Last year I spoke with a group at the Western Fairs Association Conference about social media. For reasons still to be determined they invited me back again to talk with their members about how they can better integrate social media into their engagement and marketing activities.
This group is one of the most fun that I’ve ever spoken with. The industry is full of people who grew up with parents working in the same industry and truly people who love what they do. At the core of many county and regional fairs is agriculture and entertainment.
A few of the points that came up quite a bit this week for discussion included:
- Don’t have the “young guy,” run all of your social media. Find the person who knows more about your group than anyone else. They can answer every question that ever comes up, have a strong sense of the history of your event and know how to get things done. It’s a whole lot easier for this person to learn how to use all of these social media tools than it is to teach someone new to be a true ambassador for your event.
- Create content that people want to watch, not what you want to show. This applies to many, many companies that I talk with as well. People don’t want to see pictures and videos of empty buildings, they want to see what people do at your event, other people having fun and also all of the great things that happen at a fair.
- Don’t have your content live in silos. For example, right now Facebook is the hottest thing around for companies looking to tap into social media. Create your content on a site/blog that you own and then port it into Facebook. You can use Facebook, or Twitter or any tool to directly engage with your audience, but start the content at your site. Then in a few years, if Facebook slows down and there’s something new, you don’t lose all of that content/hardwork.
- The vast majority of the people I met this week are the epitome of the “people person.” Everyone loves what they do and loves talking to people about what they do. They are going to do some really cool things with these tools.
Also, there were lots of fun things going on throughout the conference, ranging from dozens of musical acts that performed in hopes they’ll get signed for performances this summer to a live auction with a very talented auctioneer. Take a look at a short clip of the auctioneer below as he’s helping raise money for the Blue Ribbon Foundation, which is the industry’s intern group (who were a huge help to me for all my presentations). Also, if the woman in the foreground looks familiar, that’s Nancy Riegler, who along with her husband Gil and their camels were recently on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe.
Thanks again to the Western Fairs Association for having me back and to the rest of you, grab your family and friends and make sure you get out to your local fair.