Tag Archives: Facebook

Monday Morning Quick Tip – Plan Ahead For Horsebiz Anniversaries & Special Events

Several big anniversaries have come across my radar screen this weekend, so I thought it was time for this topic, that of not only planning ahead for your own horsebiz anniversary events, but also being aware of how to leverage related events and weave them into your marketing messages.

Click here to read more about anniversary planning….

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Monday Morning Quick Tip – Are You Addicted To Facebook For Your Horsebiz?

This morning my local NBC station had a news item about average Facebook use increasing in 2011 by about two hours per month over 2010 usage. They billed it as ‘Facebook addiction,’ but how can you tell if you’re addicted when you can say you’re using Facebook for business use?

Click here to read more about Facebook addiction….

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52 Fridays – #17 Think You Don’t Have Anything To Share On Social Media? Think Again!

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.

Social media is about building relationships and community. Sharing interesting ‘stuff’ about your horsebiz with supporters, fans, customers, and followers helps them interact with you, strengthening connections and likely your word of mouth exposure. But when it’s something you’re immersed in (aka, your horse business), that ‘interesting information’ can be something you don’t even think about, because you take it for granted.

How can you start finding stuff to share? By going through your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly routines with a fine-tooth comb, making a list of photo or video opportunities, events, clients, horses, and then creating a list or calendar (remember 52 Fridays #4, What The Bleep Is A Marketing Calendar, And How Do I Use One?) to plan for capturing things when they’re going to happen.

Still need a few hints? Here you go:

  • It’s breeding and foaling season on many horse farms. Have someone take photos of your stallion doing his studly best to impress a teaser mare. Or take photos of newborn foals, even of the birth process if the mare’s OK with it. Follow a few foals as they grow up, with weekly photos or video and stories about their personality, misadventures, imprinting, and training.
  • Are you clipping horses for show season, or is the farrier coming out this week? Packing up for a show, expo, or tradeshow? What else is going on?
  • How about your lesson students or training clients? Photos or video of a portion of their lesson can be shared, with their permission of course! It’s a good idea to have a signed photo release when you’re sharing images of others on your website or via social media, especially with minors who need a parent to sign for them.

Sure, all this is part of your regular routine, but that’s the point…you’re allowing others who are interested in what you do and what you have to offer to have a glimpse into what makes up the tick-tock of your day. Do be cautious about ‘over-sharing’ your personal details, and your current whereabouts; for more information about that, check out 52 Fridays #16 from last week.

Here’s a real-life Facebook-sharing example I learned from Mandy Parker, the marketing coordinator and art director at Heritage Homes of Nebraska; we met in a virtual conference event (a sweet concept, watch for a blog post sometime in the future about it!).

Heritage Homes builds custom homes in their manufacturing facility for a swath of the Midwest and Great Plains states, plus Canada. They’ve recently started Web Wednesdays, sharing ‘in-progress’ photos of client homes currently being built. They get a signed release from each client, and post the images at their Facebook page. Here’s what Mandy had to say about their results:

“Our Web Wednesdays have been a great “like” getter for us.  We just started the program a month or 2 ago and have gotten about 100 likes from it.  I know 100 is small potatoes, but for us just starting the Social Media realm I am pretty excited.”

Those ‘likes’ are the start of a relationship with people who are interested in new homes, ‘dream’ homes, design and architecture, etc. They might or might not become customers, but Heritage Homes is making use of social media to connect and share with people who are interested in what they do. They’re also leveraging current business, because don’t you think the folks whose homes are featured are sending the Facebook link to their friends & family?

It’s also a good idea to keep recording tools close at hand, and make documentation part of your daily routine. Last year I was working on an article, and interviewed a trainer/breeder; she said she always carries a camera out into the pastures and shoots a few minutes of video of whatever’s going on, then posts it to YouTube.

The best social media sharing involves telling your story to to your community, in bite-sized pieces that you share with them over time. If you’re wondering what you have to share, you might be surprised at what you do find if you just take a look.

What do you share on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, or other social media? Share links to your stuff via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #18!

Read other 52 Fridays posts by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting the Facebook category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #16.

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

Monday Morning Quickie – Are Facebook Deals Better For Horsebiz Than Groupon?

As reported last week on Fast Company’s website, Facebook’s Deals has launched in five U.S. test cities. Due to the social networking aspect of Facebook, Deals could prove to be a better deal for the equine industry than Groupon, and here’s why.

Facebook Deals doesn’t focus on the cheapest prices, or the deepest discounts. Instead, the focus is on experiences, things that you and your Facebook friends can do together, deals that you can pass along to your network of Friends or Fans. Here are some Deals that were on Facebook when I checked this morning:

  • A 3-hour Tuscan cooking class for two at a California restaurant
  • A full-day photo safari and workshop
  • A hot air balloon ride with a tour of California wine country

You get the picture. Experiences to share, gifts for friends and family, memory-makers.

Creating memorable experiences will help your horsebiz take advantage of Facebook Deals

Now, what if those Deals were equine-oriented?

  • An autumn country outing, complete with hay-wagon ride, BBQ, fireside sing-along, and s’mores
  • A lunchtime workshop on how to bet the ponies, followed by an afternoon visit to your local racetrack to put those theories into practice
  • Art workshops on how to sketch, paint, sculpt, or photograph horses, with live equine models
  • A romantic trail ride & picnic dinner for 2 to celebrate a June wedding anniversary (remember, all those June brides have June anniversaries!)
Putting together a Deal might require some out-of-the-boxstall thinking:
  • Instead of a package of riding lessons, what about a riding lesson for a group of four friends, complete with a limo ride from their pick-up location to your facility and back, plus gourmet lunch al fresco and candid photos of the experience?
  • Instead of a birthday party with pony rides, what about ‘pony learning stations’ combined with games for kids to show off their newly gained knowledge, plus a barnyard treasure hunt with prizes?
  • For a tack shop, partner with a local stable to have a Fashion Day with the latest trends in clothing for the show ring, with outfits on horse & rider models under real-life conditions instead of just inside the store. Add in brunch or hors de oeuvres & drinks, and you’ve got a social experience.

What you come up with for a Deal depends on your own particular business, but I think Facebook Deals opens up a lot of interesting possibilities for equestrian businesses.

Remember, promoting experiences requires that you know your target audience; what will make them say ‘I can’t pass this up!’ and reach for their credit card? You’ll also need to put effort into your copywriting for the Deal, so that it paints a clear, compelling picture of the experience for your potential customers.

Read up on how Facebook Deals work here, and how your business can set up a Deal here. While currently only in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco on a test market basis, Facebook has plans to roll out Deals to other areas of the country.

What do you think of Facebook Deals? Would your horsebiz or equine organization use them? Why or why not? Share your thoughts on Deals via the Leave a Comment link below.

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Filed under Equine Industry Marketing, Facebook, Monday Morning Quickie, Uncategorized

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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52 Fridays – #14 Casual Interaction On Facebook Can Supplement Your Horsebiz Website

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.

Your website is your ‘official’ voice on the Internet. It’s a destination where web surfers can find you; it’s the online source of information about your horsebiz, about your services and what you offer to the equestrian world. A website can tell prospective customers a great deal about your operation, and about how you operate.

Facebook is also a ‘destination’ on the web, but it serves a very different purpose. Whether right or wrong, when logged into Facebook many experience an ‘ahhhh’ of community. ‘It’s safe; we’re all Friends and Fans here.’ Because of that community feeling, it’s easier to have casual interaction with people on Facebook, and that casual interaction can help them become strong supporters of your brand and perhaps even customers.

Now, I’m not saying if you don’t have a Facebook account to run to the nearest computer and create one! Facebook, like Twitter or blogging or any bit of technology, is merely a tool for carrying out your marketing objectives.

Personally, while I’ve got a Facebook account, I’ve focused more on Twitter and developing my community there. But, I do see the value of having a Facebook presence as part of an integrated social media strategy and marketing plan…IF Facebook fits into your overall goals, AND you have the resources to do it well.

Here are two equestrian businesses that I feel do a great job of interacting with their Facebook communities; I recommend visiting their sites to see what they’re doing and how they’re interacting with people:

  • The Horses In The Morning show on Horse Radio Network interacts with Facebook members during the M-F morning shows; when the show goes live, they also post links to both website and mobile device ‘listen live’ URLs, and provide the call-in number to the show. All of this engages people and invites them to not only listen, but to participate.
Facebook has value, but please think through what your goals are, and what resources you can dedicate to building and interacting with your Facebook community. Done poorly, a Facebook page can be a turn-off, and might even damage your brand.

Who do you know in the horse world that does a great job on Facebook? Let us know who they are and what you like about them via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #15!

Read other posts about Facebook by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting the Facebook category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #13.

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Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, Facebook, Uncategorized

Monday Morning Quickie – The Problem(s) With Facebook Page Conversions

Facebook recently began allowing business members to convert a Profile (which has a limit of 5,000 friends and was intended to be for individuals) to a business Page. If you’ve already done a conversion for your horsebiz, you might have experienced firsthand the problem(s) with this conversion. If you haven’t yet converted but are considering it, you might want to wait until the dust settles to determine if it’s really for you.

When the conversion option launched last month, many social media websites and Facebook-tracking resources wrote about it; I’m including several here for further reading:

You Can Now Convert Your Facebook Profile To A Facebook Page on Mashable.com

Facebook Now Allows Personal Profiles To Be Converted Into Business Pages on InsideFacebook.com

Facebook Profiles Can Now Convert Into Pages on AllFacebook.com

However, when it comes to Facebook, I’m a ‘wait and see’ kinda gal, since they’ve made some really boneheaded moves and mistakes over the years. Maybe it’s just me, but my motto there is ‘proceed with caution.’ Turns out that was the right move, in this instance:

Facebook Profile Migrations: A Cautionary Tale on Mashable.com

A friend of mine reported that after he migrated his Profile to a Page, he lost a great deal of functionality, including the ability to install apps, plus that his iPhone Facebook app simply wouldn’t work any more, stalling at the login page. And that’s just the tip of his problem iceberg. (Update: You can read about Dr. Geoff Tucker’s Facebook conversion experience here.)

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Maybe it’s just me, but my motto on Facebook is

‘proceed with caution.’

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Facebook has seen the error of its ways on these conversions, and they’re now offering a ‘migration appeal process’ (explained here on Elsterama.com) to help ‘accidental’ converters recover their original Profile.

However, note the fine print on Facebook’s Profile to Business Migration Appeal page:

“Profile to business Page migrations are meant for profiles that do not represent a person. If you have accidentally migrated your profile to a Page, you can submit your request for a reversal. Please keep in mind that we will remove your business Page if your profile is restored. We may reject any appeals that we deem to be inappropriate. Further, we may not reply to all submitted appeals.

So what should you do if you’ve got a Profile but want to set up a Page for your horsebiz? Here are a couple options:

  • Keep your Profile and set up a separate business Page. Use the security settings to limit access to your Profile, and manually work to migrate people over to your new Page, which can then become your public face on Facebook. It might take time, but you won’t have the functional problems with the recent conversion process.
  • I saw a creative ‘work-around’ solution by an equestrian business that had reached their 5k limit on their Profile – they simply posted a message on their Profile that said they’d reached their limit, and included the link to their new business Page. Anyone using Facebook would likely already know about the 5k limit on friends, and wouldn’t think twice about heading over to the other link.

I realize this post has gotten a bit long, but I wanted to give you information and resources on this issue that can cause some very real, very frustrating problems. I hope it helps.

Did you have problems with a Facebook Profile to Page conversion? Share your experience here via the Leave a Comment link.

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Filed under Equine Industry Marketing, Facebook, Monday Morning Quickie, New Media, Uncategorized