Rupp Arena is a geographic and social icon in the state of Kentucky. Not only is it home to the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team, arguably the most worshiped group of 13 or so dudes this side of Gethsemane, but it’s where wide-eyed young hillbillies catch little glimpses of the big, wide world by attending concerts.(I was 7th row, center for George Michael’s “Faith” tour and am only ashamed to admit it because my sophomore English teacher was three rows ahead of me and threw her bra on stage.)
Imagine my surprise Monday night when this little number hit my inbox:
“Lexington Center (Rupp_Arena) is now following your updates on Twitter.”
Not only is Rupp on Twitter, but they have a very interesting and well-done blog to boot. I immediately snapped over to the media page on their main site and emailed Matt Johnson and Sheila Kenny in the marketing department to find out how they got hip to social media.
Matt told me the blog is an experiment in reaching their audience to, and I quote, “get feedback about what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. The blog is not a place to sell tickets.”
HOLY SMOKES! Someone gets it!
The purpose of what they’re doing is to connect to their consumers and have a conversation. To learn and to teach. To share and to grow. This is social media.
The Monday entry on the blog is behind-the-scenes images and information from Linkin Park’s load-in of their upcoming show. What concert-goer isn’t going to want to get some preview or scoop? Very cool idea. Last night, they even had pictures and a recap from the concert. Nice.
So the thinking is there, but how are they pulling it all off? With an intern. That’s right, folks. An intern, namely Paul Hooper, built the blog. Even he was a little amazed at the freedom.
“It was amazing how much free reign they gave me and just let me â€˜go at it,’ making my own design choices,” he said.
And good for them, because the blog rocks (literally) and the Twitter thing only makes the outreach more real and effective. Paul added the Twitter component because he likes using it so much.
The lesson to be learned here is two-fold:
- Think about your customers first.
- Be brave.
By clearly setting out to connect with their audience, the marketing folks at Rupp Arena have already largely won the battle of accomplishing communications goals using social media tools. By having the mission of gathering customer feedback, not selling tickets, the objectives won’t get in the way of return on investment.
And by admitting they either didn’t have the time or the requisite skill set to execute the blog idea and turned it over to an enthusiastic youngster with some proven ability, Matt and Sheila have vaulted Rupp Arena to a select group of businesses using social media the right way.
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[tags]Rupp Arena, Lexington Center, blog, Twitter, social media, customer service[/tags]