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Social Media 101 for Equine Businesses

March 24, 2010

Image by Jim Robinson

On March 15, Elisabeth McMillan, owner and president of www.equestrianprofessional.com, presented a webinar called Smart Social Media Strategies for Horse Professionals & Horse Business Owners.

Elisabeth has 25 years experience as an equine business consultant.  Her Web site is built to advise horse trainers, riding instructors, professional riders, and stable operators through how-to videos, research indexes, forums, and webcasts.  The social media site provides horse professionals with business education and marketing tools.

I am going to recap the highlights of the 40 minute webinar for you, which is on social media strategies for equine professionals.  Here is the link to the actual webinar: www.equestrianprofessional.com/public/666.cfm.

To begin, Elisabeth defines the state of social media today in the equine industry. She says that there are vast platforms that allow equestrians to interact (comment and share) Online.  In the webinar there is a chart called Equestrian Professional’s Social Media Comparison Chart (viewed at 7:50 minutes in) that has demographic information pulled from various social media sites.  The chart shows that those who use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are generally more wealthy than the average population.  This highlights the importance for equine business owners to be social in social media, because equine sports is a relatively expensive sport.

It’s www.equestrianprofessional.com’s claim that 80 percent of equine businesses’ customers come from word of mouth marketing.  And since social media has elevated word of mouth marketing, it is important for equine businesses, to at the very least, understand the basic etiquette and success principles when using social media. These are guidelines on proper commenting on or critiquing of competing businesses and how not to come off too salesy in a conversational marketplace.

Next, she covers, how equine professionals can use different social media tools to improve their business.

Facebook:

Professional riders, tack shelters, stables, and equine events can be the basis of a fan page.  Those who are attracted to the subject of the fan page can congregate to learn information, post their personal related photos, and share comments.

My favorite Facebook equine fan club is The Equine Chronicle, which posts equine news and contests for fans to participate in.

Twitter:

An equine business thrives on Twitter by broadcasting to followers its news, viewpoint, advice, and links.  The business can follow other relevant, prominent equines tweeting, to stay abreast of industry news.

I like to follow EquineVetCare, an equine veterinary clinic, to follow health trends and advancements.

YouTube:

Those looking to sell horses or broadcast events have the opportunity to do so through the creation of a channel in video format where users have constant access.

A channel I visit HKJC, the Hong Kong Jockey Club.  My favorite video is of equines traveling with their horses to the Olympics http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrrVRqdRt80.

What other social media outlets or 101 tips do think are important for equine professionals?


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