10 tips for a killer social media strategy for your equine business
Rhea Freeman is a U.K.-based equine marketing expert and business coach. Her unique approach to working with her clients to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy for their small and medium-sized businesses has earned her multiple awards and international recognition.
The Alltech ONE Conference was lucky to have Rhea speak virtually all the way from Europe about 10 strategic marketing tips for social media. While Rhea focuses on equine businesses, her philosophies apply to any brand that is looking to expand their online presence.
#1: Find your people.
As Rhea reminds us, “Social media is not about you. It’s about ‘them’ and how you can serve them better.” As such, the first step to meeting your social media business goals is to do some market research and figure out where your audience hangs out online.
It seems obvious, but simply asking people where they spend their time and observing your audience out in the real world will help you identify which social platforms will make the most sense for who you want to interact with online.
#2: Define your objective for each platform.
In the words of Zig Ziglar, “You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal.”
We would add to this that to build a social media following, you need to have concrete goals.
Each social media platform is different. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter — the list goes on, but what most of us know is that each platform serves different purposes and audiences.
Before jumping into content creation, decide how you want to use each platform where you have a presence, and create content according to the audience you are serving on that particular site.
#3: Post with intention.
Science has found that the average person currently processes as much as 74 GB of information per day through all different types of media. This is equivalent to watching 16 movies per day!
For reference, 500 years ago, 74 GB of information would have been what a highly educated person consumed in a lifetime.
And every year, the amount of information we process daily is estimated to increase by 5%.
So, what does this mean for social media? It is easy for brands to get lost in the noise.
When you post, don’t do it just to fill space. Have intention behind what you post, and use your platform to make a difference.
Understanding the purpose behind each post is critical. Rhea suggests asking yourself what you are trying to achieve with each post. Here are some examples:
- And more!
#4: Create quality content.
It is important to differentiate yourself and your brand by creating content that is as good as it can be. In Rhea’s words, “Be on a constant quest for improvement.”
If your image is what makes people stop, your caption is what drives engagement. Don’t skimp on any part of your content; it is all important for long-term growth on social media channels.
#5: Be consistent.
Rhea suggests thinking of your social media like a TV show. Remember the days when recording a show and rewatching it later were simply not an option? You knew that every week, on Thursday nights at 8 p.m., your show would come on — and you would show up for it, running to get snacks during the commercials!
If you are not consistently showing up on social media, your audience will wonder what happened to you, and they may even draw conclusions that you are no longer in business.
So, keep showing up. And keep creating content with the intention to make a difference. Your audience will notice.
#6: Be aware of your branding and style elements.
The goal of social media is to drive brand awareness through connection. What you are striving for is to create content that people recognize and associate with your brand, even before they see who posted it or your logo in the corner of the profile image.
Design isn’t everything, but it is certainly a component of a comprehensive marketing strategy, and it will help distinguish your brand from the rest.
Play around and have fun with your brand design, and remember that it is a reflection of your business.
#7: Encourage and nurture engagement.
Remember, social media is the cocktail party, not the university lecture.
Social media marketing allows us to reach our customers in some amazingly powerful ways that we do not want to take for granted.
Ask your followers questions on stories, feed posts or videos, and be sure to respond to what they post in their replies. Some of the greatest needs of humans are to be seen, heard and appreciated.
Listen to your followers, learn what matters to them and take the time to nurture your online relationships.
#8: Use the tools inherent in each social media platform.
No matter which social media channel you’re looking at, these apps were designed for people to use! This means that there are fun tools within each platform that were created to help you engage with others. Some examples include poll questions on Instagram stories, video editing features on TikTok and more.
Experimenting with different functionalities can help increase your reach. It can also help with market research by showing you what types of content are most relevant and engaging to your audience. Channel your inner construction worker and use that toolbox!
#9: Use the platform as a user.
Creating a social media marketing strategy is very important, but don’t forget to have some fun!
- Engaging with other people’s accounts
- Following the hashtags that interest you
- Reaching out to new people
- Building relationships and connections
- Getting inspired by what others are doing
Think of social media as attending a conference day in and day out: It is a major networking opportunity that is waiting for you to engage. In fact, we’ve heard that social media is on par with the networking opportunities you will find at the in-person Alltech ONE Conference — and that’s saying something!
#10: Don’t become overly focused on the number of followers you have.
It is important to not become too obsessed with the number of followers you accrue. Of course, growing your following is important, but quality definitely rules over quantity when it comes to social media.
Make your social media goals all about growing a genuine following and connecting with them authentically. That will trump any number of bought or misaligned followers any time of day.
Thinking back to the networking example we mentioned previously, if you go to a conference with no interest in any of the topics being spoken about, why are you there? The people there are likely not “your people,” and you will find the experience very unfulfilling.
The same rule applies to social media: Go where you can find a community, and cultivate that connection and warmth on your own channels.
Wrapping it all up
Rhea ended her thorough presentation with this bit of wisdom: “Social media isn’t just about the sale. It is about community expansion, growing a brand, creating loyalty and celebrating and connecting with your people.”
Whatever your social media goals are for your equine business, put these principles into action and have some fun! We guarantee you will see results.