As the tech community, music lovers, filmmakers, game developers, and party goers descend on the city of Austin, Texas for South by Southwest (SXSW), getting past the door and into the best parties can sometimes be tricky. Here are MobileFOMO’s tried and true tips on how to get into (nearly) any SXSW party.
The rule of SXSW parties is to RSVP for everything and then decide where the day takes you. Guest list run into thousands, but are often strictly enforced at the door. RSVP for every event that you might remotely find yourself going to as well as the ones that your friends are planning to attend so you don’t get separated. There are even bespoke services that you can pay to auto RSVP for you.
Using the “Contact the Organizer” button on Eventbrite page has been my hack for getting into events for years. Messaging the Eventbrite organizer sends a note that usually makes its way to the inbox of an associate marketing person at the hosting company or PR coordinator. Be extra friendly, throw a little weight on how much you’re a fan of the company, and ask for an invite to the event. Usually the organizer will follow up via email for more details or you’ll receive an automated Eventbrite invite email.
Use the Work Connection
Consider using LinkedIn to ask your connections if they plan on hosting private company events at SXSW. You can also see how you’re connected to people at companies that are hosting parties and send them an InMail message. Be sure to also RSVP for events with your work email address. It’s difficult to see a marketing ROI these days at SXSW so throwing the promoter a bone by making it easy to recognize your work affiliation goes a long way. This works especially well if you work somewhere cool or for a major brand. Worst case, channel Vince Vaughn and register with a phony Google inc email address.
Get There Early
If there is a particular event you must go to, show up as early as possible. If you show up to a packed venue with a line out of the door already, the bouncer has to be strict. Showing up early doesn’t always work with huge events such as Spotify or Paypal parties, but for most events it helps to mingle early with the marketing team setting up. Follow the club rule: help make an empty venue look happening.
Press Passes and Social Leverage
Companies at SXSW want press and social recognition along with being seen as fun. Use press credentials if you have them to get into events. Otherwise for the rest of us, offer to make a social media post or tweet in exchange for admission. Make their company likable on social media and you’re golden.
Have fun in Austin! Oh, and don’t ask for a +1. Everyone wants a +1.