For over eight decades, the Cow Palace has been home to countless memories. From the first stateside performance of the Beatles to the iconic Grand National Rodeo. In 2015 we developed a plan to celebrate the venue’s 75th anniversary while also increasing its social media reach.

Due to high turnover and previous poor management, the facility had over seven different social media accounts with a fragmented online presence. We consolidated these accounts to two usernames across three platforms. With our audience finally defined, it was full steam ahead to amplify the anniversary festivities.

Using social media to capture the past

Developing the hashtag #mycowpalacestory giveaway campaign, we encouraged followers to share their memories from under the great dome. We integrated this call for stories into our email newsletter, reaching 10,000 subscribers, which netted an average of 100 clicks per message. Of course, coverage wouldn’t be complete without on-site activation and facility signage during our flagship event. But the last piece of the puzzle was allowing attendees to capture new memories with an on-site photo booth with real-time social media uploading.

The results rolled in as our social media audience increased by 60% to reach 9,000 followers. Additionally, we garnered 1.4 million post impressions, but the most captivating was the content we witnessed. The narrative ranged from a couple who married at the venue coming back to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary to welcoming a performer from the first Grand National Rodeo. Hard work often receives recognition; the #mycowpalacestory campaign collected the Western Fairs Association Innovation Achievement Award.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Everybody loves a freebie almost as much as they love recognition. Following our journey, we had the epiphany that sometimes the best way to tell your story is to let someone else do it for you. The takeaway, staggering the contest prizes would help increase submissions. By releasing giveaways to the campaign throughout its period rather than only at the close, we could utilize the winner’s stories to accelerate the movement. While we had a remarkably successful run, these learnings help to plan for the next year.