We were aiming for 30 people. We got eleven to show up at the recycling center on a Saturday morning last week. Why? In a college community, how hard could it be get people to show up for a fun morning video shoot when people have no class and little homework? Well, hard. And yet the expectation was that I could assemble the masses using social networks: facebook, twitter, middblog, maybe even an email…
But I knew it would be a hard sell. I didn’t have an established online connection with my audience. Sure, I could rope a few close friends into it but a facebook event invite won’t be enough to convince most people to participate. Asking for three hours of people’s time is a lot. And the event, no matter how fun, had no base of people invested in the longer term beyond a single project. This is similar to how many PR schemes fail.
Takeaway: establish online connections around a focused topic. The stronger the audience’s online connection, the more likely you can get them to do something offline.
Here’s what we ended up producing with the eleven people: