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Why you need social media for your 2018 riding goals – Sponsored by MD Barnmaster
2018 is almost here and with the arrival of a new year, we always attempt to reinvent ourselves with new self-commitments to improve our lives. Making changes is not easy and many New Year’s resolutions are often not kept after the first few weeks. But here is a New Year’s resolution that is actually easy and fun and is a great way for you to help grow the sport of Eventing (or any equestrian discipline) and your personal brand.
If you ride horses, you are an athlete and a horse trainer. As a competitor you naturally have goals. As you try to achieve your goals, you already understand the importance of having a strategic plan. Leveraging social media as a way to help you achieve your goals is often overlooked.
Having a solid social media presence on multiple channels can help establish you as a valued member of your sport and infiltrate a network that is critical to your success. This is important for multiple reasons and here are just a few that social media could help you with:
- Looking for horse;
- Selling a horse;
- Finding a trainer;
- Growing your business;
- Seeking advice on products;
- Attracting sponsors; or
- You are remotely broke down with your horses and you need to contact your network for quick assistance!!!!!
When people get to know you online, you become part of their tribe and this contact can be incredibly helpful in the future. To become part of the tribe’s conversation, you need to share. You need to be a valuable contributor with posts that engage, entertain, or educate! Your life IS important and the natural nosiness of human nature is what has been the core of the social media explosion over the last decade. People are interested in your life. Share it!
Which social media channels?
I strongly suggest that at the very least, you have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account. Post to these channels and treat them all equally to ensure that you are plugging into relevant followers. This may seem overwhelming but each channel has its strengths, weaknesses and purpose.
Your goals are unique and your social media strategy should be geared to help deliver on them. So before you jump into this arena blindly posting anything, ask yourself, why you’re looking to leverage social media? It might be one of the following:
- Simply to get involved and help grow your sport
- Increase your visibility
- Draw media attention
- Build a brand or specific reputation
- Connect with fans or build a fan base
- Inspire and motivate, share your journey
- Attract sponsors or owners
- Provide exposure for sponsors or owners
Develop a content strategy
First, prepare your annual calendar of competitions and commitments. This will be the basis of the conversation for your content strategy. Your planned activities will naturally feed content to your social media channels from your ‘conversation calendar’.
What to share?
Be sure to draw a line as to what you will share publicly and what is only meant for close friends and family. If you are on Facebook now, you probably have your Facebook profile (your personal account) and you may or may not yet have considered creating a public Facebook Page. These are very different types of accounts that Facebook offers and, as an athlete, you should become familiar with both. I suggest that you keep the personal profile fairly ‘locked down’ in terms of privacy settings and use it for connecting with friends, family and the like.
The Facebook Page, on the other hand, is a great platform to share your athletic journey and business updates publicly with the entire world. Twitter doesn’t distinguish between personal and business. Instagram enables you to have a personal or business account. Business accounts on Instagram come with analytic abilities and the ability to promote posts.
To determine the posts that you share, apply this 70/20/10 rule (for them/conversations/about you). Keep your posts short and sweet. Be sure to share other people’s interesting links, photos, videos etc. because you want to encourage others to share your stuff too. Social media is a two-way street!
Social media is here to stay and will continue to be the platform for information exchange between the masses. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your sport and grow your personal brand through pictures, videos and stories.
Creating good, compelling content isn’t easy but it becomes much easier once you have a ‘conversation calendar’ in place, a solid routine and an understanding of the types of stories you wish to share. So get your channels ready, create a calendar and prepare for 2018.
More assistance for your 2018 social media success is on the way
Tune in next week and I will help make this entire endeavour much easier for you. I have some great tools to help you create interesting content and schedule it with ease. Get your calendar completed in the meantime! Until next week…