Businesses use various marketing channels to promote themselves, their products and their services. Today, the world is a tough place to do business – the amount of competition out there in the equestrian sector is great, so it is of significant importance that you find and test new marketing channels to gain advantage over your competition and also concentrate your energy and resources on the channels which can deliver good returns on investment.

Over the last few years, social media has become one of the most widely chosen tools by marketers to create brand awareness and increase profitability. Whatever equestrian products your business offers, if you can get your social media marketing right, you will benefit from it.

So what exactly is behind the popularity of using social media in business?

1. The enormous volume of traffic across social networks

Digital Insights have produced an infographic on social media facts, figures, numbers and statistics for 2014. Statistics for monthly active users are found below.

Facebook 1.28 billion
Google+ 540 million
Twitter 255 million
LinkedIn 187 million
Pintrest 40 million
YouTube 1 billion
Blogs 6.7 million+ people blog via blogging sites

These figures demonstrate really how large your potential audience could be with social media marketing. You are able to utilise a huge user base to give yourself the opportunity to reach a wider target audience than you could hope to achieve with other marketing channels. With the number of active monthly users on social media sites, as shown in the table above, you can be sure that an overwhelming majority of your customers will have a profile on at least one of the sites, meaning that there’s a very good chance that your marketing messages will reach them.

2. Popularity as an online activity

Social media is one of the most commonly used online activities. According to the Office of National Statistics (2013 report), over half (53%) of all adults in the UK participate in social networking. Almost all adults aged 16 to 24 (93%) have used social networks in the past or present and one in every two adults (50%) aged 45 to 54 year olds use social networking. The average time one person spends on Facebook alone in a period of a month is 15 hours and 33 minutes – over half an hour every day.

A successful marketing strategy uses channels which customers are actively using. Social media provides you with that channel – a huge active audience of potential customers for your equestrian business.

3. Discovery of products

A recent report from Forrester Consulting on behalf of Wildfire, a division of Google showed that customers use social media primarily to engage with brands after they have made a purchase, but also throughout the entire customer lifecycle. For example, paid social media ads create brand awareness and customers turn to social networks and peer reviews to research and explore a new product or service.

The report also showed that customers who engage with companies with social media are ‘better’ customers, which was demonstrated by the positive correlation between social media engagement and survey participant’s preference for a brand, as well as their willingness to recommend that brand. What this means is that you cannot afford to miss out on having a presence on the right social media network. You could lose out on the opportunity for your equestrian business to be discovered by your potential customers.

4. Recommendations

Consumers are looking online for reviews on products and services to give them quick access to information which helps them make informed decisions about products quickly and easily. Seventy two percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (2012 figure, an increase from 67% in 2010). This growing trust signifies that users are making decisions based on fewer reviews.

When people engage on social media, many of them recommend products and services to their friends or family. These recommendations have even more credibility than online forums and review pages where users can be anyone, because they are made by real people, often friends or family members. If your product is recommended by someone on social media, there is a high chance that you will see increased volume of traffic to your website and that you will also see conversion to paying customers. These people are targeted customers – they have been driven to your site because they want to buy your product/service.

5. Authority in the equestrian industry

Social media is popular with marketers because of its ability to build industry authority relatively quickly, by publishing content and sharing it on social media sites. If you can create high quality content that demonstrates your expertise in the industry and share it with as many people as possible, it will get shared and re-shared by potentially hundreds more people. This creates brand awareness and establishes your reputation as a company who know their customers and can be trusted to meet expectations. Superior content also provides you with a way of boosting page rankings. For tips on producing high quality content, see Top Tips for well-written website content.

At design4equine, we are digital communications specialists with several years of experience in social media campaign planning and implementation. We can plan your content strategy for all network sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn and blogs, write and manage your content for you, as well as advise you on changes to the ways sites are being used by businesses, on new networks and new methods for successful social media marketing. Please contact us  for more details.