“Have you noticed how happy people are here”?
My business partner said this to me several times as we would stroll through huge crowds at the Ottawa Bluesfest this year. He was so right … people were there, many with their friends or families, really soaking it all in with a smile on their face. They looked genuinely happy.
It is easy to get lost in web tools, numbers and ROI equations and miss the real point. Live events are ultimately about bringing small and large communities together around a common joy, in our case live music. The pleasure comes just as much from being with friends and family in a lively and exciting atmosphere as it does from the music itself.
Happy Customer = Good
Happy customers come back and they bring their friends. You don’t need metrics to know it is true. There are many ways to make people happy and social media could be part of the mix.
When we began talking about new elements to the Ottawa Bluesfest site, the predominant focus was to build something that would help people enjoy the festival even more (300 bands, hundreds of thousands of people … doing ok … but still). The idea was to add elements that would allow people to make better decision so they wouldn’t miss great acts, especially ones that they had not heard of. Answer the “who the heck is that” question, a well known problem. In addition, music festivals are social events … people go together and part of the joy is to share a beautiful experience with people you like.
Not Just About Selling More Tickets
The “Buy Tickets” button is present but was never a priority and we didn’t even get measured against “Buy Tickets” clicks (though we counted them of course . This really surprised me and I was reminded of a valuable lesson:
“It is not about YOU! (the company/brand)”
There a few exceptions to this (musicians, charities …) but not many. Connect them with music they like, connect them with their friends, give them a voice, let them contribute … let them be part of something bigger and feel special. By all means, make sure the buy tickets button is easy to find but don’t let it get in the way.
Since we’re huge live music fans already, we did a bunch of things we thought would make fans happy:
- aggregated bios and videos of all the acts so even a child could check out a band they had never heard of
- helped people invite their friends by providing them an “invite friends” function
- provided ability to create a personal calendar and share that calendar with friends (email, post on Facebook …)
- allowed fans to see which performers their friends were going to (Facebook app function only)
- allowed them to contribute by sending videos and pictures that included on the site for all to see (people love to see their stuff highlighted)
- interview fans and post the written or video interviews
- live tweet and post pics of behind the scenes stuff (backstage, while the KISS stage was being assembled …). Lots of people felt like insiders. I got suspended from Twitter for a couple of hours likely for overtweeting
- interview performers somewhat on the fly and post the interviews as much as possible
- when we realized it was very time consuming to go through each of the nearly 300 acts one by one, we built the Bluesfest Jukebox so you could just listen for hours and pluck out bands of interest
- let people do as much as possible without creating an account but provided them extra value for registering only if it made sense
Many of these ideas came straight from Mark Monahan, the bluesfest executive director (the guy at the top) btw. The guy making the decisions and approving the cheques (checks for you American folks).
I’m really sharing the thought process with you to make a few key points:
- the customer comes first. Love them and seek to provide them value first and foremost
- be sure to monitor and listen to make sure fans actually love what you are doing
- Social media tools, like the ones we used and built, can be a substantial, cost effective way to make your customers happy
- Clean bathrooms are important (not everything is about social media)
Love Your Customer!
By all means measure and tie whatever you can count to business imperatives… we do that all the time … but don’t forget the key imperative is to make your customers happy. Everything comes after that.
What are you doing in social media to make customers happy? What has worked and what hasn’t. You have the stand, please share …. I’m sure you have some great thoughts on this and experiences to share.
Please don’t forget to vote for our Social Media ROI panel at SXSW here panel picker . The panel is moderated by Keith Burtis and I’m joined by a stunning group comprising of Amber Naslund of Radian6 ; Sue Murphy of Jester Creative; Jay Berkowitz, CEO of 10 Golden Rules 10 Golden Rules Blog and Justin Levy New Marketing Labs. Be sure to check their posts on this very topic … you’re guaranteed to learn something valuable.