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 throughout 2011.
Over the past 11 months, 52 Fridays has looked at various aspects of horsebiz marketing, PR, and social media. This week, the Potpourri section of 52 Fridays continues with information about why it makes sense today to integrate your marketing efforts across these various platforms.
When it comes to cross-platform integrated marketing and the horse world, we’re all learning what works best. There are many challenges, including the broad variety of interests, disciplines, breeds, and people involved in equine sports, AND their wide range of access to technology and devices. That said, it’s a good idea to think through your marketing strategy and look at ways to combine traditional methods you might already be using (such as printed materials, ad space, etc.) with other methods you might not have tried before, such as news releases or social media.
Here’s a timely example – this weekend’s Chicagoland Equestrian Lifestyle Expo, presented by the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois. Since I’m doing a presentation on social media there this Sunday for the Pro Track, I’ll use their direct mail flyer to illustrate the concepts of cross-platform integration.
The Expo flyer is great – multi-fold, colorful, uses photos from past Expos and shares info about speakers, workshop sessions, area hotels, hours and entry fees, and where to get more details. It even includes a QR code (that funny-looking black & white square), and Facebook and Twitter icons indicating they’re social media-friendly.
What’s good about this is that Expo details are being shared on Facebook, including photos from set-up yesterday, and details about speakers; posts are being made both at the Expo Facebook page and the page for the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois. The QR code on the mailer takes you to the Expo website.
However, here’s a few examples where the ‘integration’ part could have gone the extra mile:
- Include the Expo URL in a prominent place on the mailer, and use the QR code for an ‘extra’ such as a high-energy, 60 or 90 second promo video that’s exciting, inspiring, and makes you WANT to go to the event.
- Include an ‘official Twitter hashtag’ for the event on the mailer, so that any Twitter traffic is easily searched for and viewed. It would also help for organizing ‘live tweets’ during the event, by attendees and workshop participants. I found several folks ‘tweeting’ (posting on Twitter) about the Expo, but they were using the full Expo name, which limits what you can say since each tweet is only 140 characters.
- Include the Facebook and Twitter account names on the mailer, to make them easier to find; while I did eventually locate both of the Facebook pages, I was unable to find a Twitter account for either the Expo or the Horsemen’s Council, despite several searches.
- Ask sponsors, speakers, vendors, and others affiliated with the Expo to not only post/comment on the Expo Facebook and Twitter accounts, but also to share information with their own networks. That’s how things go viral.
I’ve been a presenter for all four years of the Expo, so I’ve seen the marketing develop as it goes through some early growing pains. Establishing a huge event like this and developing its following is an enormous undertaking, and each year they’ve made improvements. I’ve used this as only one example of why it makes sense to think through how the various puzzle pieces of traditional and social media marketing fit together and why it makes sense to do so.
When you combine today’s economic pressures, fragmented audiences, consumer mistrust, and reliance on social networks for news and information, spreading your marketing messages across multiple media is currently the best way to get the word out about your horsebiz.
My social media tips workshop titled Fifty (Yes, 50!) Social Media Tips For Horsebiz Success is at 2:30 PM Sunday November 20th, and is part of the Expo’s Pro Track, specifically for equine stable and farm managers. I’m also partnering with Martha Thompson-Hoyt of the Palos Hills Riding Stables and New Traditions Riding Academy for a 2nd Pro Track presentation. If you’re a No Biz Like Horsebiz reader and you’ll be at the Expo, please be sure to stop by and say hello!
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