Chesapeake Family Gains STEAM With Winning 'Social' Campaign

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Instagram isn't just for celebrities. That's one lesson from Chesapeake Family Life's comprehensive 2019 SIPAward-winning entry for Best Social Media Marketing Campaign for its STEAM Maryland 2018 event.

STEAM Maryland is a one-day event designed to introduce Maryland students—especially girls—to opportunities in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) careers that they may not even know exist. It is a fun day of learning, observing and experiencing tomorrow's hot careers.


On Instagram, seven total posts for the STEAM Fair reached 1,468 people or 14% of Chesapeake Family Life's total followers. The posts included: building sail cars with the lead sponsor; introducing a female NASA scientist/tennis player/musician to encourage girls to look at STEAM careers; a celebrity endorsement from Neil deGrasse Tyson (okay, Instagram does like its celebrities); and a stargazing pitch from hobby to career. (Pictured here is a new magazine that previewed this year's event.)

"The goal of each post was to introduce some of the sponsor activities and create excitement among participants about doing each activity, as well as introduce some notable personalities with STEAM careers to inspire kids to think about their own possibilities."

Thirty exhibitor tables sold out the venue. Total parents reached via the social campaign only was approximately 31,010 or 62% of their total audience. More than 400 people attended.

Here are more takeaways from Chesapeake Family Life CEO Donna Jefferson:


Build a specific website and logo. Chesapeake Family Life created a very attractive and specific website ( and logo for the now-annual event, featuring a girl astronaut looking up to the sky. Half of the total attendees pre-registered on the website. (The second edition of the event took place last month with more than 500 people attending.)

Know your audience. "Keeping in mind that we reach a young consumer audience with school age children, who will primarily access content via mobile, the channels used included Facebook, Facebook events, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, which are mobile friendly and frequently used by parents," Jefferson wrote.

Create a Facebook Event page. Fourteen updates went out on their Facebook STEAM Fair Event site over 10 weeks, reaching 5,700 people with an engagement rate of 4.08% on the event page. Many of the posts promoted hands-on activities: "Make your own customized cookie cutter with the Key School at the STEAM Fair." "Kids can test their engineering skills."

Also post on your general Facebook page. On the Chesapeake Family Life Facebook page, 15 posts went out over a six-week period with an organic reach of 15,600. In one post, Dr. Mae Jemison, an astronaut, doctor and dancer, emphasized the connection between science and dance. In another, an Orthodontics sponsor asked what dirty teeth and peanut butter have to do with STEAM. Turns out a lot.


Sponsor and partner on positive events and causes. It really does make a difference these days—people notice. And the next generations are making more decisions based on causes they're aligned with. Supporting STEAM for kids—again, especially girls—with this event is a win-win initiative for Chesapeake Family Life.

Use Twitter closer to event. Chesapeake Family Life sent out 13 tweets in the three weeks leading up to the event, reaching 6,690 people. Again, the tweets stressed interactivity. "Crease, fold, crease, Details on our paper airplane contest at tomorrow's STEAM Fair."

Post on your YouTube channel. Short videos posted to the Chesapeake Family Life YouTube page accounted for 782 views.

Use LinkedIn to reach possible exhibitors and sponsors. "Why sponsor?" they asked on LinkedIn. "Partner with Science, Engineering and Art organizations that recognize the importance of STEAM education and its impact on our youth."

Do a wrap-up video or photo montage. The minute-long photo/video montage that Chesapeake Family posted after this year's event on the STEAM Maryland blog page will go a long way to encourage more sponsors to sign up and more people to attend next year.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…