The Arkansas soybean industry contributes $2 billion annually to the state. Every soybean farmer pays into the commodity’s Checkoff program. Those funds are administered by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board (ASPB), which invests in research, promotion and education.
Our specialists conducted primary research through evaluations and audits of the demographics of followers on each ASPB channel. Research told us Facebook was the place for consumer-facing content with women accounting for 77 percent of users. We reviewed secondary research to back up the follower audit and discovered the majority of Twitter followers were farmers.
As a result, a social media campaign was created to communicate to our target audiences about the role and significance of soybeans in Arkansas through content that would appeal to them.
The social media campaign targeted Arkansas soybean farmers and consumers. The objectives for the campaign were to continue a conversation with farmers about how their commodity dollars are used, educate consumers on soybean-based foods and drive traffic to the board’s website. We projected a 20-percent increase as a result of the targeted campaign.
The team began with a channel audit and review of the previous year’s analytics. The next step was to interpret the follower audit in preparation for the board’s annual strategic planning session. In the planning session, we identified an overall communication objective for each target audience. Then we developed the strategy for the social media content according to each audience objective.
We have successfully integrated social media channels as a communications tactic since 2011 and have developed established followings for each channel, but the approach to content development was fairly organic, broad and not audience-specific. When ASPB developed a strategic plan for 2016, a social media campaign was included to communicate the objectives for the target audiences.
Our specialists developed an integrated approach for the campaign consisting of organic and paid content across all platforms. We budgeted $5,000 for the paid elements of the campaign. This approach allowed us to leverage paid reach to drive engagement with every target audience and drive traffic to the board’s website. We used four social media channels with an emphasis on Facebook and Twitter.
Since we know grocery shoppers are looking for healthy choices for their families, many of our Facebook posts focused on finding foods containing soy ingredients. The farmer-audience messages related to research spending and other checkoff-related spending, so we narrowed the focus of Twitter and tailored posts accordingly.
We developed monthly editorial calendars for each social media channel. These calendars assigned content by date and channel, which kept us in line with the overall communications plan and kept us on track for our deadlines. In addition to writing and posting content, we managed engagement and reported on activity for each channel, which helped us combat inconsistency within the different channels.
Analytics show the 2016 social media campaign succeeded in creating daily conversations with almost 3,000 followers across the social media channels. Website visits increased by 23 percent during the campaign and measured the growth of 26 percent with unique visitors. We grew the Facebook follower count by 45 percent, with Facebook Insights demonstrating a total reach of 414,000 Arkansans over the yearlong campaign. We increased our Twitter impressions per tweet by 515 percent.
Our findings showed each social media channel had an increase in followers and impressions, meaning our target audiences are still utilizing each channel as a mode of communication and education. We learned having an audience specific social media strategy increased engagement. At the same time, we learned the use of social media channels to direct traffic to the ASPB website was natural to learn more information.