The Great Minnesota Tweet Together

I’ve got my PTO request slip in my hand and I’m trembling with excitement as I look forward to the start of next week’s Minnesota State Fair. I grew up over two hours from the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, so my experience with fairs until I moved to the Twin Cities was relegated to some smaller fairs comprised of terrible cover bands, undercooked elephant ears and eight despondent goats going through the motions of being goat-like until they could head out to happy hour. Honestly, I’d like to think all my fair experiences before the Minnesota State Fair were kind of like training camp to prepare me for the awesomeness of hundreds of meat products on a stick, giant tractors taken straight from Gulliver’s Travels and real bands reuniting as they try to reclaim their moment in the sun from their one hit song back in 1976. It’s so close I can smell the excitement—or maybe someone just burned some food in the toaster oven in the office kitchen. I don’t know.

The Minnesota State Fair is known as “The Great Minnesota Get-Together” and according to my in-depth research on Wikipedia, it is the third largest state fair in the US. You’d think that an event that seems to set new daily attendance records every year AND has a 90 pound butter sculpture of the head of the newly selected “Princess Kay of the Milky Way” wouldn’t use social media to connect with the 1.7 million people that attended in 2010, but they do. After @MeetingBoy and my wife, @MinnStateFair was one of the first accounts I followed on Twitter. With over 250,000 likes on Facebook and almost another 10,000 on Twitter, the Fair is doing an excellent job of communicating with people attending, running contests, and most importantly, promoting the organizations and events at the Fair.

I’ll admit I don’t engage with the Fair on Facebook, but I do on Twitter. For anyone looking to leverage Twitter for business purposes, I highly recommend checking out their Twitter account. Not only do they push updates and information, but they actively engage people on the platform. Be it replies to people tweeting about the Fair, sharing links to fairground maps, answering random questions, or just making me hungry for new food offerings from vendors, the people behind the @MinnStateFair account do a fantastic job of building a community and engaging it with worthwhile content. While I am quite sure a significant amount of effort is happening in the background to manage the social media interaction for the fair, I think you’ll agree that it’s time well spent. I know it sure beats all the businesses that start a Twitter account, send out three links a day, and call it a social media marketing program.

There are a lot of “gurus” out there that will tell you how to do social media for businesses, organizations and non-profits. They’ll inundate you with an avalanche of advice and even more snake oil. But rarely will they give you a positive example of an organization that isn’t a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. More likely, they will enhance the negative related to a bad social media event and just say “good social media practice is not doing this.” In this instance, the Minnesota State Fair Twitter account is a great example of how to do social media right within a professional context and their page is worth a read, if not a follow.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have at least 30 jokes to write about the Fair for my personal Twitter account and at least 25 of those can’t be about the Miracle of Birth Center.

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