Monday, March 30, 2009

Social Media for Special Events

This month's issue of Events Solutions magazine quotes me in their article "Events 2.0". My contribution centers on the use of Twitter for Special Events industry professionals:
"Twitter is a great way to spread short bits of information about your events, and with Twitter's 140-character limit, you're not pressured to come up with a great press release -- you can just spread the news quickly and concisely."
I especially think Twitter has great value for ticketed events. I've been doing some consulting work for the 2,800 seat Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), and they are starting to make great use of Twitter.
As a case study, DPAC recently hosted British singer/songwriter Morrissey (formerly of The Smiths). The show at DPAC on March 11 was to be the eighth show of the U.S. leg of the singer's "Years of Refusal" World Tour. But he cancelled the first four due to illness, did an abbreviated set on the fifth, and cancelled the next two shows prior to the scheduled DPAC concert. DPAC had tickets left to sell, and there were thousands of fans from Asheville (under four hours away), Atlanta, South Carolina and Florida who were potentially willing to make the trip up to Durham.
The problem: fans didn't believe the Durham show would take place, either.
The solution: social media.
Beginning early on the morning of March 11, DPAC and I set out to assure out-of-towners that Morrissey would perform. We primarily utilized the platforms of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr, along with Morrissey's fan forums. Here are some sample tweets:
7:35 AM - Morrissey tickets just $25. And yes he is going on tonight....
9:32 AM - Check out photos I just took of Morrissey crew setting up at DPAC for tonight's show... http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpaclive/sets/72157615110905510/
2:05 PM - Heard the sound check...Morrissey goes on around 8:30 tonight. Tickets still available at the door.
The goal was to use Social Media to assure fans that the show would go on, and that there were tickets still available. We also wanted to create a buzz about the show on the Net. It worked.
I recently presented a one-hour Keynote Speech on Internet Marketing for the Greater Triangle NC Chapter of the International Special Events Society. I'm available to speak for groups, organizations, and private companies about using Social Media. Just check out my SEO Speaker page and give me a call.

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