NRPA Survey: Social Media, Word-of-Mouth Help People Learn of Community Events

Social media and word-of-mouth are popular ways to find out what’s happening in one’s own community, according to the latest National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Park Pulse poll. 

Park and recreation professionals use a diverse array of platforms to ensure they reach all members of the community. More than half of U.S. adults stay informed about local events primarily through social media and word of mouth. Comprehensive advertising efforts by park and recreation agencies ensure that each community receives information about fun local events and activities for the entire family. Parents are more likely to find out about local events from social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, than non-parents. U.S. adults are least likely to find out about events from local government websites. 

Key Findings:

  • U.S. adults find out about local events happening in their community the most from social media (66%) and by word of mouth (59%).
  • Facebook is the top social media platform (53%) U.S. adults hear about events from, followed by Instagram (27%) and then other social media platforms (21%).
  • While more than half of millennials and Gen Zers rely on social media as their top source for finding out about local events, word of mouth is the top source for Gen Xers (69%) and baby boomers (63%). 
  • Parents are more likely to learn about local events from social media than non-parents (80% vs. 58%).
  • More than two in five (41%) U.S. adults in the South find out about local events from televised announcements on local news/cable access channels; Meanwhile, those in the Northeast are the more likely to look to their local government website to find events compared to other regions (29% vs. 18% West, 18% Midwest, 17% South).

“If you haven’t established a social media presence, make sure that it is a priority for your agency as spring and summer events ramp up,” said Melissa May, NRPA senior manager of research. “Many people rely on social media as their source to find out about local events in their community and meeting them where they are is important to help increase attendance year-round.”

Each month, through a poll of 1,000 U.S. residents focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. To learn more about NRPA’s Park Pulse and see results from previous polls, click here.