52 Fridays – #16 Using Social Media: There’s A Policy For That

52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

Sharing information on social media can help build connections and attract customers. But too much information, called ‘oversharing,’ can be downright dangerous for your horsebiz. If you’re using social media for your business or brand, it’s a good idea to protect them from risk by developing a policy about what to share, where to share, and by whom.

It's a good idea to define what to share, and how much, on social media.

Social Media Is Often Free, But It Can Also Be A Free-For-All…So How Do You Protect Your Horsebiz?

There’s A Policy For That

Social media use for horsebiz is sort of a ‘wild, wild west’ right now. More and more people are jumping in and connecting via social networking sites like Facebook and ‘real time’ social media networks like Twitter, and more equine-related businesses are also getting on board. But when you’re new to social media, it can seem very intimate and personal, so you might inadvertently share information you don’t want others to know:

    • Do you take photos with your mobile phone at horse shows and post them to Facebook or Twitter? Your smartphone could be ‘geotagging‘ or marking photos with your exact location, potentially leaving your home and barn vulnerable while you’re away.
    • If you have employees, do they post to your business social media? Do they talk about work on their own social media accounts? The line between ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ is grey, at best, when it comes to sharing on social media, and inappropriate sharing by employees could affect your business or brand.

These are just two examples of the many ways that sharing on social media could hurt your horse business. It’s become such a potential risk, with real-life situations involving lawsuits, that insurance companies are now starting to develop social media insurance coverage.

But, social media and the interaction it can provide with customers can lead to beneficial opportunities for both, so proactively developing a policy, and putting it in writing, can help minimize risk to your horsebiz.

Setting up a basic social media policy can be fairly easy; you’ll want to include things like ‘avoid sharing proprietary information’ and ‘remember you’re representing the business both at work and during leisure hours.’ But think about the upsides of social media and the opportunities as well, such as ‘consider what our audience needs and wants from us.’

For more understanding on social media policies and what to include, here are some good resources:

Different types of social media have different benefits, opportunities, and risks. Start by becoming familiar with each kind as you’re getting started, and set up a basic policy for each one. You can revise as you go, but writing a policy after something’s happened is like closing that barn door once the horse has galloped away.

Does your horsebiz have a social media policy? Is this a whole new concept? Share your thoughts on social media, risk, and policies via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #17!

Read other 52Fridays posts by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #15.

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Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, Facebook, New Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

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