By Sophie Barrington
Founder, Archer Creative
Social media has created unprecedented opportunities for equine businesses to talk to their customers. But, we must remember, it’s social first, sales second.
In this blog post, I share 10 lessons for social media marketing, including five dos and five don’ts.
To listen to the original podcast version, featured on Horse Chats Show, click here.
For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to focus on Facebook as it still stands as one of the most popular platforms used by horse lovers and horse businesses. But, let me be clear, the dos and don’ts shared are, by no means, exhaustive. Let’s start with five signs your horse business is misusing social media…
#1. You’re Expecting Instantaneous Results
For many businesses, the promise of social media is a lucrative one. They set up a Facebook page, start posting about their product or service, and don’t see immediate results. In a short time, they’ve already decided marketing doesn’t work.
The reality is, it takes time to build your following, create trust with new customers and lead them to the point of sale. Facebook must form part of your long-term marketing strategy if it’s to be fruitful.
#2. You’re Ignoring Facebook Analytics
Too often, businesses start posting on Facebook without a plan. They post updates, run competitions, and promote their products or services without properly considering how this activity feeds into their overall marketing strategy.
As such, they’re often not using the valuable data that Facebook offers. Every dollar invested in a marketing must provide a return and Facebook analytics help you to measure this. I implore you to become a data driven marketer.
#3. You’ve Passed Social Media onto Someone Unqualified
It could be a friend, a family member or someone else who is willing to manage your Facebook page – often out of the goodness of their heart. But, by doing this, businesses usually run into other challenges.
When social media marketing is passed onto someone unqualified, it’s hard to separate the personal from the professional. Typos slip through, the page falls silent, and it becomes harder and harder to place the blame for poor results.
Cutting costs in the short term may lead you to losing results in the long term.
#4. You Rely Only on Social Media, Without Considering Other Forms of Marketing
At the start of this year, businesses got a stark reminder of the volatility of Facebook. Facebook is a platform that can change the rules when they want and how they want, and there’s not much businesses can do about it.
A true marketing mix incorporates all five channels – owned, earned, paid, search and social. Social should form one part of your marketing strategy, not its entirety.
No business should dedicate their entire marketing budget to just one channel.
#5. You Delete or Ignore Negative Comments or Reviews
In short, don’t do this. By deleting or ignoring negative comments or reviews, you miss the opportunity to right a wrong. Facebook users expect transparency from businesses on this platform, and a delete or ignore appears downright shady.
If you receive a negative comment or review, reply as quickly as possible and keep it positive. If suitable to do so, reply to the actual comment or review publicly, so others can see you’re dealing with it, then follow up the matter privately to ensure it’s fully resolved.
Now, let’s delve into five ways to build your following on social media…
#1. Get to Know Your Audience
Social media platforms, like Facebook, allow businesses to communicate one-to-many with prospects and customers. It adds a human element to your brand and should be used, first and foremost, to build relationships.
So, ask questions, champion your customers and seek feedback. After all, business isn’t B2B or B2C, but P2P – person to person – and by focusing on your customers first, you can become a brand others know, like and trust.
#2. Set a Budget for Social Media
With Facebook’s most recent algorithm change that aims to promote posts from friends and family above businesses, it’s getting harder than ever to reach audiences organically without allocating a budget to social media marketing.
Above all, your budget should align with your growth goals. If you have significant objectives you want to achieve using social media, then your budget will be higher. Keep in mind too the stage of your business – be it start up, growth, expansion and maturity.
#3. Follow the 80/20 Rule
It’s a simple one, but one that many businesses tend to disregard. Like your website, your social media channels aren’t just a mouthpiece for your business. 80% of the content you share should be social, with only 20% focused on sales.
The purpose of social media is to build relationships and drive sales, but relationships must always come first. Create and curate content that is entertaining, educational and empowering.
#4. Understand how Facebook Can Drive Sales, Inside and Outside the Platform
While Facebook continues to add sales capabilities to its platform, Facebook isn’t necessarily the place where new customers will be want to do business with you. However, it’s importance as a sales tools cannot be underestimated.
The core goal of your sales posts should be to drive traffic away from Facebook and towards owned channels where you are in control, such as your website or a landing page. Facebook is normally just the first step in the sales funnel.
#5. Provide Exceptional Customer Service on Facebook
Fast and efficient customer service that makes your prospects and customers feel important is one of the most important aspects of your social media presence. That’s why Facebook rewards those who are most responsive to messages.
More and more, people are using social media to contact businesses, instead of their office phone numbers and email addresses. Use Facebook as a customer service tool to make an excellent first impression.
Looking for some outside support? Don’t wait for success, create it — with the experts in equine marketing, Archer Creative. To learn more about how we can help you exceed your growth goals, call us on 1300 077 126 or visit www.archercreative.net.au.