It's true what they say: Things actually are different in Texas.
As anyone who's spent much time here knows, this huge, diverse state has its own rules and nuances--it may as well be its own country.
And those differences don't apply just to Texas culture. They're found in business, as well--and that includes social media marketing. Take it from someone who not only grew up in Texas, but also has spent over a decade running my own digital marketing agency here.
If your brand is trying to reach Texas audiences on social media, here are three things to remember.
1. For a surefire win, appeal to your audience's love of state.
Remember the slogan "Don't mess with Texas"?
That slogan has become so ubiquitous that many people (outside Texas, that is) aren't aware of where it came from. It was--and still is--a campaign by the Texas Department of Transportation to reduce littering on roadways, and it's been so successful that it's still going strong after 34 years ("Don't mess with Texas" was first launched in 1986).
Why has it worked so well? Because it calls upon Texas drivers', especially truckers', sense of state pride--and that's something Texans have in abundance.
One thing to be aware of is that Texas is a huge state, and not only in geographical size. East Texas is different from Central Texas, which is different from West Texas. The same is true of Austin, Houston, and Dallas. So, if you're marketing a highly local brand, product, or service, make sure you take the time to understand the nuances of that specific region or city.
Of course, insincere or gimmicky attempts at activating state pride will fail fast, if they don't entirely backfire on your brand, so it's critical to ground any social media campaigns in an authentic knowledge of the state and its people.
2. Legacy matters and heritage looms large.
If your brand has a strong story or legacy, make sure to spotlight it. Heritage is important in Texas. It means something here when a brand's been around for a while.
My company, Zen Media, was lucky enough to work with a true legacy brand, Collin Street Bakery, for many years. The bakery was founded in 1896, and it remains family-owned and family-operated--you might know Collin Street for its famous DeLuxe Fruitcake, which is still baked according to the original Old World recipe that 19th-century customers loved so much.
A huge part of our work with Collin Street Bakery was around spotlighting that incredible history, both on its website and on social media. By sharpening that focus and telling that story more effectively, we were able to skyrocket social media engagements and reach, helping to create a whole new generation of DeLuxe Fruitcake lovers.
3. We love a good "home story."
Think about the transformation of Waco, Texas, from distressed, dusty town to tourist mecca that welcomes 50,000 visitors per week.
That transformation is greatly due to Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Waco-based owners of Magnolia Homes and stars of the mega-popular HGTV reality show Fixer Upper. The couple began flipping houses on TV back in 2013, and have since launched Magnolia magazine, a massive Magnolia retail operation, and a Magnolia home design line, among other ventures.
While there are many facets to the Gaineses' success, one of the most important is how deeply local Fixer Upper always was. It was filmed in Waco, the homes were in Waco, and Chip and Joanna are Waco locals--and that was always a big part of the show's charm, not something that was ever hidden or minimized.
If your brand has deeply local ties, show them off. Don't hide your affection for the town your brand was born in. Texas audiences respond to that kind of local pride, just as they do to state pride. If you can tell the story of the place your brand came from in a compelling way, we'll gladly come along for the ride.
If there's one "don't" when it comes to appealing to Texans on social media, it's this: Don't get political. Stereotypes about Texas politics abound, but we're a big stage and we have folks all over the map when it comes to beliefs.
Appealing to Texas audiences on social media means owning your heritage, showcasing your history, and never hiding what you love about this great state. If you can do that with authenticity, you'll do well here.