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Cultural Events and Social Media: A Powerful Match

February 5, 2013   |   AUTHOR: Julius Solaris   |   POSTED IN: no-profit

A new study reinforces what we suspected quite a while ago: Social Media has a very positive impact on cultural events.

social-media-cultural-events

I am discussing a report by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project for the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The findings of the report are staggering for those working with the arts, fundraising but also theatrical performances.

The study found that digital and social media impact the way cultural events are staged but also other pragmatic aspects such as ticket sales.

Study Sample

The researchers interviewed 1,244 arts organizations funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

This is a quite significant sample compared to other studies in the event industry.

The sample is also quite diverse as it looks at smaller and larger organizations, weighting results in an equal manner.

Findings

Here are the most impressive findings:

- 81% of the organizations in this survey say the internet and digital technologies are “very important” for promoting the arts
- 78% say these technologies are “very important” for increasing audience engagement
- 50% “strongly agree” with the statement that the internet “has increased engagement in the arts by providing a public platform through which more people can share their work”
- 65% say digital technologies are “very important” for fundraising

A majority of these organizations also agree that the internet is “very important” in increasing organizational efficiency (63%), and for their engaging in arts advocacy (55%). Most of the participating organizations strongly or somewhat agree with the statements that technology and social media have made art a more participatory experience (92%), and that they have helped make art audiences more diverse (83%).

You can find the full research and download the pdf here.

Some other interesting findings are that 97% of the sample has some form of social media presence (Twitter, Facebook or Youtube) and 45% of them updates their profiles daily.

I was also surprised to note that and I quote:

82% use social media to engage with audience members before, during, and after events

Ok but what about the outcomes? Respondents outlined that among the positive impacts, they noticed:

- Increased attendance at events
- More ticket sales
- Increased public awareness of the organization
- An ability to support fundraising efforts

Some Conclusions

If you read this blog in the U.S. and work in this industry sector, you may not be so surprised about the findings.

Nonetheless the numbers are higher than I could ever imagine.

If you are in Europe, these numbers will sound crazy. In fact, whenever I deliver a presentation in Europe on social and tech, I tend to get a lot of faces in distress.

I guess it is time for event professionals outside of the U.S. to get out of their disbelief and embrace the power of new technologies applied to events.

In conclusion, the positive outcomes outlined by the participants in the study, digital and social media at events cannot be ignored any further.

In fact in times of crisis, such outcomes are tougher to achieve. It is evident how social media can help to ease the impact of a negative economy.

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