PR From The Saddle: Making the most of social media and PR
Returning with her expert advice, Tara Punter – of Tara Punter PR – encourages you to make the most of social media and PR for your equestrian business.
Why is social media a useful tool for equestrian businesses?
Social media delivers wide-ranging opportunities for businesses to reach their customers and prospects like never before. Facebook has 2.2 billion active monthly users (as at July 2018), Instagram had 1 billion and YouTube not only has 1.9 billion monthly users, but it is also the world’s second most popular search engine after Google.
Social media offers equestrian businesses an extraordinary channel with which to speak directly to both potential and existing customers using images, video, testimonials and more. Either completely free, or using the low-cost and flexible advertising packages offered by the platforms, social media is a really cost-effective way to boost the following areas:
Visibility: A social media presence is another way for people to find you. If you run a tack shop or feed merchant and create an Instagram profile for it, local people and those new to the area will find you if they are searching for a business just like yours.
Trust: Consumers are now highly likely to check out small businesses on social media prior to making a purchase from them. A professional Facebook page for a farrier with correct contact information and images of work carried out and that can put a face to the name will help people to trust you.
Word of mouth: If you own a livery yard and ensure you have a Facebook page, existing clients can share the details of your business page in local Facebook groups if someone is on the hunt for yard recommendations.
What type of content should you put out?
A great place to start is to this about the selling points of your business. If you are an equine photographer, then sharing your beautiful images on Instagram has got to be THE place to focus a lot of your energy. If you are a riding coach then you might want to share your great customer testimonials and videos of you teaching, so Facebook will be the perfect platform to help you find more business.
Video is key for social media and its relevance will only increase – in a recent HubSpot survey 54% of respondents said that they would prefer to see more video from brands. Video also helps you to get key messages across really quickly, as people are more likely to watch a video for a minute than to read something for a minute.
Something else to bear in mind is that you will need to be helpful and interesting and not too sales oriented on social media to ensure you get plenty of organic engagement. All the major social media networks are updating and tweaking their algorithms to make it so that only useful, high quality organic content that people interact with is widely seen. This means stepping away from only talking about your business and posting about industry events and news, giving opinion on newsworthy subjects and sharing other people’s posts and news.
Where to start with PR?
As one of our clients here at Tara Punter PR said very recently – “as much as social media has become a key part of advertising, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your product in print”. So why is print coverage so loved by business owners? Well, social media is a wonderful way of having a direct conversation with your audience but getting print coverage through PR has a very special added quality – it’s a recommendation from an expert. As an oft-quoted saying from former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gasseé states, ‘advertising is you saying you are good, PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.’
Take some time to think about the publications your ideal customer is most likely to read, look at the type of content they produce (monthly shopping pages, local business reviews, event calendars) and research the editorial staff who put the publications together. You will then need to produce a press release to send to them. If that sounds like it lies outside your comfort zone, here’s a very brief guide to writing a press release.
Consider the product, event or service you want to publicise and then start writing down answers to the following questions: what is it, why should someone be interested in it, when is it happening or being released, where is it (as in, where can you buy it, see it or when does the event take place) and how can you buy it or express an interest in finding out more. Then you will be able to flesh out the bare facts with more fun details and voila, you have a press release. Images are key to product press releases, so make sure you have high quality, clear images of your products to send too.
If this sounds a little daunting…
If you need a little help navigating the world of PR and social media marketing, Tara has plenty of experience of knowing exactly where and how to get the best social media engagement and some targeted coverage in the press. Digital media in particular changes incredibly quickly and something that works one month may be less effective another. Email [email protected] for more info!