Marketing for a Three Day Event- For the First Time
Youth for the Environment and Sustainability (YES) is the environmental and animals rights club on campus and I am the president, social media manager, and event coordinator for the group. This week put my skills to the test when two influential women graced our campus with their presence. Liz Marshall and Jo-Anne McArthur were doing a three-day-stay at UNC. They are, respectively, the director and subject of the film The Ghosts in Our Machine. I will write a blog post in the future highlighting more about the film, the women, and their social media presence and progress through the film and in their other ventures.
YES’s Plight to Grow Attendance
This is, however, about YES’s plight for stimulating attendance to an event that falls under the category of “animal rights.” When most people hear animal rights they imagine crazy barefoot-dreaded hippies throwing blood on strangers in fur coats. This scares most people. In all honesty, that scares me. Animal rights is more about bringing people together to raise the collective conscious about the fact that we take advantage and enslave animals for profit margins and fashion. Most of the time, this still scares people- which is a huge barrier.
This is a constant struggle for most nonprofits. People have closed their eyes in order to avoid seeing things they don’t want to. This was obvious when the first event of the week happened. Jo-Anne spoke on the work for her book, We Animals. The event had its own page on Facebook, all of the members of the club were aware of it and inviting friends, and we mass emailed a large amount of students hoping to inflate attendance! Fourteen people RSVP’d on Facebook, about fifteen people showed up. But, Wesley Faulkner said it best, “No event is ever really a failure unless you think it was.”
“No event is ever really a failure unless you think it was.” -Wesley Faulkner
The next event was the screening of the actual movie, The Ghosts in Our Machine. Same details roughly- Facebook, email, word of mouth. Attendance dropped to three people. I got a frantic email, riddled with worry that our big event on Thursday would be a flop. So we had less than twelve hours to change the course of the event.
We Hit the Streets!
- Leafleting and posting flyers EVERYWHERE
- Each member of YES stood up and made an announcement in their classes about the unique opportunity presented through this documentary. Even in classes such as finance and music theory.
Reaching out to a wider audience:
(Because ours was obviously not large enough)
- Posting the event directly on to UNC Confessions– a page where people divulge all through an anonymous outlet on Facebook.
- The event was solicited through the University electronic email.
- Each member of YES stood up and made an announcement in their classes about the screening.
Over 100 people attended the screening that evening!!!
I’m no expert, but I have come to realize that effective events pair well with time-efficient marketing and reaching out to larger crowds. Finding other social media outlets that are popular on the UNC campus is mandatory in reaching larger audiences in the future. We have a lot of work to go in the way we prepare for and market multi-day events, but for our first try YES seems to have done okay.