How to make sure people see your digital party invitation


It’s a textbook anxiety dream. You organize a birthday party, but nobody shows up. It’s just you all alone in your living room next to unopened champagne bottles and a Fudgie the Whale fondant ice cream cake.

Are you friendless or have you just sent a Facebook invite to people who never check Facebook? Does everyone secretly hate you or was it an Evite who went straight to spam? Do people in your life have better things to do, or have you tried emailing a group of Gen Z, perhaps group text boomer?

There has been a shift in the way we socialize over the past three years, and it has come with a shift in the way we see or send invitations online. In the past there were clear and dominant ways to invite people to your donut-themed baby shower, but the ways we communicate have become fragmented.

Facebook event invitations, once the most reliable way to make sure enough or too many people turn up for a rage, doesn’t work if you invite people who no longer control Facebook. According to eMarketer, the number of Facebook users under 24 has been steadily declining since 2015.

Facebook abandons friends and family to compete with TikTok

Evite has been around for 24 years and is still a go-to for anyone who wants to send an email invitation, but it can be caught by spam filters or not read by people who don’t use email for personal correspondence. Third party tools can also unknowingly generate spam for your friends.

It’s not just our favorite technology that has changed. Even when someone sees an invitation to your late summer prom party, they might consider things like covid risks and their own mental health before saying yes.

“People are taking longer to decide whether to attend an event,” says Matt Haze Kaftor, an event producer in San Francisco and owner of the party planning company More SF. “Many people who may have attended any event in the past are considering longer and declining more frequently.”

One solution, says Kaftor, is to meet people on apps they’re already in, then regularly follow multiple services that match their normal communication patterns. For example, suppose you invite your family to a Halloween brunch and need to reach out to younger cousins ​​and older aunts. Text messages will reach children, but emails or even a phone call might be best for older relatives. Be sure to send reminders in the weeks leading up to the party and one in the morning for your forgetful or last-minute friends.

Let’s go through your invitation options.

But first, a privacy notice: There is a privacy risk with any third party invitation option. Invitation apps, especially free ones, are interested in your personal data and especially the contact information of your friends. If possible, manually enter contact information for the people you’re inviting and don’t allow apps to access your entire contact list.

Many apps use your personal contacts. Few will tell you what they do with them.

Invite template app: Paperless Post, Punchbowl, and Evite all have digital invitation templates that you can send via email, and in recent years they’ve added the ability to invite people via SMS. Hobnob is another newer option designed to be before text. Keep in mind that Generation Z is less likely to use email for friend-to-friend communication than previous generations, and that email clients are sometimes too eager to throw these emails in the Spam folder.

A calendar invitation: By far the most aggressive way to tell someone you’re throwing a party, sending them a calendar invite is also quite effective. It will automatically appear on their calendar and will be sent to RSVP, just like at work. (This might annoy friends who would rather not treat your pedicure invitation like a Zoom with their manager.)

Facebook event: If you are inviting people you know are active on Facebook, a Facebook event has advantages. The company will remind guests of RSVP or that the event is coming on your behalf. However, don’t rely on your Facebook friends list when thinking about who to invite. A number of people have abandoned their accounts in the past few years and may be banned.

Instagram post: For larger events, Instagram Stories have become an option to reach followers where they are. You can post a story with the time and date, a small graphic, and even a request to DM their RSVP.

Event app: If you’re planning a bigger event, tools like Eventbright and Secret Party can help you reach the right people. When you want to maximize the number of attendees, posting event details on social media is a must. Just be careful you don’t end up with a viral party that gets shut down by the police.

DO-IT-YOURSELF: To avoid the privacy and spam pitfalls of third-party apps, just approach the old way: with emojis. For an intimate event you can start a group chat or just copy and paste the invitation you typed and send it via SMS to all members of your list. Duplicate your outreach to DM, email, or any other place your potential guests usually communicate. If you want to design something over text, try using a tool like Canva to create something (or my favorite free design in the Apple Notes app).

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