Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

Greetings Industry Insiders!

With the 40th Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism under our belts and 70-degree temperatures in the forecast, we are springing forward into a bright season of tourism in Arkansas with new museums, galleries and speaker series on the way.

Read the latest industry news below to learn about the additions in Arkansas, as well as a few social media tips from Arkansas bluegrass musician Derrick Ball!

Sincerely,

Joe David Rice



40th Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism Wrap-Up

If you attended the 40th Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Rogers March 9-11, 2014, please take a moment to fill out our short survey. Your participation in this questionnaire will help bring success to future tourism industry functions.

Photos of the conference are now posted to our Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism Facebook page. Take a look and tag the faces you know!



Three Arkansas Towns Featured on Garden & Gun Southern Towns Bracket

March Madness has a new meaning thanks to Garden & Gun Magazine. Thirty-two Southern towns are competing in the Greatest Southern Towns Bracket, including three of Arkansas’s own: Bentonville, Hot Springs, and Fayetteville. Support your favorite Arkansas town by voting here.



Marshals Museum Receives Grant from Rockefeller

The U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith received a $100,000 grant from Lisenne Rockefeller to fund a lecture series in the name of her late husband, Lt. Gov. Winthrop Paul Rockefeller.

The three-year Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Lecture Series will welcome speakers from governmental branches to speak about how the marshals’ history relates to each branch.

Lectures will be free and open to the public. The museum will make podcasts of the talks available to broadcast on social media and educational outlets.

The museum, located near downtown Fort Smith on the banks of the Arkansas River, is set to open in 2017, with a groundbreaking on September 24.



Amazeum Receives $1.5 Million from Walmart Foundation

The interactive Amazeum, set to open in 2015, received a grant from the Walmart Foundation of $1.5 million.

The grant will enable the museum to have a temporary gallery to display traveling exhibits, keeping it fresh and relevant. The Walmart Foundation has not yet chosen a name for the gallery, which will be on Northeast J Street near Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The Amazeum has a capital campaign goal of $28.5 million. To date, the museum has raised approximately $20 million. Click here to read more.



Social Media Offers a Group Experience

Arkansas bluegrass musician Derrick Ball is a fan of social media and he often uses it to promote his band, Interstate Thirty. “What I love about bluegrass is that it’s a participatory group experience, and that’s a little like what you see in social media,” Ball says.

It may seem an unusual comparison, but it’s apt. In fact, there are some valuable social media lessons that brands or marketers can glean from bluegrass jam circles.

Ball provided a few simple tips about bluegrass circle participation that translate well to the social media world:

#1: “Go get your instrument” – When someone takes a seat in a circle jam, the other players want you to participate. They expect it. The same can be said for social media. Don’t pull up a chair if you’re not going to take part and offer something of value. If you join the social crowd, bring a distinct voice and, most importantly good, helpful content.

#2: “Find the right group” – Ball points out that bluegrass is sometimes clique-ish. When bluegrass circles form, the groups segment based on skill level, preferred style, and other factors. “You gravitate toward the group you know or a group that is playing what you like,” he says. In one respect, social media is one giant clique that brands desperately want to be a part of, but the social media world – like the real world – is full of different interests and personalities. Some people talk politics, others post about food. Some people love interacting with brands and some don’t. Before jumping in, get to know your target audiences well and pay attention to who is already “playing your song” (who is talking about your area of specialty or even your specific brand). Take time to find out where your music is being played – is your audience full of Facebook users? Twitter lovers? Pinterest fanatics?

#3: “Admire from afar until you’re ready or invited” - In a bluegrass circle, you’re expected to participate, but you’re also expected to follow some basic etiquette: Don’t “hog the jam” by not following the established sequence or getting out of tune with the other players; and don’t be too loud and drown out others. Ball explains that “it’s customary that everyone gets to express what they want to hear.” To sum up the lesson here for marketers: Listen. Pay close attention to what’s happening in social conversations and what people are sharing. When you and your brand appear on the scene, ask the community what they want or expect from you.

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