Since 1938, the Arkansas State Fair has entertained visitors with a carnival, concerts, a rodeo, concessions, exhibits and games. In 2015, the State Fair enlisted CJRW to grow and manage its online communities starting September 1, 2015 through October 19, 2015 using a strategic, platform-specific social media campaign. Historically, the State Fair did not allocate a social media and content strategy budget to promote the fair. While the State Fair regularly posted on social media, all impressions were organic. 2015 was the first year the State Fair invested in social and content strategy. The State Fair achieved a low cost of entry to content creation by repurposing its extensive library of video and photography typically used for television and print.
Social media users do not want to be advertised to, but want to consume brands’ content as it fits their lifestyle. Using the latest research, CJRW based the Arkansas State Fair’s social media and content strategy on telling the story of the fair through authentic experiences. In addition to developing messaging and response strategies for each of the State Fair’s social media, CJRW established new presences on Periscope and Snapchat in order to tell live, authentic stories. The Arkansas State Fair utilized new social media advertising techniques, like Instagram Ads. Everyday, different State Fair experiences were broadcast to followers from a first-hand point of view. Ranging from a Ferris wheel ride to an interview with a sugar glider to a Styx concert to a helicopter ride, viewers saw and experienced a small taste of the Arkansas State Fair experience. The State Fair extended social media efforts to traditional advertising by taking advantage of digital out-of-home opportunities and dedicated “Live Tweet” billboards that broadcasted real-time tweets. The social media and content strategy plan for the Arkansas State Fair 2015 stated five main objectives:
- To increase traffic to Arkansas State Fair (“ASF”);
- To strengthen the brand image of ASF;
- To grow awareness of ASF;
- To build ASF social media following and effectiveness;
- To amplify the brand voice of ASF through creative, compelling content.
With the best ten-day stretch of weather since 2010, 2015’s State Fair broke the all-time attendance record counting 473,106 visitors. Food vendor and carnival sales were also record-breaking. While many factors contributed to the increase, especially the great weather, the only change to the marketing plan was the addition of a social media and content strategy plan. The 2015 social media and content strategy plan received a total of 6,378,830 impressions, up 63.4 percent from 2014. Facebook traffic to ArkansasStateFair.com was up 185 percent, and up 155 percent from Twitter, driving a total of 6,267 visitors. Social media followers increased 51.3 percent.
Total Impressions 6,378,830
Total Page Fans
Sept 1 – Oct 20, 2014 3,819,192
Sept 1 – Oct 19, 2015 6,241,325
Total Followers 925
Sept – Oct 20, 2014 34,600
Sept 1 – Oct 19, 2015 53,200
Total Followers 1,025
Ads Reached 83,909
Website Clicks 1,630
Live Tweet Billboards