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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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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