There has been a change in the way we socialize in the last three years, and it comes with a change in the way we view 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 fragmented.
Facebook event invites, once the most reliable way to make sure enough or too many people show up for a raging event, don’t work if you’re inviting people who no longer check Facebook. According to eMarketer, the number of Facebook users under the age of 24 has been steadily declining since 2015.
Facebook ditches friends and family to compete with TikTok
Evita has been around for 24 years and is still an option for anyone who wants to send an invitation via email, but can get caught in spam filters or not read by people who don’t use email for personal correspondence. Third-party tools can also inadvertently spawn your friends.
It’s not just our preferred technology that has changed. Even when someone sees an invitation to your end-of-summer dance party, they may consider things like Covid risks and their own mental health before saying yes.
“People take longer to decide whether to attend an event,” says Matt Haze Kaftor, a San Francisco-based event producer and owner of party planning company More SF. “A lot of people who may have attended an event in the past are considering more time and declining more often.”
One solution, Kaftor says, is to meet people in the apps where they already are, then regularly monitor multiple services that match their usual communication patterns. For example, let’s say you’re having your family over for a Halloween brunch and you need to communicate with younger cousins and older aunts. Text messages will get through to kids, but emails or even a phone call may be better 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 discuss your invitation options.
But first, a privacy alert: There is a privacy risk with any third-party invitation option. Invitation apps, especially the free ones, are interested in your personal data and especially in 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 appsNotes: Paperless Post, Punchbowl, and Evita all have templates for digital invitations that you can send via email, and have added the ability to invite people via text in recent years. Hobnob is another newer option that was designed to be text first. Keep in mind that Gen Z is less likely to use email to communicate with friends than previous generations, and email clients are sometimes too eager to toss these emails into the spam folder.
A calendar invite: By far the most aggressive way to tell someone you’re having a party, sending them a calendar invite is pretty effective too. It will automatically appear on their calendar and they will be asked to RSVP, just like at work. (This may upset friends who would rather not treat your pedicure invite as a Zoom with their manager.)
facebook event: If you’re inviting people you know are active on Facebook, there are benefits to a Facebook event. The company will remind guests to RSVP or that the event is approaching on their behalf. However, don’t rely on your Facebook friends list when thinking about who to invite. Several people have abandoned their accounts in recent years and could be left out.
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, some art, and even a request to DM your RSVP.
event apps: If you’re hosting a larger 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 not to end up with a viral party that gets shut down by the police.
DIY: To avoid privacy traps and spam from third-party apps, communicate the old-fashioned way: with emoji. For an intimate event, you can start a group chat, or simply copy and paste the written invitation and text it to everyone on your list. Double your reach via DM, email, or anywhere else your potential guests regularly communicate. If you want to design something to text, try using a tool like Canva to create something (or my personal favorite free drawing in the Apple Notes app).