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.
Tag Archives: Facebook
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?
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.
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!)
- 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.
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:
- Equestrian Collections uses their Facebook account to share news & information relevant to their customers and Fans; they post Fan of the Month photos, and have giveaways & contests. Currently they’re running an essay contest, about what you’d do with a new pair of rainboots.
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.)
Maybe it’s just me, but my motto on Facebook is
‘proceed with caution.’
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.