Keeping a five-day event like World Dairy Expo (WDE) front and center in the minds of a worldwide audience year-round presents an ongoing challenge. A handful of social media platforms makes the job easier.
“Social media is a free-flowing communication tool that enables us to reach more people worldwide,” says Nicole Smith, WDE communications specialist responsible for managing Expo’s social media presence. “Anybody, no matter where they are around the world, can access our social media platforms and connect with us, not just during Expo, but throughout the entire year.”
Facebook and Twitter are the most popular WDE platforms. The WDE Facebook page has more than 26,000 fans. On Twitter, nearly 6,500 people follow WDE. “And we’re adding followers everyday,” Smith says.
The two platforms serve slightly different functions. Facebook is used primarily for posting press releases, announcements, videos and other news. “It’s a little more fact-based, a little more formal,” Smith says. “One of the best things about Facebook is it extends our reach to a global audience. We still send out press releases and other information to local media outlets, but now, people can access the same information just by viewing our Facebook page.”
Some Facebook posts are directed at user-generated content. “Fact Check Friday” is a weekly trivia question. Weekly winners receive a gift from WDE’s Purple Cow Gift Shop. “It’s very popular,” Smith says. “It gives us one more way to engage people and keep them thinking about WDE year round.”
Twitter is more popular with the younger generation of Expo enthusiasts. “Through Twitter, people have an opportunity to join conversations about what’s happening at Expo,” Smith says. “They can ask questions and talk about the things they’re seeing or hoping to see at Expo. We can get a better feel for what people like or what they want to see changed or improved.”
YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest round out the mix of WDE social media platforms. Highlight videos of ExpoTV’s livestream coverage of every single class in the cattle breed shows fill the YouTube page. Also posted are videos from Expo’s Virtual Farm Tours and the Expo Seminar series.
“With so much going on during the week, it’s just not possible for people to attend everything,” explains WDE marketing manager Liz Matzke. “Having the videos available on YouTube all year long means they can check out some of the things they might have missed or go back and review some of the events they attended.”
Pinterest serves as a platform for showcasing some of the best photographs taken at Expo. Boards include “Memories in the Barns,” “Expo Showring Pics,” “Purple Cow Gift Shop,” “2012 Expo Smiles” and more.
Also included is a board devoted to favorite grilled cheese sandwich recipes and one with photos of the farm families featured in Expo’s Virtual Farm Tours. Instagram shows happenings in the WDE office as well as at the show.
“These two platforms are a lot of fun for anyone with an interest in Expo, and they give us another opportunity to connect year-round with people who have been to Expo or are planning to come,” Smith says.