few months ago, I began blogging about French musical theater in English, something that no one else is doing for the moment. I check all of my event invitations about once a week to see whether there is anything I need to see and/or write about that week. It was especially useful this spring when there were multiple readings of new musicals every week for a couple of months. The events notifications really help me keep up with what is happening in the musical theater scene here, admittedly a specialized area! But as a result I write about some shows I might not know about otherwise. In the French Facebook, events go into their own special folder so I have to look for them actively, I'm not being inundated. I guess my point is, if it's not actually detrimental, why not keep doing it? You never know who might be looking. Or is this something that is more and more frowned upon in the US (which means it will be the case here in what, five years time...)?
I LIVE THE GOOD LIFE LLC.
Posted by I LIVE THE GOOD LIFE LLC. on Jul 27 2011 3:50 PM
Unlike you guys, I'm a promoter. I don't have a band, I'm not producing music, and I'm not a songwriter. My job is to promote all of you guys... So my job becomes a bit more difficult without the mass invites. I personally hate the Facebook Invites myself and really wish Facebook would just start charging people to create them [which I believe in term would eliminate all the foolery and leave the one's that are serious about it around] But with 5,000 FB friends, and depending on people to come to your events to get paid rather than depending on the "PROMOTER" or "Venue" to get paid it becomes very time consuming. We're in the days that everything has become totally outdated outside of viral information. So handbills just get tossed, and now even viral information is trashed. So being branded is the #1 thing that I depend on at this point. This way, I control the market rather than the market controlling me. However, it is very hard to try to create something new that isn't branded... [quote="AlyssaLandry"]I guess my point is, if it's not actually detrimental, why not keep doing it? You never know who might be looking. Or is this something that is more and more frowned upon in the US (which means it will be the case here in what, five years time...)?[/quote]
1zion1
Posted by 1zion1 on Aug 4 2011 7:19 PM
LOOK its realy simple if your a user who dosent do the invites then they sit in your in box untouched. if your looking for something to do then you look at them. its not hurting any one any way. and if you are going to block messages from a band then your not a fan anyway so.... also as marketing goes if your on face book and someone invites you to something it pops up and bam you just got impressed upon that builds name recognition. thats huge in marketing. honestly the guy who wrote this is just wasting all of our time.