On a noisy and content-saturated social media platform, it can be difficult to differentiate your equine business and reach new prospects. A successful social media strategy involves a careful blend of understanding your customer, crafting your messages and evaluating your performance.
Archer Creative talks with Remote Coach, Rider’s Diary and Flexible Fit Equestrian, three Australian companies excelling on Facebook, about the factors that make up an effective and engaging social media strategy.
Understand Your Ideal Customer
Without an in-depth understanding of who your ideal customer is, it’s virtually impossible to create real engagement through any marketing channel, particularly social media. On Facebook alone, more than 30 billion pieces of content are created and shared every month, making it more important than ever to understand the content that will spark your prospects’ interest.
As Fiona Dearing, founder at Remote Coach, says, “I have a very clear picture of the Remote Coach customer, so I endeavour to share and create content with these people in mind. It’s about providing content relevant to my market and ensuring it’s not just advertising my brand. I regularly offer free 5-10 minute audio downloads on popular topics, along with training exercises and tips people can use on their next ride, so followers are able to take something useful from my page.”
However, whether you’re building your fan base organically or injecting some Facebook advertising into your marketing mix, it’s crucial you have clear objectives in mind. While gaining likes is a boost for the ego, you need to decide what actions you’d like your community of fans to take after clicking the like button on your page. Are you looking to drive sales, increase newsletter subscribers or boost website traffic – or perhaps it’s a combination of all three?
“For my business,” Fiona says, “Facebook has really been the major player [in my marketing strategy]. I’ve been able to use it to send customers to the website or to encourage them to sign up to the newsletter, as well as to drive sales. As with most small businesses, I was very cash poor initially and Facebook advertising gave me the opportunity to set my own budget, as well as the ability to stop advertisements which weren’t performing, without being committed to a specific advertising spend.”
Craft Your Messages
Like any marketing channel, consistency is key on social media platforms in creating a strong and recognisable brand. From every piece of content you create and share, to how you select and design your images, every choice you make on social media determines how your brand is represented to the masses.
Claire Wilson from Rider’s Diary established her Facebook page in 2010. She believes a consistent approach and staying true to her themes have allowed her to successfully differentiate her business on social media. “I enjoy posting light and fun content, mainly happy riders and the journey of my daughter and her pony! When I’m happy, my fans are happy, and it really shows through in the images and messages you’re posting.”
With an online business, social media platforms have been integral to her marketing mix. However, as Claire says, “The likes are a fabulous reward as they enjoy your brand and the content on your Facebook page, but they don’t always turn into a customer. But, over time, as your relationship develops, most riders are excited to purchase [my] products.” While likeable content is essential for a growing fan base, it’s important to continue nurturing the relationship in other ways.
80/20 is an ideal content mix for every equine business. Alongside posts and pictures, contests and competitions are clever incentives to move your fans further down the sales funnel if executed with a solid call to action. However, it’s important to note Facebook should only be part of your sales strategy. A successful Facebook promotion or giveaway must be backed by a high level of customer service and a thoughtful follow-up process.
Evaluate Your Performance
Every equine business should measure their performance on social media on a regular basis. Depending on your business, this could be daily, weekly or monthly, with an additional analysis after each advertising campaign. Measuring and evaluating your performance on social media is fundamental to determining your return on investment.
As Sheree Martin from Flexible Fit Equestrian says, “We always are aiming to grow our overall number of page likes and aim to have a certain amount each week. We also look at the reach our posts are having. We want as many people as possible to hear about our new product or sales. We also simply like to see the reaction to a new design or product we release, and to obtain feedback from our customers.”
Keep in mind your goals for your social media presence. Not every post is best measured by likes alone. Sometimes, a high number of comments, shares or a specific action, such as opting in to your newsletter, is the desired outcome. Sheree continues: “Our most successful posts are usually product launches, competitions and giveaways. We are always listening to customer demand and trying to come up with new designs that we think our customers will love, and Facebook is the first place we share them.”
However, “some posts that are least successful are informative posts, such as ‘how to measure’ guides or fit diagrams, but they are relevant and help our customers, so we think they are worthwhile sharing.” Remember, not every post is destined to go viral. While you may not always reach your target of likes, comments and shares, you can receive other benefits, like positioning your equine business as helpful and knowledgeable.
Facebook and Your Equine Business
In conclusion, while there are certainly a number of benefits to being on social media, it’s fundamental you take the time to determine if it’s the right fit for your equine business.
As Fiona Dearing from Remote Coach says, “I’ve found social media to be absolutely necessary for my business. I think its relevance is at different levels for different styles of business. I pretty much launched my business on social media, however, an established business not selling a product related to technology may weight social media differently in their particular marketing mix. Most importantly, if you’re going to run social media for your business, you need to be active on it.”
Social media platforms allow your equine business to build long-term relationships with local and international audiences simultaneously, and affords you the opportunity to run highly targeted and flexible advertising campaigns.
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.