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New Technology Case Study: North Carolina State Fair. Presented by Natalie Alford, Public Information Officer. N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign. Goal: Increase awareness and interest in the 2008 Fair. Use the Internet and a variety of social media outlets to:

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new technology case study north carolina state fair

New Technology Case Study:North Carolina State Fair

Presented by Natalie Alford, Public Information Officer

n c state fair social media campaign
N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign
  • Goal:
    • Increase awareness and interest in the 2008 Fair.
    • Use the Internet and a variety of social media outlets to:
      • introduce the N.C. State Fair to new audiences
      • interact with media in a new way
      • engage in open conversations to make connections and answer questions
      • increase pre-Fair “buzz” and excitement
strategy
Strategy:
  • Four-month long social media campaign
    • Create and maintain a useful, interesting blog.
    • Create social networking profiles on Facebook and MySpace.
    • Create a micro-blogging account on Twitter.
    • Record and upload video to YouTube.
  •   Engage in two-way communication with our target audience.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

target audiences
Target Audiences:
  • Current and potential fairgoers and their friends.
  • College students.
  • Traditional media reporters who use social media sites to build stories, and connect with each other and their audiences.
  • New media, including bloggers, online photographers and social media movers and shakers.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

overall theme how do we stand out among all the other blogs and web sites
Overall Theme: How do we stand out among all the other blogs and Web sites?
  • Use the 2008 logo and message “Take Time for a Great Time” on all social networking and blog pages to create a uniform and recognizable theme and look.
  • Interchange the logo and theme each year.
  • Theme and framework will become a branding tool to recognize the Fair as a fun, informative online presence.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic blog deep fried at the n c state fair
Tactic: Blog “Deep Fried at the N.C. State Fair”
  • Created on July 8, 2008 using Blogger.com
    • www.2008ncstatefair.blogspot.com
  • Contributors: Press Office staff, but mainly one person: Karlie Justus.
  • Pre-Fair blogs were also used to promote other Dept. of Agriculture events: Ag Jam, Farmer’s Market, etc.
  • Blog could be accessed through link on Fair Web site home page, or by searching for it on a search engine like Google or Yahoo.
  • Blogs could be read on Facebook through an RSS feed, and also on MySpace by reposting the content.
  • Some blogs featured video footage shot during the fair using a Flip Mino video recording device. Also blogged about our commercials.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic blog deep fried at the n c state fair10
Tactic: Blog “Deep Fried at the N.C. State Fair”
  • Analysis:
    • Viewed 12,460 times between July 8 and November 6, 2008
    • Blog was populated with 173 posts, 221 viewer comments, and 2 subscribers.
    • Tracked blog using Google Analytics.
      • Blog traffic peaked to almost 1,500 views per day during the first few days of the fair.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic blog deep fried at the n c state fair11
Tactic: Blog “Deep Fried at the N.C. State Fair”
  • Benefits:
    • Blogger.com is a Google product, which means that your blog content has better web optimization and will tend to rank higher in a Google search.
      • Example: Searched Google for “Deep Fried” and the N.C. State Fair blog ranked number seven on the list.
    • Easy way to have contests.
      • First response to this blog wins a State Fair T-shirt.
      • Interpret the Text Message to win State Fair prizes.
    • Incorporate videos, pictures and commercials into blog content.
    • Blog content was used by local TV and newspaper outlets.
      • Content supplemented traditional press releases and tip sheets.
      • Content does not need to be long and detailed.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic blog deep fried at the n c state fair12
Tactic: Blog “Deep Fried at the N.C. State Fair”
  • Suggestions:
    • Embed blog into Fair Web site for consistent look and increased viewership.
      • The 2008 N.C. State Fair Web site layout was not the correct size and format, so next year’s Web site will be adjusted to accommodate the blog.
    • Establish your blog’s URL now!
      • “ncstatefair” was taken, so we had to use “2008ncstatefair”
    • Don’t be afraid of negative feedback.
      • Use the blog to address negative comments in a diplomatic way.
      • Blog settings allow you to approve comments before they are posted.
    • Establish regular features like “Artist Spotlight,” “Overheard at the Fair” and write some content ahead of time.
    • Assign one person to maintain the blog and post regularly, but allow others to contribute, too.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic facebook page
Tactic: Facebook page
  • Created mid-June, 2008
    • www.facebook.com/people/NC_State_Fair/1314856220
  • Facebook description: A social networking Web site launched Feb. 4, 2004. Users join networks organized by city, workplace, school and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends to send messages, and update their personal profile to notify friends about themselves. Because it was originally created only for college students, it is a good way to target college students and young professionals.
  • Chose to create a profile page instead of a group or event page for a more personal, interactive feel.
    • Allowed us to update our “status” frequently using Twitter.
  • RSS feed was used to directly import blog posts into Facebook notes, where viewers could view and comment.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic facebook page15
Tactic: Facebook page
  • Analysis:
    • Facebook is very “viral;” good for spreading information quickly.
      • One feature shows “people you may know” based on your location, interests and profile description.
      • Another feature allows all of your friends to instantly see any updates you make to your profile, which keeps people interested in your page.
    • By the end of the fair, we had 1,631 friends, 563 tagged photos and 10 tagged videos.
      • “Tagged” means someone else posted a photo or video on their profile page, indicated that you were in it and posted a link to your profile.
      • Example: In this photo: N.C. State Fair, Jane Doe and Mary Sue.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic facebook page17
Tactic: Facebook page
  • Benefits:
    • Facebook is an easy way to compile most all of your social networking efforts:
      • Twitter can automatically update your Facebook status.
      • Your blog can automatically be updated in the Facebook notes section.
      • Add links to your profile page that sends friends directly to certain pages on your Web site (i.e. Advance ticket sales, press releases, etc.)
    • Quickly spread the word about information such as contests
      • Conducted long-term “1,000 Friends Contest” on both Facebook and MySpace.
      • Other, short-term contests kept friends interested in the page.
    • Friends were glad to see the N.C. State Fair on Facebook, and were eager to share their personal fair photos and stories.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic facebook page18
Tactic: Facebook page
  • Suggestions:
    • To be considered “legitimate” among Facebook users, the page must be updated daily or even hourly.
      • Best to assign social media updates to one person.
    • We were concerned at first about potential miss-use of the site, or inappropriate content or comments from users.
      • Posted a disclaimer: “While NCDA&CS supplies some of the information provided on this site, this site is not hosted by NCDA&CS. Your use of this site constitutes your understanding that individuals other than NCDA&CS employees may link items to this site that may be unedited, offensive, and/or inappropriate. YOU ASSUME RESPONSIBILITIY AND RISK FOR YOUR USE OF THIS SITE.”
      • Use privacy settings to ensure comments are approved before they are posted.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic myspace page
Tactic: MySpace page
  • Created mid-June, 2008
    • www.myspace.com/ncstatefair
  • MySpace description: A social networking Web site offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults internationally.
  • We focused on entertainment information on our MySpace profile.
  • Added concert artists and other entertainers as “top friends,” and added a music playlist application that looped music by Fair performers.
  • Re-posted all of the blogs from our “Deep Fried” blog into the MySpace blog application.
  • Featured a “Countdown to the Fair” ticker, videos and links to concert tickets and advance ticket sales.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic myspace page22
Tactic: MySpace page
  • Analysis:
    • By the end of the fair we had 941 friends, 45 profile comments, 43 messages, 285 tagged photos and 6,491 profile views.
      • Now that the Fair is over, some MySpace Friends have dropped off, but surprisingly the Facebook friends have continued to multiply.
    • Blogs were a main highlight of the page. The MySpace blog area received 3,567 views.
      • Used the same blog content from the “Deep Fried” blog, and just reposted into MySpace.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic myspace page25
Tactic: MySpace page
  • Benefits:
    • MySpace serves a wider variety of people than Facebook, including younger middle school and high school groups, as well as adults.
    • MySpace’s interface allows you to customize the look of your profile page.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic myspace page26
Tactic: MySpace page
  • Suggestions:
    • MySpace is more susceptible to spam than Facebook, meaning that you won’t get as many quality “friends.”
    • MySpace did not seem as “viral” since this profile gained friends at a much slower pace than Facebook.
    • There are many more advertisements on MySpace, which makes the site appear very cluttered compared to Facebook.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic twitter account
Tactic: Twitter account
  • Created beginning of August, 2008, after a recommendation from a Facebook friend.
    • http://twitter.com/NCStateFair
  • Twitter description: Twitter is a free, social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as “tweets”), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his circle of friends (delivery to everyone is the default setting).
  • Users can receive your Twitter updates (or “tweets”) in a variety of ways: on their phone, by email, or by being one of your friends on Twitter or Facebook. They can also follow your tweets to their blog.
  • Tweets answer one basic question, “What are you doing?” Tweet about a new blog post, an interesting update on your Web site or about anything that could be said in 140 characters or less.
      • This technology is most effective if updated quite often with interesting information, thoughts, links to other Web sites, etc.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic twitter account29
Tactic: Twitter account
  • Analysis:
    • Ended Fair with 273 followers, 560 updates, 300 “@replies” and 45 Direct Messages
      • @replies are tweets directed at a specific user in response to one of their updates.
    • According to a survey conducted after the fair, users enjoyed seeing the N.C. State Fair on Twitter and commented that information was a good balance of “corporate” and “personal.”
    • We achieved this by having Karlie as the soul “Tweeter.” She gave the account a personal feel, and our “followers” felt like they gained a relationship with her and the State Fair.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic twitter account31
Tactic: Twitter account
  • Benefits:
    • In the Raleigh, NC area, there are a lot of media reporters that have Twitter accounts, and we were able to communicate directly with them.
      • Established a more personal relationship with the media reporters, which made it easier to pitch a story idea to them.
    • Twitter is used best if you have a smart phone and can update information on a continual basis, out of the office (“We are walking to the Demolition Derby. Come join us!”)

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic twitter account32
Tactic: Twitter account
  • Suggestions:
    • Due to the fact that you only have 140 characters per post, it can be hard to get a lot of information out at one time.
    • It’s best to say something brief like “Check out this new blog post at www.ncstatefair.org” or “Tickets go on sale tomorrow. Don't let Bucky Covington sell out before you grab your seats! www.ncstatefair.org”

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic youtube channel
Tactic: YouTube channel
  • Created June 13, 2008
    • www.youtube.com/2008ncstatefair
  • YouTube description: A video sharing Web site where users upload, view and share video clips. The service displays a wide variety of user-generated content including movie clips, TV clips and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos.
  • We uploaded 24 videos to our YouTube channel, of these 19 videos were made by the Press Office with the Flip Mino video recorder, four were clips of Fair advertisements and one was an overview of the Fair put together in a previous year.
  • Also used YouTube for a promotion that we partnered with Subway to create – Pants Dance Revolution.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic youtube channel35
Tactic: YouTube channel
  • Analysis:
    • Ended Fair with 28,370 video views, 24 uploaded videos, seven video comments, 4,607 channel views, 32 subscribers and 14 friends.
    • Top video watched was one of our 2008 Fair commercials with 11,596 views.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic youtube channel36
Tactic: YouTube channel
  • Benefits:
    • If you can get a small video recorder, like the Flip Mino, then you can record short blips of video, like a Folk Festival performance, then upload it to your blog, Facebook/MySpace and YouTube pages.
    • YouTube is a great way to get people to see your commercials during an election year!
    • Like MySpace, you can customize your channel page with colors, pictures, text, etc.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

tactic youtube channel38
Tactic: YouTube channel
  • Suggestions:
    • Just like the blog URL, go ahead and establish a YouTube channel now!
      • “NCStateFair” was already taken, so we had to use “2008NCStateFair”
    • Shoot lots of video during one fair, and use it to populate the YouTube channel for the next year.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

general analysis
General Analysis
  • In a survey of college students and people that live close to the N.C. State Fairgrounds, the majority of people learned about the Fair through word of mouth from friends or family. This reinforces the importance of social networking sites, which are essentially an online “word of mouth” outlet.
  • From overall combined social media results, potential Fair visitors saw information about the Fair via these outlets approximately 62,647 times.
  • Without any news releases or announcements about our social media campaign, our online presence was documented in more than a dozen stories and mentions in a variety of print, television and Internet news outlets.
  • For the first time, we invited bloggers to our Pre-Fair Media Lunch.
  • One TV news reporter created a Twitter account (“wral_at_fair”) in response to our social media campaign, and gave her followers updates during the fair.
  • Linking to these sites from the N.C. State Fair home page proved valuable, as a majority of hits on the total blog hits were referrals from our home page.

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign

general analysis40
General Analysis
  • As traditional media changes, social media sites, blogging and micro-blogging are increasingly becoming a way to target key audiences and the media with messages.
  • The social media sites put a new twist on an annual event.
  • Thank You!
    • Natalie Alford, (919) 839-4527, natalie.alford@ncagr.gov
    • Helpful links:
      • www.ncstatefair.org
      • www.2008ncstatefair.blogspot.com
      • www.facebook.com/people/NC_State_Fair/1314856220
      • www.myspace.com/ncstatefair
      • http://twitter.com/NCStateFair
      • www.youtube.com/2008ncstatefair
      • www.theflip.com/index.shtml

_________________________________N.C. State Fair Social Media Campaign