This is the question discussed on Mashable.com, after Facebook Stories recently revealed a new stat: 7 of the 10 top check-ins in 2012 were at Baseball Stadiums. This coincides with another report from VenueSeen showing a 400% jump in Instagram photos taken at ballparks in the past year (compared to 2011). Frequency of games and other events happening in these venues contribute to the stats, but the underlying force that the IAVM community should consider is the deeper role social media is playing for your attendees: social proof.
As commenter Kyle Banuelos mentions on the Mashable article, “In the same way that ticket stubs were once tokens and pieces of social proof to show we were at a game or show, Facebook and Foursquare are now our platforms where we humbly brag to our networks that we’re attending these experiences.” The stats don’t lie, your attendees are increasingly broadcasting their experiences to their entire online world, often in the moment while all of the senses are firing. It’s the word-of-mouth marketing most organizations only dream of, limited only by weak signals and prohibitive photo/video policies. As you continue to improve access to wi-fi and cell networks, you will continue to improve the opportunity for your attendees to share the moments you create. And for our no photography venues, creating inspiring and intentional places to engage those devices outside of your theater can be equally meaningful to attendees that are enjoying your events and are anxious to spread the word to hundreds (or thousands) of potential future guests.