State Fair of Texas Social Media

We had an awesome morning at the Social Media Breakfast Dallas. The Vice President of Marketing for the State Fair of Texas, Jennifer Schuder, spoke about their new branding strategy and how they leveraged social media to engage with fairgoers in new and impactful ways.

There were so many great ideas, strategies and processes that we want to share! Here are our top three takeaways:

1. Branding and brand strategy is the foundation.

Just a few years ago, the State Fair of Texas didn’t have a brand. Wha?!? When Jennifer went looking for the existing logo, the only place she could find it was on the side of a trash can. As exciting as it may be to create a brand, it’s a lot of work, but well worth the investment. Creating a brand and a brand strategy is essential to any marketing plan.

Branding takeaways:

  • You can’t peanut butter your logo on everything without a strategy.
  • Have a simplified brand strategy. (Theirs is 3 points: Focus on tradition, honor tradition, and celebrate Texas)
  • Theme art does not equal branding.
  • Theme art and advertising don’t mix.
  • Develop your brand strategy before trying to develop a social strategy.

2. You must have a social strategy.

Just posting content consistently is not a strategy. Interaction is key to engagement and a great ROI for your social efforts. How exciting is it when a major brand responds to your post about their product or brand?

Social strategy takeaways:

  • Engaging with your fans will increase your social media presence, followers, and interaction.
  • Email campaigns still work. The State Fair or Texas had an 81% increase in subscribers with a “Big Tex Insider” campaign.
  • Website content should be functional, helpful, and all about the customer experience.
  • Keeping an active Twitter presence will make you visible to journalists who may pick up your news.

3. Find out what matters most to your customers.

You can get the best minds together and brainstorm the best ideas, but until you try them, you won’t know if they’re going to work. Trial and error is part of the process. They tried a few ideas that didn’t work and then decided to look at user generated content, mostly from Instagram. What does the Fair mean to people? What matters most to them? They realized many people like and have Fair traditions so they were able to strategize around that. Did you know they have 111 free things do at the Fair? Did you know there’s a llama performance show? Did you know there are 277 acres of fairgrounds?

Takeaways on what matters most to your customers:

  • Every organization needs to be reminded why they’re a value to their customers and their market.
  • It’s valuable to get a perspective from outside your organization to gain knowledge on how people see your brand.
  • Once you know what your audience values, create your strategy around it. The State Fair of Texas made it a major priority to get people to add new activities to their Fair traditions.

Would you like to learn more about social media strategy, best practices and case studies? If so, join us for the next Social Media Breakfast Dallas.

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