Is there anything more wholesome and sentimental than the county fair? Summertime, funnel cakes, and Ferris wheels; what’s not to love? We’ve had success with event marketing in the past, but this was the first time we marketed the local fair.
The previous year, the Lancaster Event Center worked hard to build a fresh new brand for the fair, and they wanted to promote it along with all of the exciting activities happening at 2016’s Super Fair. They needed a strong online presence and felt that building a Facebook page specifically for the fair would be the best way to hyper-promote it. This allowed us to start with a fresh new audience. We began on April 25, 2016, which gave us 113 days until the end of the fair. We needed to gain fans and interactions, and we needed to do it fast. We had access to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to achieve our goal of making the 2016 Super Fair a huge success.
We hit the ground running with posts to build up the new SuperFair Facebook page, as well as posts to the Lancaster Event Center Facebook page announcing the new page was available. We needed Lancaster Event Center’s current audience to follow us over to the new Super Fair page in order to gain new fans. Their Twitter and Instagram accounts were also new for the season. As always, content is key. We crafted engaging posts that would build excitement for fair-goers and gain attendance from new fair attendees.
We did weekly giveaways leading up to the fair, talked about the upcoming events, and encouraged fans to reminisce about fairs of years past. This was truly a blend of remembering old traditions while building new memories at the county fair. This hometown fair features the best our communities have to offer in the way of youth 4-H contests, ag competitions, animal entertainment, and music– lots of music. With over 300 events during the 2-week fair, we made sure our communication pieces were creative and informative without being confusing and overwhelming. The audience that attends the fair is very diverse due to the wide range of activities and entertainment it offers. We promoted the rough and tough outdoor sports, monster trucks, and races to the male followers, 4-H events to families with children, and the Midway Carnival to school-age kids as well as the college crowd. We also learned from previous years’ surveys that we had a strong 50+ crowd that attended many of the concerts. Balancing this vast demographic and all the events on one page was exciting, and at times, a challenge. We continually expressed that there was something for everyone at the Super Fair and encouraged multiple generations to attend.
During the fair, we sent team members out to “go live” on Facebook, take photos of events as they were happening, and amp up exposure right up until the last day.
In 113 days, we gained 1,070 fans on the new Super Fair Facebook page alone. From May to June, Facebook fans grew 130%, post likes were up 400%, comments were up 1,400%, and shares were up 58%. Twitter followers also increased 178%. From June to July (leading right up to the fair), Facebook fans increased 138%, post likes increased 78%, comments increased 70%, and shares increased 117%. Facebook page fans increased another 40% in August, which was the month of the event. Overall, we were able to dramatically increase 2016 Super Fiar attendance from 2015’s fair, despite some difficult weather situations and short timeline.