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.”

Rupp Arena Blog HeaderNot 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 ‘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:

  1. Think about your customers first.
  2. 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.

Other Posts You’ll Find Interesting:

  1. Is It Enough To Just Add A Blog?
  2. Linkin Park Recap
  3. Linkin Park Load-In
  4. Top Brands For College Students

[tags]Rupp Arena, Lexington Center, blog, Twitter, social media, customer service[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • dljordaneku

    Jason, they even use Twitter very well also. I was trying to find some information on an event coming up and Ticketmaster didn’t have the stage layout list.

    I hit them up on Twitter and they came back to me with a link to the layout on their site.


  • Jason Falls

    D-Jo, Thanks for pointing that out. This Paul character just digs this stuff and is providing Rupp with an excellent outreach mechanism. I’m really impressed with how well they’ve done this. And what’s more impressive is how easy it is for an intern (or staff member) to pull of some very simple social media building that has massive benefit. Kudos to them. Thanks for the input!

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  • Scott Clark

    I’ll be writing about the Rupp social media effort in Business Lexington in the next issue, after spending the afternoon with the folks you mentioned. Since you wrote, they’ve started a facebook presence also.

  • Jason Falls

    Scott — Fantastic. Glad I could turn you on to them. Let us know when the issue hits. I’d love to read it!

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  • Brandon Uttley

    Jason, this was an outstanding post. I referenced it on our blog as well. Keep up the great work.

  • Shell Smith

    Wow, it is so refreshing to hear that someone actually wants feedback from their customers – and wants to take that feedback and do something with it! I saw an interview that talked a lot about this very thing. It is with Fox Business and the president of Mindshare. It’s worth a look.

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