When Social Media Marketing No Longer Works

This Blog entry will be about a social media pet peeve of mine that has to do with Facebook, “Like”ing and Events.

I am a firm believer in social media marketing. I think it has brilliant potential to reach audiences and connect people. That being said social media marketing only works as long as you are not annoying your audience.

This Blog post will look at something that the John Labatt Centre (and other venues) does in its social media marketing that bothers me. Now let me preface this by saying I love the John Labatt Centre (JLC) and applaud them for embracing social media in their marketing efforts. I have on numerous occasions purchased tickets and attended events at the John Labatt Centre.

I follow the JLC on Twitter and it’s great. I find out about events and concerts and get to offer suggestions when they ask the twittersphere who they should bring to the JLC next. So I have really have no issue with the JLC on twitter.

I “Like” the JLC on Facebook. In a number of ways I’m fine with how the JLC uses their fan page, but there is one aspect of their Facebook marketing that irks me. It’s their use of Events.

Every time that the JLC announces an event (often several at one time) they create an event page for the event and send an event invite to every person who likes their page. I’ve heard that FM96 is guilty of this too, along with other venues, groups and organizations in other locations.

I get the purpose of setting up an “Event Page” for a concert or event happening at the JLC and I don’t have a problem with that. Setting up an event allows people to RSVP and connect with other people attending the event. It allows the JLC to make announcements and updates for the event and from an evaluations standpoint the Facebook Event Page allows the JLC to do a quick analysis of the event attendance: who is attending, male, female, age group, who is interested, who isn’t interested. This information helps them to potentially streamline their other marketing efforts for that event to maximize exposure to the appropriate demographic.

My problem is that the JLC is sending out event invites for (seemingly) every single event. The JLC announces an event, or announces several events and I have little red notification flags and a scrolling list of events running down the right hand side of my Facebook Homepage. I think “Yay I have a message”, or that a friend has invited me to a party and most of the times it is just another JLC announcement that, as of late, means very little to me.

I “Like” the JLC page, so that I get all of their updates. When they announce a show through a wall post on their page, it shows up in my feed. When the JLC shares something it shows up in my feed. If it’s in my feed I can read it (and click on a link) if I want to or  simply scroll past it if I’m not interested. If it’s an event invite I have to clear the notification and RSVP to the event and it’s still in my list of events even after I RSVP “Not Attending”.

Now it’s been a while since I’ve created an event (and maybe this isn’t the case anymore), but I’m pretty sure there is a “Share” Button on the event page, so if the JLC creates an event and clicks “share” that story will then appear in the home feeds of all of the people who “Like” the JLC (providing stories haven’t been filtered by users). It simply appears in the feed, there is no notification, there is no event appearing in the event panel of my homepage, and there is no need for me to RSVP to it if I’m not interested. (If this isn’t an option, my apologies, but I still find these event invites a bit annoying.)

I have no issue with being invited to things by my friends, but being ‘blanket’ invited to absolutely everything a venue or radio station hosts annoys me. My friends are at least inviting me to things they think I will be interested in attending. An organization doing these mass invites though are inviting me because they’re trying to fill the seats and make money not because it is something I will likely be interested in. These mass invites are somewhat off-putting to me and they make my mouse wander towards the “unlike” option on a page.

The JLC hosts a lot of events throughout the year, several events each month typically. Smaller organizations that run a couple of events a year can probably get away with sending out event invites. A large venue such as the JLC that has numerous events annually (attracting diverse and differing groups),  will end up annoying its audience with these never-ending event invites.

The worst part is that it is a catch-22. I want to “Like” the JLC so that I can find out about events, see announcements and interact with other people who attend events, but I don’t want the notifications and event invites every time there is a new event. It makes me want to “Unlike” the JLC and simply rely on the twitter updates (that often get buried in my feed).

Like I said though, I love the JLC, it is a great venue that has brought in some great acts. I have great respect for their marketing department as well, they do a lot of great work, it is just this one little thing that bothers me. The JLC by no means is the only “Page” guilty of doing this, I’ve had friends complain of the same thing from their favourite radio stations or venues in their area.

Social Media is a great communications tool, but it no longer works (or isn’t as effective) if you’re annoying your audience.

2 responses to “When Social Media Marketing No Longer Works

  1. Pingback: When Social Media No Longer Works Pt 2. | Thinking Outloud

  2. Great conversation on twitter tonight with the Director of Marketing at the JLC Chris Campbell.

    I wanted to add that I think the JLC does a great job with their marketing, especially in social media, they really seem to understand social media and the notion of engagement and community building. (This is probably why they’ve had my resume cross their desk more than once in the last 3 years).

    By no means is the JLC the only organization that creates events and send invites to them, there are many others that do, the JLC just happened to be my best local example.

    Also I’d like to note that apparently some of the older invites I had came from a JLC group that I was previously part of. (I went back and examined).

    Finally, I love the JLC, I love going to concerts and events there. I have huge respect for the work their marketing and communications department does and I hope they keep up the good work.

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