horses-morning-logoPeople throughout the world of horses face the same challenges as the rest of the world when it comes to marketing their equine related businesses and organizations. How to be noticed, get followers and convert those peeps into customer and clients.

Today I got to talk with the podcast host and horseman Glenn the Geek and horse trainer and top notch competitor Mary Kitzmiller on the “Horses in the Morning” show. (Full disclosure time: Mary is one of my current marketing clients). We talked a little bit about some of the key aspects of running a successful marketing program for equestrians and the rest of the horse world.

Coordinating your brand

Making sure the account names you use on your various social media platforms match your actual business or organization name. So for example with Mary, we have worked to get or change the user names she has on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+ to be “Mary Kitzmiller Horsemanship”. Like many people whose projects have grown up around them we started with a variety of names she had signed up with. Now she’s all matchy-matchy. You should be too because it’s much easier for your connections to remember you with one name rather than a variety of names.

Develop a clear public persona for your brand

I have a mini horse who has been trained to be a therapy pet. Iota McHippus has a Facebook presence that is way more active than some of my others. One of the reasons he’s so successful is he’s completely irreverent. You can count on him to bring you a daily dose of snark. His Facebook followers send him links and tidbits they find they know he will love, and they’re always right. They know exactly who he is and what he stands for. You and I can’t get away with the stuff he posts, but it’s just as important for us to create and maintain a clear public persona.

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Select the Social Media You Know You will Use

In a perfect world we would all have a robust presence on every single social network that comes down the pike because you never know which of our potential clients and customers are actively using their own array. But life isn’t perfect. There are horses to be ridden and fed, emails to be answered and a life to be lived. So you have to pick the ones that work the best for you and that you will actively engage in! Then post regularly.

Carefully Curate or Create Your Content

I make everything I post on behalf of my clients, my mini horse or myself stay within the following three guidelines. Content has to:

  • Enlighten
  • Entertain
  • Inspire

This keeps your followers engaged with you and with time they come to trust you as a very reliable source of information. Save any rants for your strictly personal accounts. Avoid controversy except where what you post will enlighten, entertain or inspire.

Horses are eminently photographable creatures and pretty much everything they do is beautiful. So keep your camera handy and take pictures of every day stuff. With the right photo editing app (I like Snapseed – works on iOS and Android) your casual snaps can become gorgeous depictions. You can further work your photos and turn those into beautiful photo posts using another app called Canva. It’s free. Get it. Now.

Limit Your Pitches!

Don’t use your social media as a advertising outlet more than 5 – 10% of the time. Become a go-to source of information first, because doing so legitimizes your eventual ‘asks’ that much more. What’s an ask? When you’re selling something, or asking for something or otherwise not providing enlightening, entertaining or inspirational content.

Update Your Website – A LOT

Websites that don’t get refreshed fall lower and lower in search rankings. Creating a self-hosted blog and creating engaging posts on a regular basis is a great way to keep your website fresh! Research keywords and phrases actual people use to search for what you have to offer and use those organically in your blog posts and pages. How can you tell if your website is out of date? This article should help.

Hashtags

#Hashtags are words and smashed together phrases that help content self organize on various online platforms. Twitter users got us started on the idea and now pretty much every social media out there allows for them. Create several unique ones for your business (match your branding) and use them on:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Etc

How To Work It

  • Be Discoverable – Use hashtags, coordinate your brand, stick with a distinct style and public personality
  • Be Nice – always take the upper road, never slam a competitor, thank anyone who weighs in – including your critics!
  • Respond – like people’s comments, answer questions, talk with them
  • Engage – ask questions, ask for feedback, ask for shares (just make sure in doing so what your followers are sharing will add to their own credibility), ask for opinions and ideas!

Hire Help When You Can or Must

So here’s my pitch. Forming new media marketing plans and helping clients accomplish these on a weekly basis is part of what I do. Contact me for more info. Like my Marketing Page on Facebook for tips and links. Sign up for my e-newsletter that also has tips and info.

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