Submitted by: Christine Pileckas, Marketing Manager
I can still remember the first time I heard the word Facebook: it was 2004, my freshman year of college, from my good friend Ashley. She went to Towson University in Maryland, and Facebook had just opened up to their student body. It was all the rage at her school, but back in Pennsylvania, we still had no idea what this “Facebook” was all about.
If you remember, Facebook was only available to college students with a valid email address from their respective school when it first started. They slowly added more and more colleges, until they finally opened it up to the general public. I also remember the day I found out West Chester University, my college, had been added to the Facebook database. There was a mad scramble to sign up, create your profile, and find that perfect picture to use which would define you in this new world of social media.
Back then (if I can refer to a time barely eight years ago as that) Facebook was solely for personal use and self promotion. There were no pages for businesses, advertising opportunities or weekly page updates to track your effectiveness. As a biology major my freshman year of college, with dreams of being a physical therapist, I would’ve never guessed this social media site would one day be a primary function of my career and so essential to the success of my employer.
Fast forward to present day. My computer has a shortcut to just about every major social media site right on my desktop and my iPhone is equipped with every social media app available. It’s safe to say I live and breathe social media, and I am perfectly okay admitting that as it has become socially acceptable (no pun intended). My Twitter and Facebook feeds, for both work and personal, are the first things I check in the morning, and the last things I check at night. Some might view that as an unhealthy obsession, I simply view it as trying to be good at my job.
The best thing about social media as a marketer can be defined in one word: free. The main function of a marketing department in the arena business is to, as we like to say, put butts in seats. Having a database of more than 21,000 Facebook fans and 2,800 Twitter followers that we can share news and information with 24/7, for free, is invaluable. It’s safe to say our “average” fan is more apt to check our Facebook page or Twitter feed for event information, than they are our website.
This year, INTRUST Bank Arena was ranked 47th in the Venues Today Social Media Power 100 Chart. As explained on www.venuestoday.com, the chart was created by Venues Today Managing Editor Dave Brooks and Paciolan’s Director of Social Media Matt Kautz and ranks a venues digital marketing reach. They researched over 300 venues in North America, scoring facilities for total number of fans and followers, with additional points for number of Tweets, Facebook Check-Ins and group listings on Twitter. The score was weighted for market size and facility type. For the full Social Media Power 100 Chart: http://www.venuestoday.com/smp100.
Our goal for next year? To be ranked #1, of course. I have to thank my boss, Director of Sales & Marketing Sarah Haertl, for instilling such a good-natured competitiveness in me. I felt satisfied with 47th until she reminded me there were forty-six other venues ranked better than us.
We love fan feedback, and encourage you to share any ideas or suggestions on how we can further connect with our fans and stay engaged.