I have to admit, I don’t usually bring my work into my blog, but today I’m going to drop a little social media marketing knowledge on you all.
As you know, the Tavern to Tavern 5K was scheduled for this Sunday. Due to Hurricane Irene it has been rescheduled for next Sunday. Next Sunday is Labor Day so many people (including yours truly) are traveling and will be unable to attend the race. When people signed up for the race, the registration information explicitly stated that there would be no refunds under any circumstances. Now, people are upset about not being refunded their money after the race has been rescheduled on such a popular travel holiday.
Do I think it sucks that they rescheduled it for next weekend? Yeah I do, but I’m over it. I’m out $25. It’s life. Shit happens. Hurricanes happen.
So, social media.
One of the main tenets of social media is to remain professional at all times and to clearly and succinctly address any feedback that arises (whether it be positive or negative). Tavern to Tavern 5K should have anticipated that some of its runners would be very upset at the rescheduling of the race and the lack of a refund.
The people organizing the race should be doing several things:
- Remaining professional
- Apologizing for the inconvenience
- Continuing to apologize
- Explaining that there can be no refunds, as was explained in the contract every running signed
- Acknowledging the inconvenience and thinking of another solution to help make people feel better, and let them know that they are their top priority
- Such solutions could be–Offering 1/2 price entrance to the race next year; 2 for 1 entrance to next year’s race; a free beer at tavern if you can prove you paid for the race but couldn’t make it
The most important thing the race organizers should be doing is letting people know that they feel terrible for the inconvenience, but that they are doing whatever they can to make the situation better. Instead, they are attacking and chastising those who are upset over the rescheduling and lack of refunds.
The organizers must recognize that these would-be participants are their lifeblood. Without participants, there can be no event. And with the way the participants have been treated after the happenings of this event, the Tavern-to-Tavern 5K might be hard pressed to find participants for next year.
What do you think? How should Tavern-to-Tavern 5K be better handling themselves (and their social media outlets)? What would be a good solution for you if you can’t run the race but know you can’t get your money back either?