5 WRONG ways to do online event promotion

As more people hop on the social media bandwagon, more of them are promoting their events online. In theory, that's great news. In execution? Well. some of the results are downright disappointing. Take these two invites below, for example.

First, I share with you a tweet I just received about a networking event. At first when I read "I enjoy following you and I hope to see you...", I thought it was so nice for this guy to send me this sweet invitation. Unfortunately, I didn't recognize his name so I went to look at his Twitter page. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that exact same tweet sent to several dozen people:

Perhaps this will be a wonderful event. And, I'm sure the organizer is a nice guy. However, I simply don't respond to templated, spammy tweets like this. Invite me or don't, but I'm not going to respond to a generic tweet that someone copies and pastes to lots of other folks. Tweeting the same thing over and over again is, by definition, s-p-a-m.

My second example today is an invitation I received to join a group called Blacks in Tech. Now, I'm sure this is a great group. Unfortunately, I'm lacking the major criteria to be a member.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm sure if I went to a Blacks in Tech event, I have no doubt they'd welcome me. However, it's not called People in Technology; it's called Blacks in Technology. I'm not black and, therefore, probably not their targeted demographic.

So, at last, here are five things you can do to incorrectly promote your events. Tip: You can just do the opposite of what's here and this magically becomes a piece on how to promote events correctly! Ta da!
  1. Blanket the world with your event or group invitations. Who cares if 99% of the people aren't going to be interested? Targeting your efforts is unnecessary.
  2. Make people feel unimportant! No one likes to feel special, so be sure to be generic as possible when you invite them.
  3. Promote your event on only one social media platform. Forget all the people who coordinate their plans on other social media sites. If they're not on the one you've chosen to promote your event, forget 'em!
  4. Don't provide details that make attending the event easy for your guests. Forget including information like parking options and prices, a Google map, or contact info for questions. If they can't get to your event regardless of the obstacles, who needs them!
  5. Stalk strangers. People you don't know will love to receive multiple invitations to your event. If they haven't responded the first three times, send them the same invitation a fourth time. People like that.
Alright, am I being snarky? Yeah. But my point is no less valid.

Putting on a great event is important, but getting the right people there is just as crucial to your success. If you're sponsoring an event in Los Angeles, don't send a Facebook Events invite to your 1,500 friends when 1,485 of them don't live in California.  If you want to tweet people about your event, do so in a sincere way. No one responds to things that feel automated.

What do you see being done right and wrong when it comes to online event promotion? What do you respond to and what alienates you? Got tips on how to promote an event? Let's hear it!


  1. I am cracking up laughing right now. The California 1485/1500 example has me in tears. Great post. I think most people simply do not know how to advertise an event so they do anything and everything.

    It's tricky to know what to do to advertise so the learning process has to continue to do so. For example I am still learning how to advertise an eBook but I find something so niche based to be rather tricky.

    Good post, lots to think about here for everyone who uses social media.

  2. You're so right, Trudy! I agree. I think people just blast out their stuff anywhere and to anyone to say, "Hey, look at me promote!". Targeting your efforts is time-consuming and I think sometimes people just get lazy. Send it to 1,000 random people and 20 are bound to show up, right? Bleck.

    Niche stuff is definitely harder. Just try to develop a subgroup within your network. People who are truly interested in that specific target. The audience won't be as big, but they'll be open and engaged. And, really, that's what it's all about anyway, right?

    Thanks so much for chiming in, Trudy! Loved hearing your thoughts!

  3. I think I am going to forward this post to all the "Nurturing Mother" events that get DM'd to me. Good stuff!

  4. YES! That's another GREAT example of what I'm talking about! What total nonsense, right?

    Thanks for chiming in, Nicholas. And good luck with the mother thing ;-)

  5. Hi Amber-

    The list is hilarious! You know what scares me though? Somebody is going to read that list out of context and think it is advice about what to do ;)

    Naturally I respond to invitations to events in my local area and ignore those out of area. The exception would be a conference I chose to attend out of town--key words--chose to attend!

    The quickest way to alienate me is #4 on the list. If I have never been to the location and am not sure where to park or if I can't find out easily I may not go.

  6. It's amazing how many event organizers miss the boat on that most basic element, isn't it? In LA, everyone drives and parking is frequently in short supply or very expensive. It's amazing to me how many people don't include parking info. And, how many don't include a contact of any sort for whatever question someone may have. How easy is that to do?

    I mean, I think those packages of Hallmark invitations for children's birthday parties frequently have more details.

    Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion, Katie!

  7. You're welcome Amber always a pleasure.

    Funny analogy about the Hallmark invitations, it's true.

    Although I have never been to LA I have heard that parking is in short supply. In the Detroit area it depends on the location some places are better than others.

    I think part of the problem is event organizers sometimes assume people are familiar with the venue and in turn parking information is not necessary. Not always so!

  8. I think you're right, Katie. Organizers assume or, worse yet, it never occurs to them to think about it in the first place.

    Make things easy for people and you've increased your chances of success right off the bat. How hard is that, right?

  9. Great article. good tips that how to promote the business. i will certainly use these tips for my business.
    New thing that i got from here is how to target your place by just using twitter so that's amazing.

  10. Yay! Glad you got something worthwhile from the post!

    Good luck implementing the ideas ;-)


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