For some time, I’ve wanted to begin a marketing column. Western Horse Review stats prove many of our readers, e-subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers are in the horse biz in one genre or another, so it makes sense to pool our resources and share what we have learned and know.
This Monday we\’re going to kick off by jumping right into the frying pan.
Why beat around the bush, right? Social media is the buzzword of the decade. Bar none. So, let\’s have a look at it.
I lead this off with the caveat that I am by no means an expert. However, I have taken a number of workshops, courses and studied the subject of social media with some intensity over the past few years. So, I\’m sharing what I have come to know. Feel free to jump in with your questions, viewpoints and knowledge.
The growth of social media is unprecedented. The recent hit movie, The Social Network showcased the incredible birth and spiralling popularity of one aspect of this phenomena. But, social media is about so much more than just Facebook. Officially, it encompasses sites like Linkedin, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, flicker and all the rest. Virtually any platform, where there is dialogue happening.
If you don\’t think the horse industry is on the social media bandwagon, I encourage you to spend an evening browsing through the various breed organization social sites. You\’ll find, in most cases, a massive, vibrant community of like minded folks in conversation. The American Paint Horse Association is paying tribute to their 35,000+ Facebook fans with this mosaic cover of their spring edition, encompassing some 17,000 Facebook photos. I bet every FB fan will be scanning it for their picture.
As an editor, I love social media. Why? Because for the first time in 18+ years, I have a venue for an immediate dialogue with Western Horse Review readers.
Don\’t get me wrong, I\’m not down on print media. I happen to be in the camp who believes magazines are not going to be extinct anytime soon. They have a shelf life about as long as any coffee table, and most of my horse friends still have those in their cozy living spaces, and barn coffee rooms. And often, there\’s a stack of horse publications on that table. Sometimes, right next to the laptop.
Print media is \”know\” media, it\’s a friend to settle down with, an environment where understanding is attained and knowledge is expanded. It\’s entertaining and insightful. It\’s a keeper.
Online media is \”flow\” media. It\’s what\’s happening in real time, this minute, this hour, this day.
I throw this in, because it is a good piece of information to keep in mind as you plan your marketing and advertising.
Social media is a fantastic form of engagement. And, I can visualize it at work for nearly any equine business genre you can throw at me.
I recently attended a quick workshop with a social media and online marketing blogger, Liz Hover. On her blog, you\’ll find a great list of resources. I\’m going to share the slideshow below with you, because I think it really hits the ball out of the park on both the the power of social media, but most importantly, it\’s purpose.
Folks who think social media is the next evolutionary move up from a website have it all wrong. Social media is simply a means of engaging with your customers, both present and potential. It leads to your website, which leads to your business.
Prior to investing your time and effort into social media, be sure your business, your home-base, is in order. For to jump on the social media bandwagon before having your ducks in a row back at the ranch, is counter-productive.
Then really think about what social media can do for your business. How it can help you understand your customer\’s needs and trends. That\’s key. Not talking, not broadcasting, but listening.
Well, this slideshow articulates it much better than I can, so I\’ll sign off now. We\’ll come back to social media in the future. Likely, lots. I\’ll show you what\’s \”sticky\” (hot right now) in social media, turn you on some very cool resources and also, some businesses who do it all, and do it well. (By the way, you don\’t have to be a giant corporate with a large staff, to get it all right.)
Let me know what you think so far, and see you next Monday!