Are Facebook Invites Dead?

Okay, so I consider myself to be a social media enthusiast. I love it, I love talking about it, and learning new things.

So it hurts me to say this, but I am afraid that the Facebook invitation may be dead.

Here’s the thing: I get tons and tons of invitations. I have over 700 friends, and I like 250+ pages. All of that adds up to many, many events that I get “invited” to. And I’m really terrible at going through them and responding. It’s just a time thing–it’s a pretty low priority in my world, especially seeing as my theatre viewing is mostly limited to shows I am doing publicity for.

There’s one more thing: I have had producers in the past have hundreds of people RSVP “yes” to their Facebook invites and then be dismayed when less than half of them actually showed up at the box office.

Facebook invites, it goes without saying, are a bit lame. Because it’s easy to check the yes box when you don’t have to fork over any cash.

In my experience, only about 40% of the yesses on your RSVP list will actually translate into sales.

Applications to sell tickets directly through Facebook are currently happening, although these are not yet accessible to the little folks (read: us) just yet.

What do you think? Is the FB invite dead?

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 15

  1. They are definitely, in a recent post show survey we sent out to some of our patrons we asked the simple question ‘What marketing and promotional tool are we not currently using that we should be?’. 91% replied that we should use facebook, even though we do use facebook in a number of different ways, but when asked if they would like to hear about up coming events and specials via facebook 70% of those respondents said ‘no’. In my experience people potential patrons/clients respond MUCH better to facebook ads than invites.

  2. I think they’re dead for those of us in the industry, but for people who use Facebook as a way to communicate with friends it’s still useful, mainly because they’re not being inundated with invites. I still find them useful to find out when things are happening and on occasion I check to see what’s happening on a particular day when I have time free. Yes, they’re not accurate in any way to determine how many people are coming but confirmations can let you know how well you’re doing in getting the word out.

  3. I think yes.
    things that don’t help include the way Facebook changed the layout for invitations, requiring more clicks to see who invited you. I’ve auto-clicked no to invites where all I saw was “My 40th birthday”, only to discover it was a dear friend. Oops.

    Everyone invites everyone to everything via Facebook invite. People have gotten savvy about sending reminders “I see you’ve said you’re maybe coming to my event” “I see you’ve said no to my event”. And the events stay in your list to the point where you can’t see important things.

    Most valuable thing FB has created is the “remove from my events” choice.

    They’re ubiquitous. It’s also that people will invite ALL of their “friends” to “everything”. If you’re my friend in Vancouver, I’m not inviting you to my event in Toronto. Some people do.

    I could go on – but I won’t. In short – no. I don’t use FB invites any more for anything important. What was once personal has now become a marketing mechanism.

  4. The trend I’m seeing more and more is to create the “event” for the show, but instead of sending out invites, just sharing the event on the Theater’s page, or on individual walls, usually multiple times.

    I’d rather see multiple wall posts such as that than get an invite. With an invite, if I can’t attend, I feel compelled to write on the event’s wall and explain why. And if I have no interest in attending, I wind up hitting ‘maybe’, as to not be rude, knowing I won’t go. (‘Maybe’ really is the new ‘no’.)

  5. I’ll agree that FB has become entirely more of a marketing tool than a social tool in many ways. That said, it is easy to ignore the invites one does not wish and to look at the invites one finds interesting. Personal invites: those who reply yes are the ones who show. Work-related invites: No? Some feel that by clicking yes, they are supporting a particular business. That’s ok with us. We use the invites as simply another way to let our followers know of upcoming productions. We do not really expect anything more out of it. Simply another way to say, hey, we’re still out here. Come see what we’ve got going on!

    Agree with Sue regarding those who invite everyone to everything. Entirely overdone. And useless. Spam of another sort?

  6. Rebecca, I hear where you are coming from, but I think you’re in danger of generalizing from your own experience. What I learn from this is to find another way than FB to invite arts marketers or arts professionals. However, it is probably safe to say that most of our audiences are not arts marketing professionals with a specialization in social media getting inundated with invitations to every tangentially related event in the city.

  7. I think Facebook Invites could be dead if not used more wisely. I always have a huge list of invites to random events waiting for me to reply to and it just becomes noise. When the Edmonton Fringe comes around, I click ‘Maybe’ by default on every single one because to actively think about and schedule dozens of shows is not an exercise I plan to do on Facebook, especially when it still doesn’t support an event set-up to match a run of a show (i.e. multiple times one can choose to RSVP to within a single event).

    It is another way of people seeing the name of your show, if even for a second before they hit ‘Maybe’ and can be useful in that sense. If you’re using it to gauge attendance, however, it’s an exercise in futility.

    As a note, all of the above applies to events put out by organizations. I still feel Facebook Invites have a life when it comes to personal invites between friends and acquaintances.

  8. Facebook invites are not dead, but you are if you think they will sell your show. The key is follow up, in non facebook form. Many is the time I have checked my fb invite for a showtime or address, but only because I have been followed up on by the show, be it in the form of posters, in person invite, reviews etc. The fb invite is important and useful if it isn’t relied upon as the key sales tool, because that isn’t what fb is for (as has be touch on in other posts.) I think this goes for all invites, not just buisiness based ones. I’ve missed many parties because I don’t actually think about the fb invites. Just maybe them if I cant immediately decide. The follow up, personal reminders are so important. What’s that rule of advertising? 5 impressions to make a sale?

  9. I agree with post #9. They’re dead for people “in the know” about local theatre and what’s going on. I don’t need an invite to a show I’m already going to see… but in terms of cast members friends & family – it’s far easier to advertise the show to them on Facebook as opposed to e-mailing them (who really uses e-mail to keep in touch anymore?) I would say in a cast of 24 there might be 2 or 3 who don’t have Facebook and ask for an e-mailed copy of our invite, which I’m happy to provide.

    There are certain times of the year (see: fringe festival) where I get overloaded with event invites to theatre; however I’m more likely to get frustrated and fatigued with invites from DJ friends (come hear me spin!) or contests (win a free ipad!) than I am from theatre invites.

  10. I use event listings for reference but often ignore then on my own page – that being said I’ve recently created an event page for my short film screening. I tried to keep it minimal so that people who ‘do’ visit http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=150470288318288&ref=ts#!/event.php?eid=150470288318288&ref=ts

    But for the people that I ‘really’ care about, well they are getting personal e-mails with the event link at the bottom for easy reference.

  11. THanks for all of your comments. When I wrote this post, I had no idea that it would get this kind of reaction!
    So, it seems like most people use FB invites, and even through we all don’t really believe that they work, we’re still using them until a better system comes along.
    Now if I could just invent that…

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