Stepping into the social media deep end can be a very intimidating thing for some. Twitter posts can seemingly fly by in the wink of an eye, and Facebook appears to change its platform every other month.
But one of the greatest things about social media is you can just go do it. There’s very little, if any, barrier to entry and very few consequences if you get it wrong (former United States senators named Weiner aside).
Liam Killen, the founder of Abbeyview Equine (a marketing and web development company based in the United Kingdom) and co-creator of the Equestrian Social Media Awards, talks about why social media is important to equestrian businesses and offers his advice to equestrian businesses that are just getting started using social media.
“The beauty of social media is that you just do it,” Killen said. “You could sit and have meetings about meetings, but if you don’t just jump in and get on with it, you’ll never find out if it’s going to work or not.”
“Social media is about connecting,” he continued. “It’s about making acquaintances that you would normally never come across.”
Killen likened social media to being a city online where you have a high street and all the businesses are lined up there. “You’d walk past the USET, the British Horse Society, the French Equestrian Federation, then you walk past Ariat,” he said. “They’re all there. It’s a market place where you can send a message or comment on their wall, and they respond to you. It opens up so many opportunities. It’s just a genius communication tool.”
Mistakes to avoid
Making mistakes in social media is not the end of the world. But here are a few things Killen suggests to avoid:
Spamming: Seriously, don’t do this. If all you’re doing is promoting your own business, your businesses will quickly be ignored.
Expecting instant Results: Social media is apart of your long-term digital marketing strategy.
Not Putting the effort into it: If you only go on once a week, you really won’t see the benefit of it. To start out, plan to spend at least 15 minutes each day listening to what’s being said, sharing useful information relevant to your industry and asking and answering questions.
Tips for a better social media experience
Start conversations: Social media is about making connections and strategic alliances. It’s an online business-networking event that you can dip in and out of whenever you want. It takes time, but you have to be willing to start conversations with people. Don’t be afraid to ask the big boys questions.
Be interesting: You’re there competing with the Vatican and Whitehouse. Find interesting ways of promoting yourself and make your brand stand out amongst all the noise.
Networking: Social media is an online business-networking event that you can dip in and out of whenever you want. It takes time, but you have to be willing to start conversations with people.
“It’s all relatively new; no one is an absolute expert in social media,” Killen said. “That’s the beauty of it. I think people get intimidated by this massive hill they think they have to climb. All they have to do it just go in and dabble in it.”
Killen added, “It’s just like owning horses; you will learn something new every day.”