For many event organizers, growing attendance and reducing attendee churn are two key metrics that are tracked for every event. As part of their marketing budget, organizers are looking at different ways to create incentives to help find new and interested potential attendees that are not already in their marketing database and to incentivize returning attendees. With social media, the concept of “social invites” brings an innovative approach to the traditional referral model.
What is a social invite?
In short, a social invite is a powered-up referral link that leverages an attendee’s social contacts via messages and updates on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or another social network to create interest among an attendee’s contacts to buy tickets to events they are also attending. Event apps that have integrated social invites (like Presdo Match’s Social Invites) allow attendees to directly send and post invitations through the app.
Compared with traditional email marketing, communication via social networks has been shown to be significantly more effective because messages come from trusted contacts they know. With Presdo’s own data, social invites have resulted in 2.8 times more conversions to registrations than an email marketing campaign an organizer might run advertising their event. Organizers who successfully deploy social invites have a positive ROI with apps where the app more than pays for itself.
Attendees quickly select multiple people from their network of contacts to invite and customize a message to which to send to them. Resulting registrations are then tracked and reported to the organizer through the admin interface. When a social invite recipient decides to register, organizers can count this as extra revenue stream that otherwise wouldn’t have been had.
The concept of social invites is straightforward, but there are ways it can be set up to work effectively. We’ve compiled a few tips:
Leverage your sponsors and speakers to do the inviting:
Even though all of your participants can participate in social invites, the sponsors and speakers involved with your event have the greatest motivation to get their contacts involved with your event, whether it’s more face-time with their customers or partners or boosting engagement with their “fan club”. Highlight the use of social invites with these specific groups. Join forces with sponsors to find potential new attendees that would be interested in attending the event and providing greater opportunities for face-to-face interaction. Work with speakers to increase the audience that they’ll get to present to.
Provide an incentive for prospective attendees registering:
The old referral system often used personalized discount codes to make sure that referrers such as sponsors or exhibitors were being properly credited — there’s no reason to abandon that model in regards to social invites. Use a discount on the registration or hotel fee to help make the investment more enticing to new attendees. Not only does this help them feel like they’re getting a deal, it can even push them to invite further people from their network to register. Some apps allow you to embed the incentive directly into referral messages so attendees don’t have to be burdened about the details; plus, you can update the incentive as time goes on!
Gamify the process by offering prizes for the top successful referrers:
Challenge your audience to spread the word about your event and allow them to benefit. Event apps with social invites have built-in tracking to see who’s doing the most work towards finding the right people to invite and even who has purchased a ticket as a result. Make it an interesting by offering one or more rewards — whether it’s discounts, a special event, or a shiny gadget.
Pre-fill referrals for invitees with content advocating the event’s key features:
Lastly, make it as simple as possible for the attendees to send out their invites on your behalf. In the bigger picture, the time you spend on efforts like pre-written messages for referrers can pay off if it increases the number of invites and registrations that are created by attendees. That’s marketing dollars that don’t come out of your pocket and you can focus your time and resources on the live event experience.
Social invites are an evolution of the tried and true for event organizers. Going beyond the first generation of event apps, social invites provide a way for organizers to hit on one of the most important components of their events — boosting ticket sales and generating more revenue. Social invite technologies are able to reduce the effort needed by using the trust and personalization that comes from today’s social networks, instead of anonymous emails or the referral code. We’ve listed some popular approaches from organizers of Presdo Match — let us know what else you’re doing to boost ticket sales!