Once you’ve decided to start running a local group and you’ve found a venue and set a date, you just need to get some people to come! Below is a list of ways to promote your events.
Bi Community News Magazine:
You can get your group added to the listings in the back. The editor can also put leaflets for your group in the magazines of subscribers who live in your catchment area. You could also write a short article about your new group for the magazine itself.
Search for groups about bisexuality and post links to your group and events. Create your own group and Facebook page. Ask people to like and share content. Find other bi groups around the world and follow, like, share and interact with
Follow other people and organisations tweeting about bisexuality and LGBT things. Every week or two post the date, time and location of your event. State who can come and what it is. E.g pub social, discussion, meal out…
This is essentially a kinky version of FaceBook. It works in the same way. Some bisexuals are into BDSM, and they feel welcome on the kink scene but avoid going to LGbt events because of biphobia or feeling like they don’t fit in at gay and lesbian majority spaces. Setting up a group and creating an event listing on FetLife is a great way to reach these people. Make sure you state that your group is a kink friendly but ‘vanilla’ one though! In my event listings I ask people not to talk about anything BDSM related unless they know anyone who can hear is ok to talk about it/hear it being discussed. I also state the dress code is normal every day clothing and that as the meet up is in a pub, we don’t have the venue to ourselves.
Social Media Tips
Don’t just post the basic info about the group and its events. Find and post cool links, photos, interesting articles, news etc. Give people a reason to like and share. All these things encourages them to comment and will keep them coming back to look at your stuff.
If you can be arsed you can also learn about the best time to post. For example on Twitter more people will see your content and interact with you from 5pm. So you can post around that time or write your tweets when you have time and schedule them through software like Hootsuite.
LGbt centres within a 1-2 hour travel time radius from your location.
For example I emailed centres in Derby, Lincoln and Leicester to advertise. Lincoln and Leicester ignored me…but it was worth a try! Derbyshire Friend we happy for me to post about my event on their website.
At the time of writing none of these areas have a bi group and the centres all neglect bisexual people’s needs so if people can travel, they’ll come from far and wide!
Other places to advertise:
*Stonewall local listings
*Local council listings (I just filled in an online form on the Notts County Council website and it went straight up. However I still can’t get them to change the out of date information, so make sure what you put up won’t change any time soon!)
*Gaydio national listings
*University LGBT Societies
Again these are typically places where bisexual people face biphobia or self exclude because they don’t feel welcome or don’t fit in. Larger universities will have groups with hundreds of members. See if you can contact the group leaders and ask them to post info and put leaflets up on campus.
*Local magazines, especially if there are any LGBT ones.
*Anywhere you can put leaflets!
Libraries, doctors surgeries, LGBT friendly cafes…
I go round the stalls at local prides with leaflets for my group to see if I can get on their list of organisations they signpost people on to! E.g. Local NHS services, counselling services… This is a great time to do it because those organisations are at Pride to specifically promote awareness amoung LGBT people.
Do you know any other bis in your area? Do any of your friends know bis in your area? Ask around! They might know lots of other people who would be interested in attending who you haven’t met yet.
For the braver, more journalisty people out there: you could get in touch with local radio stations and newspapers and ask them to see if they want to feature you/the group. Good times to do this are around Coming Out Day, LGBT History Month or Bi Visibility Day. You can talk about your group and bi issues whilst linking it to something topical that people might have already heard of that already gets some media coverage.
Speak to someone who has done this before to get some advice on the best ways to do it. Read up on bisexual stats and information beforehand.
A note on inclusion:
Are local groups for BME people aware you exist? Or other minority groups such as trans groups? Have you tried to contact them and invite those who might be interested to attend? Do you have anything on your advertising that states people are welcome to attend regardless of race, gender, religion, disability, orientation and nationality? Do you have a code of conduct that outlines what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable at your events, and what people should do if any instances of harrasment or discrimination occur? When talking about discrimination, have you remembered to include things often left out such as transphobia, ableism or fatphobia?
Finally it’s also good practice to include a description of the venue in terms of accessibility on your leaflets and event descriptions. For example are there a lot of steps inside? A step free access? A disabled toilet? Loud music that might affect those who are sensitive to noise?
It’s normal to have a small group when you first get going but it will grow in time. Numbers will vary from month to month and season to season, so don’t panic if numbers drop all of a sudden! Good luck!