So last night I threw a party at this great little spot in Soho called Gallery Bar. I haven’t thrown a ‘proper’ party for years, and just decided one day, that I wanted to. So, being a digital person, I determined that the best way to create the event was to only use viral tools to promote the party. I wanted to see if I could get people to come out to an event ONLY using viral methods (email, text, social network sites, blogs, etc.).
The first thing I did was hit up a few folks via IM, using IMO. I got my boys Ben Tannenbaum and Richard Burroughs, and my brother, to all agree to promote the party through their networks. From there, I sent a text on my iPhone to my boy Phil Graci, with TriAgency, to shoot me over some logos for the e-flyer that Ben and I were creating.
Richard hit up a bunch of his contacts with clubs in the city to find one suitable for our event, by IMing, texting and placing calls to folks until we landed at Gallery Bar (big ups to Darren and his crew!) We put our e-flyers on a few select online party destinations, such as Fusicology, Yelp, Metromix, Going, and had over 25 RSVPs within a few moments of those postings.
Ben set up a Facebook event called ReFLIX, and invited all of our friends to join the group. We then created the ReFLIX event within Facebook, as well, and once again, invited people to attend. In total, we sent out invitations to about 300 people, and reminders and alerts thereafter.
One of the options we offered, was the ability to RSVP via text, by simply texting in the word RSVP to our short code. They received a confirmation message, and another alert on the day of the event, which included directions to the venue. Of course, people were also able to RSVP via email, but we expressly didn’t let people call to RSVP.
We had a running ticker counting down to the event, presented as status updates on our respective FB or Twitter pages. Each day, we put up a new flyer, comment or picture on the event page, and kept people informed of new sponsors, films or items of note.
Despite the fact that it was a cold Wednesday (humpday, boo!), by 9:30 p.m., the place was packed. We hit a technical glitch or two, which I exascerbated with my lateness (note to self: never show up late to a party you’re hosting if an element of the party has to be in place before you arrive). But all-in-all, it was a nice party.
What made it especially unique was that there was not one paper flyer, no mass street team campaign, no crazy phone calls. Facebook, texting and a few emails were all it took to put about 100 people in the spot. The night ended well before the scheduled time, but I had proven my point: virtual promotions work.
In hindsight, it would have served me well not to neglect traditonal methods, like word-of-mouth, because I forgot to invite most of my friends, who (for privacy reasons) remain off the Facebook grid. I just assumed that everyone uses Facebook, the way I do, and took the simplest and most effective form of communication for granted.
My advice to anyone interested in promoting an event, small or large, make sure you tap into the resources available to you right at your fingertips (oh, and make sure you call your friends!).