How to Pack a New Event

Cathy Tibbles DancingLast night I went dancing.  It was only the second event at a new venue. I knew about it because a dancing friend from another venue invited me on Facebook. The Facebook group had a few people I knew and a few that I did not. For the first event, the attendance hovered around 20 people. Or so I heard. This time there were over 60!

There were no celebrities; there was no live band or entertainment; there were no gimmicks (do cookies count?); cover charge was on par with other events in the area. Usually this would result in a small gathering of personally-invited friends – 50% of whom would show up. They would dance a couple hours, and go home disappointed that the other 50% couldn’t be bothered.

To get from a fledgling no-one’s-heard-of-us event to a packed one, the organizers had to do a lot of things right:

  1. Pre-decision making: many people were invited to offer advice and opinions on days, times, venues, etc
  2. Varied network: the organizers belong to more than one group: they come from different parts of the cities, dance socially in different venues and are passionate about slightly different but related dance styles
  3. Pre-launch anticipation: the buzz was all over the local Facebook dance communities. The first week, I noticed that it was mostly the organizers creating the buzz. And a few passionate dancers who were so happy to see this new style/genre being actively supported. Did they show up the first week? A few.
  4. Initial Launch Review: the photos were up after the first week. Authentic and real comments were in various communities. “It was an awesome event – can’t wait to see more of you next time!!”  No guilt tripping!! Lots of positive interaction.
  5. Pre- Second Event: the buzz was building again. This time I noticed one organizer in particular. Miya. She left comments the day before in anticipation. She couldn’t sleep the night before. She worked like a dog the day of, with a goal of making it on time to the big event. It became momentous and her passion just overflowed. It wasn’t cheesy or forced in any way.
  6. Second Event: When I saw Miya last night, I heard all about it again. She seriously was having difficulty sleeping in anticipation of the evening. How can enthusiasm like that not be contagious? The room was prepared, the instructors and hosts were there and ready, the front desk was ready, the event started on time. The music was great!
  7. This morning – I can’t wait to see the comments on Facebook. All of us were shocked at the turn out last night. And we want MORE!

Of all those things that went right, one thing stands out in my mind – Miya. When you have enthusiastic and personable people on your social media it can make a world of difference. How do you do social media? Do you have the courage to let your personality shine through? Or are you boring?

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