What Force Facebook?
Our Facebook invite for Jacob's House was created this weekend - should you care to kindly signal your attendance there, do so by clicking here.
But as with our post last week on the ROI of postcards, I'm interested in looking at the costs and benefits of each aspect of our marketing/audience engagement.
While a Facebook invite doesn't cost anything other than the time to make and send it, it can suffer from and contribute to Facebook Fatigue. Additionally, the categories of Attending, Maybe Attending, Not Attending, and Awaiting Reply might be better described as In The Show/Maybe Attending, Probably Not Attending But Feel Guilty About It, I Live In Australia So Why Did I Get This Invite, and I Delete Every Email From You Oh Inbox Marauding Bastard; in that translated order.
What role do Facebook invites play in your decision making process? For me, I most often use them as signaling Yes on a show I've already decided to see. Additionally, I search for the Facebook invite when I'm looking to find info on the show quickly. Finally, when I see friends of mine going to see a show in my News Feed, it serves as a non-invasive reminder.
This is where I expect a Facebook invite does the most good - not as a first persuader, but as non-invasive reminder. To that end, for The Lesser Seductions of History, we asked silly questions about the 60's with a link to the invite. It was a way of engaging online in a fun, creative way that was connected to our full production, without that sweaty palmed desperation that sometimes accompanies reposted invites.
Did it make a difference in sales? That's hard to track. But the answers people came up with to those questions were a lot of fun, which may be reason enough to continue the practice with Jacob's House.
WNEP Founding Director Don Hall strikes at the heart of these questions with an informal poll he conducted in Chicago in his recent post, Vox Populi 1. The summary: Your Marketing Doesn't Matter. None of the random folks he interviewed at the gym and on the street listed Facebook or postcards as a reason they decided to see a play.
And on the other hand (or on a different finger of the same hand), Flux's Fanpage has 1,212 peeps. Jacob's House has 15 performances in a 62 seat house. At 930 total seats for the run, Flux already knows enough people to sell every single seat and them some. So the questions isn't just how do we reach those folks in Don Hall's poll who don't see theatre and don't care about postcards; the question is how do we convince those who do see theatre and care about Flux to take that next step, carve out a night of their (your) busy schedule, and see our show.
I saw Glee Club because I was long overdue to see a play of Matt Freeman's (and because I love the work of Matthew Trumbull and Steve Burns); I'll be seeing Erin Browne's Trying because Flux developed it (and I know how good it is); I'll be seeing The Tender Mercies because the director (Jessi Hill), one of the actors (Gregory Waller), and the set designer (James Hunting) are artists I've worked with and admired; I'm hoping to see The Aliens by Annie Baker because Circle Mirror Transformation was so good. Facebook didn't make any of that happen...but I did click "Attending" on 3 of those 4 Events...
What do you think? Is it Facebook fatigue or helpful reminder?