Why Venues and Events Need Social Media

It snowed like the dickens on Sunday.

To dance or to Twitter? How about both.

A northeaster blew up the East Coast over the weekend and Boston – like much of the region – was battered by high winds and lots of snow. My family had tickets to go see the 1 p.m. “Urban Nutcracker” show at John Hancock Hall.

It was still snowing hard at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.  The city of Boston had declared a snow emergency and a parking ban – which wasn’t lifted until 4 p.m. on Sunday.  The TV news forecasters were asking people to stay home and let the plows and snow removal crews do their jobs.  So we had a simple question: “Had the show been canceled, postponed or delayed?”

I’m sure many of the other thousands ticket holders had the same question.

I scoured the web for information.  But the Urban Nutcracker had no updates on its web site.  They do not have a Facebook page or a Twitter account.  So we called.  No answer, except a recording saying they were closed.  So we tried to reach John Hancock Hall – which is operated by Tillinger’s.  Ditto for them.  No updates on the web site.  No social media channels.  Calls went to a recorded message.

What were we to do?

We had paid for the tickets and there was a warning on the back – no refunds.  So I turned to other venues.  I knew the Boston Symphony Orchestra was holding a Christmas Pops concert on the same day (at 11 a.m., in fact).  So I went to the BSO’s web site.

Look!  Actual information.  The BSO had cared enough about its patrons to post a notice on the front page of its web site that read:

**Weather Update**
If you are in an area with a lot of snow and cannot make it to Symphony Hall on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, we will do our best to get you into another concert. However there are only 2 concerts with availability – Monday, December 21st and Tuesday , December 22nd, both at 4pm. Please call Symphony Charge at 617 266-XXXX on Monday if you need to make changes. On Sunday – all shows will take place as scheduled.

If you would like further information please call our snow line at 617 638-XXXX.”

Yet, the BSO – which does have a Twitter account and a Facebook page – did not post this information on those channels.  The last tweet on Twitter was from December 18 – a retweet thanking someone for a nice comment.  The BSO felt the information on the weather was important enough to share with its patrons on its web site, but for some reason decided against broadcasting this crucial information to its 682 followers on Twitter and 5,425 fans on Facebook.

Regardless, I took the news from the BSO site and applied it to the “Urban Nutcracker.”  We bundled the kids into the car, drove to the subway station, and trekked to the show – hoping it had not been postponed or delayed.  It hadn’t been.

The show was great.  The kids loved it.

But think of all the stress and worry that could have been avoided if the “Urban Nutcracker” or the John Hancock Hall had put a notice on its web site regarding the weather and then shared that information via social media channels.  Isn’t this an easy remedy to inform your patrons?  People could even have checked the updates via mobile phones.

Why isn’t this a priority in this day and age?  Why not give your patrons less worry – and build better relationships?  Everyone is happy that way.

If you run a venue or are holding an event isn’t it time you started to use social media?  What do you think?  Has this happened to you before?

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