When early fall rolls around and it’s state fair season, the State Fair of Texas is one almost everyone knows, even if they haven’t had a chance to attend. This is especially true for Texans. All things Texan, from culture to food, and agriculture, are ubiquitous at the State Fair of Texas.
On average, more than 2.25 million fairgoers visit the State Fair of Texas. Which makes it the perfect place to share Texas’ agricultural roots and the importance agriculture has on all fairgoers’ daily lives.
Since 1886 the State Fair of Texas has promoted Texas agriculture; most prominently through its livestock shows and agricultural event competitions. While many associate the State Fair of Texas with fried foods, corny dogs, the Ferris Wheel and Big Tex, agriculture is the pillar of which the State Fair grows on each year.
Not only because of the rich and diverse history of agriculture in the Lone Star state, but because without agriculture there wouldn’t be a state fair. Due to its sheer size and scale, as well as the number of agricultural competitions and livestock shows, the State Fair of Texas maintains multiple social channels. It is important to share what’s happening at the fair with all audiences as well as keep the fair social for all audiences. It allows us to cater messages and engagement to specific audiences while not cluttering feeds with nonrelevant posts.
While each channel has its respective audiences and metrics, for the 2023 fair, we wanted to set the bar even higher and do what’s never been done before. We set out to make sure the livestock shows and event competitions saw center stage on their social media feeds. Most livestock show coverage will keep their feed busy with daily happenings and candid photos/videos around their show. Often times, overall champions may earn a congratulatory post here or there. But as we thought about it, each event at the State Fair of Texas is worthy of recognition. The youth of Texas worked hard no matter if they had a breeding ewe or a market steer. Additionally, agriculture is diverse and so are the competitions at the State Fair of Texas. The youth who enter the contests study and work just as hard as their peers who enter livestock shows. We wanted to make sure the winners of all contests saw their hard work was rewarded while also bringing attention and awareness to the vast number of contests and opportunities youth have to compete at the State Fair of Texas regardless if they show livestock or not.
Attending the fair should be fun, it should be a time of seeing friends across the state you only see at shows, it should be a time of meeting new friends, and also a time of learning. But at its core, it’s a competition and culmination of hard work to be shown off. With these areas of focus in mind, the social coverage for the 2023 State Fair of Texas stood out amongst the rest.
The goal: Demonstrate through social engagement that the State Fair of Texas is the show to be at for fun, food, friends and elite competition. We wanted to see double digit increases in all important metrics compared to the same time frame in 2022: reach, views, likes, shares.
Key Takeaways from 2023:
- Do your pre-homework before the fair begins and build simple templates.
- You already know how many contests, shows, and entries. Create user-friendly and simple graphic templates, so you’re only dropping a photo and the exhibitor’s name.
- Bank a list of content ideas before the show starts.
- Take lessons from what you see and like on your social media feeds. Start a list of types of content you want to capture and create while fair is going on.
- Use stories.
- If your stories aren’t full every day, you’re not keeping your audience fully engaged with all that is happening beyond the feed posts.
- Create a posting schedule.
- Know what events/shows/competitions are happening each day to space posts accordingly. And create a schedule where your team should be so everything is covered.
- Reels share moments to be remembered.
- In addition to their extended reach in feeds compared to standard posts, reels give you an opportunity to show off more of what is happening. On Facebook you aren’t limited to how many photos you can put in each post, although they only feature 3-4 per post unless you click to view all, but you can’t combine photo and video into the same post. And on Instagram, you’re limited to 10 photos or a singular video. In a reel you can drop several more photos and videos (aka stock show moments) into one combined piece of media. Reels show all the moments and contestants which lead up to the champion being selected. Not every kid is going to make the backdrop, but they will take pride and remember the competition if they relate to the moments you capture.
- Social should be fun.
- Don’t be afraid to use popular and trending sounds/music. It increases your reach and relatability to your audience.
- Have a variety of media assets captured.
- You’ll need both video and images, candid as well as posed, professional backdrop images and ringside images all together to come across authentic and to show the real scope of your fair.
- Remember social is year-round even if your fair isn’t.
- Capture and bank assets while your event is happening that you can use and share to keep engagement up all year.
- Cloud storage and editing apps.
- Have a centralized location and folders built for everyone to upload the media assets they capture to. Additionally, use editing apps like Canva for templates multiple people can have access to and create graphics on-demand as needed.
- Assemble a great team.
- Most fairs have events, contests and shows happening simultaneously, you can’t be everywhere at once, so use interns and a team to help capture assets and create reels that can be shared.
If you want to take your fair or event social media coverage to the next level, consider implementing these lessons.