Equestrian & Rural Digital Marketing

Digital marketing can sound scary and ‘big’, but I promise you two things. One, it is as big as you want it to be. And two, you need to get a handle on it and make it work for your equestrian or rural business.

This kind of marketing can take many forms. I think of it as anything that is digital – as in – online. There are lots and lots of ways you can promote your equestrian or rural business online and so this area contains quite a lot of information.

But please, please, don’t be afraid of it. This form of marketing is a real gift as the entry level in zero – you can start with no financial outlay and the effort you put in can really deliver amazing results if you just give it a go.

Well hello there- and welcome to this Small & Supercharged podcast… well, the show notes. To listen to the Small & Supercharged Podcast, you can listen below or you can follow the iTunes link here. Today it is all about Instagram Stories. I adore these. I add to mine every single day and I love the engagement, the comments, the responses and more I get from it. In this Podcast, all about Instagram Stories, I share why I love them, five ways to use them… and there’s a freebie you can download too. I know, I spoil you. Enjoy…

Let’s talk about Instagram Stories…

 

Let’s talk about Instagram Stories and how you can use them for your small business

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 8 – Instagram Stories. What you’ll hear in this episode..

  • The difference between Stories and the grid… and the difference in the kind of content you’d post on the two
  • How Instagram Stories can be used to show the behind the scenes of images you post on the grid
  • How to access Instagram Stories (sorry if you feel I’m teaching you how to suck eggs. I just think it’s good to make sure everyone can get involved).
  • We talk through the different kinds of Stories.
  • Why I usually do Stories when walking the dog (and why you might like to do something similar).
  • We talk through ‘behind the scenes’ ideas.
  • How you can use them to share a thought, talk about something you’ve seen and loved… or just #firstworldproblems. Such as when you have a hole in your sock… yeah… I’ve added that to notes too. I’ve not got over that…
  • We talk about how you can use Instagram Stories to show a process – taking ‘behind the scenes’ to an extra level.
  • How you can use stickers and how these can encourage engagement and can also create additional content.
  • Using Stories to show what’s new. You should never use social media as a hard sell, but you should use it to tell your customers, fans and followers about you and what’s new.
  • I touch on shoppable links and how these can be integrated.
  • How to hide hashtags in your Stories, and why hashtags are good on Instagram Stories.
  • And for the freebie – download the pdf here about Five Ways To Use Instagram Stories.
  • Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram.

If I’ve whet your appetite, I have a few blog posts about them too. To get some tips, tricks and hacks to take your Instagram Stories to the next level, they’re all on this website!

Do you use social media in your equestrian business? If you’ve answered this question with anything but ‘yes’ (and ‘meh’ and ‘kind of’ counts as no!), you’re missing out. Social media can be game changing for your equestrian business in lots of ways. I don’t want to overwhelm you and leave you tutting/shaking your head or throwing your computer across the room… so here are just five reasons to use social media in your equestrian business…

5 reasons to use social media for your equestrian business

Reason 1- Equestrians are on social media!
It’s so, so important to be where your customers are. And the good news is for you, you equestrian business owner you, THEY’RE ON SOCIAL MEDIA! With over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 1 billion on Instagram, there’s a LOT of people to go at… and a number of these are equestrian!

Reason 2 – Your equestrian business can reach new people if you use social media

social media for equestrian businessYour social media won’t just reach your current customer pool – depending on how well you use the platforms, you have the opportunity to reach new people interested in your brand/products and services all over the world… or just a few miles away.

Reason 3 – You can use your social media to show behind the scenes of your equestrian business

Customers and people who might be future customers love this. This might be you receiving a new delivery, opening corporate clothing, visiting a sponsored rider at home… you name it. This allows your customers to see what really makes your equestrian business tick. And you can utilise this ‘behind the scenes’ story telling in so many different ways with video, Lives, filters and effects… the social media world is your oyster.

Reason 4 – It’s free to get started

How many ways to market your equestrian business start at zero cost? Completely free? You can get yourself set up on all the places your customers are NOW and start promoting your equestrian business through social media. Within the next hour you could have fans and followers on all these platforms for nothing. How good is that?!

Reason 5 – People buy from people

Don’t just use your social media as a way to tell people to ‘buy stuff’. No. It’s social media for a reason. And a good reason. It’s the perfect place to be sociable. The internet is the most amazing tool but the screen and a lack of face to face contact can make customers feel distant. And they feel the same distance too. So how can you address that? But using your platforms to communicate directly to them. Become the face of your equestrian business, like you would if someone walked in your shop. This is a great way to bridge this gap in the digital world we live in.

I’m hoping this ‘take five’ blog series will inspire you, make you smile… maybe it’ll just get your head nodding as you enjoy a well earned cuppa and a biscuit. Either way, I’d love you to carry on the chat over on Instagram or Facebook. Hope to see you there.

In this episode, we’re talking about collaboration. Oh – I LOVE collaborations! My most recent TEDx talk at TEDxTelford was all about it (it was called ‘Killing it with creativity and collaboration), so don’t just think I’m wittering on about it… I love it! This is a solo show, so I’d like to start now by thanking you for hanging out with me for the next few minutes. I hope you love it…

Have a listen here…

Let’s talk about collaboration and why you need to get on board with it for your equestrian or country business

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 6 – collaboration… what you’ll hear in this podcast episode…

  • We talk about the power of collaboration and how my latest TEDx talk was all about it.
  • We chat through an example of a recent collaboration between Karen & Clan, Hiho Silver, Morris Richardson Watches and Fairfax & Favor.
  • We talk about how to find the perfect business to collaborate with and talk through some examples connected to equestrian businesses, to help inspire you.
  • That whatever business you have – whether you have a service, product or experience- you can find one that matches
  • We talk about why it’s important to make sure the companies you pick to collaborate with share you ethos and values… and why that matters.
  • Why aligning your audiences is important when you’re planning a collaboration.
  • Why it’s important that there’s something in it for everyone, and other ways you can add value to bigger brands if you’re a smaller one.
  • The importance of not being limited when you’re thinking about collaborations. Giveaways are great, but there’s a lot more you can do if you want it.
  • Why it’s important to make sure that it’s easy for your customers to get involved. And why simplicity is good.
  • We talk about how you can collaborate with more than one brand at a time… but also talk about the limitations to this.
  • We speak about the cost of collaborations (spoiler alert… this is exciting!)
  • And we talk about how to find these people by getting to know them before you ask about working together.

Subscribe to the Small & Supercharged podcast on iTunes

I know I’m HUGELY biased but this episode is an absolute corker. I got to chat to the lovely Lucy Robinson (aka Footluce Eventing) in her capacity as Marketing Assistant for Fairfax & Favor. We talked about the current Fairfax & Favor Breast Cancer Care campaign the company is running, to raise funds for the charity. This is the third year that Fairfax & Favor has got behind the cause. And in this podcast you’ll find out why. Have a listen here…

Let’s talk about Fairfax & Favor’s Pink Tassel Campaign with Lucy Robinson

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 5 – Fairfax & Favor’s latest campaign, raising funds for Breast Cancer Care, big shoes to fill and why it all started. What you’ll hear in this podcast episode…

  • How the campaign began three years ago and why this particular charity is close to Marcus and Felix’s (the founders of Fairfax & Favor) hearts.
  • The last three years of the #fairfaxandfavorbcc campaign and the different products that have been used over the years.
  • How much has been raised each year so far to support this amazing charity.
  • How this year’s Fairfax & Favor Breast Cancer Care campaign has been promoted including a sneak peak at one of the jewels in the British Eventing calendar.
  • Why and how the design for this year’s tassels is completely different to standard tassels.
  • The value of customers and influencers of all sizes (and coming from a brand like this, if you’re ever feeling ‘meh’ about the size of your following, you need to hear this!)
  • Goals for this year’s Fairfax & Favor Breast Cancer Care campaign, and more…

How can you get involved in #fairfaxandfavorbcc?

You’ll also find out how you can get involved… but I want to reiterate it here too. The most obvious way is to buy a pair of Limited Edition tassels. The proceeds from each sale go straight to the charity to fund its amazing work. When you have these pink bits of magic in your hands, you can do even more to help if you like…

  • Post an image/series of images on your social media platforms. Don’t forget to tag Fairfax & Favor and use #fairfaxandfavorbcc (they’re doing a lot of reposting and sharing of these images so get in there!)
  • Tell people – whether you buy a pair of tassels of not, tell people about them. I think that we forget how powerful word of mouth is and the power we all have to do good.
  • Keep mentioning them and enjoy them in your daily life. If you can wear them in posts on your feeds and Stories then all the better… but don’t forget to enjoy them too. They’re to be worn and enjoyed… whenever I look at mine I smile. They’re SO pink!

Now, if you don’t have the budget for the Fairfax & Favor Breast Cancer Care tassels, that is fine too. You can still support the campaign and help it achieve its goals by keeping an eye on the hashtag and showing a little love and support when you feel the need.

Do have a look at the #fairfaxandfavorbcc hashtag on Insta – there are SO many stunning pics!

To find out more about the tassels, see the website here and bag your Limited Edition Fairfax & Favor Breast Cancer Care tassels. To find out more about the brand, just visit the main Fairfax & Favor site. Enjoy!

In this episode I chat to special guest, equestrian photographer, vlogger, blogger and all round legend, Sophie Callahan. You’ll know I love Sophie from, well, most of my content(!), but on this episode we’re talking about commercial photography. Commercial photography sounds a bit scary, but it isn’t – and more than that, it’s really important for your business. So, over to Sophie… and a huge thanks to her for her help with this episode.

Have a listen here…

Sophie Callahan on commercial photography

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 3 – Sophie Callahan on commercial photography… what you’ll hear in this podcast episode…

  • The scope of commercial photography, the kind of shots that can be taken and why. Sophie has done a lot of work for country and equestrian brands and she shares some quite eye-watering examples!
  • How to organise a shoot, whether you’re a brand or service provider
  • How to work out which photographer is the best one to suit your needs, what kind of questions to ask and more.
  • Even though it’s a good idea to find a photographer whose style aligns with your business, a photographer will usually adjust their style, if requested, to align with your brand better… but it’s also important to remember why you chose them.
  • You can be as involved (or not!) as you like. Some photographers will source models, locations and everything else – you just send the product. But there are opportunities to be more involved with your commercial shoot too.
  • What to send your prospective photographers to ensure they understand your vision and can do what you need.
  • Why it’s important to be clear about what you want to do with the images after the shoot. Images for social media, like Instagram, will be taken in portrait rather than landscape, for example.
  • Copyright and what you can do with the images you have taken.
  • The importance of communicating with your photographer to establish what you can and can’t do with the images you have taken.
  • How you can cost shoots and possible different options available.
  • How often you should have a shoot for your brand, whether it’s a service or product based business.
  • Why phones are great, but the camera isn’t what you’re paying for!
  • The importance of good photography on social media.
  • The difference good photography can make, even to eBay sales.
  • Combined shoots and how these can keep the cost of photography and commercial photoshoots down.
  • The difference between lifestyle and packshot photography, if there’s a place for both and how to know which to pick.
  • The value of using photographers who are skilled in your niche for lifestyle images – so using an equestrian photographer for your equestrian business, for example.

A HUGE thank you to Sophie Callahan for being an amazing podcast guest and for helping to demystify commercial photography. Sophie is EVERYWHERE on social media – here is where you can find her:

Thanks so much for dropping in. Don’t forget you can subscribe on Spotify, iTunes or Podcast Player, just search ‘Small & Supercharged Podcast’ or my name.

If you’re an Apple fan, you can subscribe here.

I’m a teeny tiny bit excited about this – welcome to the Small & Supercharged Podcast – episode 1…

Yep, the Small & Supercharged Podcast has officially launched! Named after the Small & Supercharged Facebook group (the group I set up to help support small businesses, particularly in the equestrian and rural sector), this podcast is going to be embody the group. It’s going to talk about PR, marketing, websites and social media (of course!), but also interview a range of business owners about their skills and knowledge too. The aim of the podcast is to be a real hub for small business. To help business owners feel a whole lot less alone, more informed and ready for whatever challenges their business life brings.

And, of course, for people who want to join the Small & Supercharged Facebook page and feel more of that community love and support, please accept this as an invitation to join the group… just please fill in the questions!

So, without further ado – here’s episode 1, enjoy!

 

If you liked the Small & Supercharged Podcast (and I’m kind of hoping you did!), the please consider popping over to iTunes and subscribing. And if you’d like to leave a review and rating I would be SO grateful. Thank you.

They say the consistency is king, and I for one preach that. But what happens when your life and work mean that you can’t be as consistent as you want to be? Do you throw in the towel? Do you just struggle on? Do you become completely overwhelmed and brand yourself as a complete failure? Well over the last few weeks I have not been as consistent as I want to be with my blog, just because I have not physically had enough hours in the day to do the work I need to do and do the blog as well. And I wanted to explain a little bit more about why that is. I’m also here to talk about how I am getting back on the path to being consistent. Because it really is important.

Ahh – September…

September is always a really busy month in my world. I have Christmas things that are kicking off for PR and marketing clients, but I also have Burghley Horse Trials and Blenheim Horse Trials. And this year I’ve chucked in a couple of extra fun things too. So first there’s Burghley Horse Trials. A number of my clients attend Burghley Horse Trials and it is a really big deal for them. I don’t actually attend in person and haven’t for a few years, but I am very involved in all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes to make the Horse Trials a big success for my clients. One particular client is Hiho Silver. Not only do they have a stand there, but the company also sponsors the best dressed at the first trot up. Because it is a sponsorship, a lot of preparation goes in behind the scenes before the event even starts. I was absolutely thrilled with how all this came together during the event, but it does take a lot of time. Worth every second though – seeing a big project come together perfectly is a real buzz and one I wouldn’t trade!

Then there was Style, Skills & Silver

A few days later we embarked on Hiho’s very first instameet which was called Style, Skills and Silver. This took place at The Fish Hotel in Broadway and was absolutely amazing on every possible level. I loved every minute, but it took a lot of work behind the scenes too. Emma Warren, Hiho’s Queen Bee, was the person who came up with the idea and did do a huge amount of work, but everyone involved also worked their socks off on their respective elements to make the day the huge success it was. 

Then there was Blenheim Horse Trials

The next thing was Blenheim Horse Trials which, again, was a brilliant event. I did actually attend on the Friday too. Again, Hiho Silver sponsored the best dressed at the first trot up, and there was quite a bit to do around that. I did go for the day on the Friday as I mentioned, and met up with a few people and had a really great time. But it’s another day out of the system and when I have a certain amount of work to do, it’s my blog and content that takes the hit (and so it should be!).

And then there’s my second TEDx talk…

And then this month, just for a laugh, I was very very pleased to accept the invitation to do my second TEDx talk. This one is at TEDx Telford in 10 days time. Not only did the application process take a little bit of time in terms of having to submit various things, but also preparing a talk. I’ve got another rehearsal to go and then the actual event itself. At every stage, this does take quite a lot of time, and so it should do. TED and TEDx are big institutions and when you have the privilege of being invited to speak at these, you need to pay it the respect it deserves. This means time, energy and a whole lot of sweat(!) go into making sure that what I am presenting is useful to the audience and withholds TED and TEDx’s values too. I take this quite seriously because I think it’s such an honour to be invited not just for one talk but for my second. I kind of think this proves that the first one wasn’t all that bad!

Excuses?

I’m not trying to make excuses but I’m being realistic here. My blog and the content I create have to support my business. When I have plenty of work to do, and the reason I have created this content (as in, to help people, create opportunities and show what I can do) has created the work I want, it would be crazy not to do those things in order to create more content, to get the opportunities that I’ve already been given. See what I mean? So the blog is the thing that’s taken a hit. I do tend to schedule my blogs in advance and I have a load saved as draft, but being a bit of a perfectionist (which is not a great thing), I like to proofread, tweak, add links and images after I’ve written them. This means that although I have quite a few saved and ready to go, they still take quite a lot of work to get to the final stages.

This isn’t a bad thing. I did really beat myself up about it because I do preach that consistency is king. I’m not changing that – it is!

But it’s not everything…

I haven’t dropped ball on everything. My social media is still pretty strong. But that’s how I think it should be. I like to experiment, try and test different things on different platforms, so I can pass this learning on to my clients and then they get the to use my ‘testings’ on their own accounts. Also, I feel that the referrals and everything else from my social media to my website and to my other social media platforms makes them really really valuable. And as someone who teaches and lectures on social media, I need to be on the pulse on that.

I really love writing and sharing what I’ve been up to with you all. Because of the amount of time and energy each blog takes to write, that tends to be the thing that gets the biggest hit when I’m busy. So I’d like to apologise. I’ve still been putting out at least one blog each week, but it can be up to three (as per my schedule). I’m thinking of revising the schedule too – but that’s another blog!

What do you do to get consistency back?

If you feel like you’ve dropped all the balls and want to get your consistency in content creation back again, I have some tips…

  1. Don’t beat yourself up. These things happen. We all make mistakes and when things get busy it’s very easy to become less consistent because you’re overwhelmed everything else. Accept that this is life. But also accept that you need to pick yourself up and crack on. Don’t dwell.
  2. Start with one thing. If you feel like you’ve dropped all the balls don’t try and pick them all up and start juggling at the same time because you’re just going to feel overwhelmed. If you think that you can pick up one social media platform at a time, for example, then do it. And do that one well. You can then add the rest in when you’re feeling a lot more confident in what you’re doing. So rather been completely overwhelmed by everything being thrown at you all over again, just add one thing at a time into your schedule so you know that you can cope.
  3. And last but not least – you need to get back on it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, you might wonder why you need to get back on it. Because things have been going well without being consistent in your content. But I think it’s because you’ve been consistent for so long. And this means it’s not something you should consider stopping too quickly. I’m not prepared to drop it. I’ve kept my social media channels running as I said above, but the blog for me is really really important for so many different reasons. It’s been so useful for me. I know how much it helps people and I get lots of lovely comments from people saying they’ve read something on my blog and it’s changed the way they view something. That, to me, is so important. 

So I hope that’s helped. Being consistent is king. It really, really is, but I also want to acknowledge in this blog that we all make mistakes and we all drop the ball. What’s important is how we pick it back up and carry on. 

 

How to split test your Facebook advert - Rhea freemanHave you heard of split testing? It’s a really clever way to test two ideas and show these to a small amount of your audience (at a lower cost) before launching a full campaign. You can do this with many things, but Facebook adverts have a built in feature that makes split testing a breeze. And here I’m going to tell you the basics of how to split test your Facebook advert (and why you should have a go)

How to split test your Facebook advert

Split testing your Facebook advert is a lot easier than you might think – in fact – there’s an option on the ad platform designed JUST for this! Clever, hey?

  • Go to Facebook Ads manager
  • Pick A/B testing
  • Start creating your ad

How do you split test?

You can split test your ad in a number of ways. On Facebook, you can pic imagery/graphic, audience and caption. You do one of these at a time so you can see which variable has worked the best. If you ran two completely different adverts with different imagery, ad format, audience and caption – how would you know which ‘bit’ had worked?

If you like, you can test each area at a time.

Why would you split test?

Quite simply, to see which advert is likely to get you the best result before you put a lot of budget behind it. You can spend a few pounds over a few days split testing a Facebook advert (you can spend a lot more too, obviously!), but it is so useful. You might find a different style of image performs better, or a reworking of your caption, for example.

Have you tried split testing? 

As I was looking through Instagram Stories on Friday night, something caught my eye. I was watching Jasmine Star’s Insta Stories and under her name it said the filter she was using. The Face Filter to be precise. What was strange was that I hadn’t noticed she was using a filter. And that was kind of the point. This was no ordinary Instagram Face Filter. This was an Instagram Face Filter by Kylie Jenner. And, for me, it’s really changed the game on filters.

What’s an Instagram Face Filter?

First things first, if you’re not sure what I mean by Instagram Face Filter, let me explain. Have you seen people on Instagram Stories with dog ears and rainbows and other craziness on their faces? Yep? Instagram Kylie Jenner Face Filter - augmented reality (1)That’s a Face Filter. They’re usually comical in some way and it’s very, very obvious that one’s in use. But this was different. It wasn’t like that at all.

Kylie Jenner

I am sure you don’t need me to tell you who Kylie Jenner is… but I’m going to because if you don’t know then the next bit of this blog is going to make very little sense to you! Kylie is part of the Kardashian clan, and she has her own make up collection. As you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I have no idea about make up. It’s more luck than judgement that I know about her make up range, but I digress…

So what’s the Kylie Face Filter?

It’s a form of augmented reality and an absolute stroke of marketing genius in my opinion. I had a jaw dropping moment when I realised what the filter did and how it worked. So, unlike comical filters, the Kylie Face Filter makes you look, well, really quite good. But it’s more than that. Inside the Kylie filter you can chose from one of eight different looks with the central focus being the lip colour. These eight different options show a range of colours and are, wait for it, based on her lip colour collection. This sounds good – I mean, when I discovered it I was pretty tired and I was not looking my best…. and this filter definitely improved things, put it that way. But it’s SO much more than this. I really believe that this is part of the future of marketing. Want to know how make up is going to look on your with your colouring? Easy. How about furniture in your house? Clothes? All from your phone. Even through on of your favourite apps?

The one obstacle in the way of shopping online has always been that you can’t really see the products and how they’ll look on you through a computer screen. With this kind of technology being used, can you imagine the scope? Can you imagine the potential?

Blummin well done Instagram. Another absolute triumph in my eyes. And I for one can not wait to see how augmented reality grows in this accesible way.

If you have a country business, this blog is for you. It’s all about how to use social media to promote your country business. And it’s really, really important that you do. Even if your strongest ‘marketing’ is your customers and word of mouth, or even traditional forms of media like printed ads, I would urge you strongly to get on board with social media. It’s free to get started and allows you to reach people who will have never heard of you. More than this, it adds a new dimension to your PR and marketing as the world is your stage. Not just people in the local vicinity. Social media does level the playing field and also expands your audience to global. Even if you have a local business who serves the local community, you need to get on board. Yes, social media can have global reach, but you can also really focus in on your local area if that’s what you want to it. It also helps you to create a real brand. The kind that brings people in from afar. So let’s get cracking, shall we? Here are five ways to use social media to promote your country business.

Five ways to use social media to promote your country business

  1. Who are you? Use social media to introduce people to your team. Who do they speak to when they call you? Who packs orders? Who serves in the shop? Who churns the ice cream? Who started it all? Share the information. This can be done through images and text or, even better, video. This helps people get a real feel for your business and what makes it tick. It’s a really easy thing to do that can make a real difference.
  2. Where does the magic happen? If you’re a country business, why not show people where you’re based? You don’t have to give people your full address and postal code, but why not show a studio for a craft business? Your animals? The surrounding countryside. Help people buy into the lifestyle, the animal welfare, the feeling that your company wants to create in its customers.
  3. Share tips. If you sell produce, create some recipes- video them/write them up/take some nice images. If you create clothing – style tips. If you run a rural accountancy firm- how to keep track of your receipts. Tips help people and they also help you and your expert status. You can decide to display these tips in a blog, as graphics, as video… or, better still, all of the above.
  4. Document, don’t create. This advice is from Gary Vaynerchuk, and it’s so right. Your everyday life as a country business is filled with things that you might find mundane but, to someone who doesn’t know about what you do and how you work, it’s fascinating. If you run a farm shop, opening up in the morning, dealing with suppliers and restocking could create really great content. Maybe you’re talking about new season’s asparagus that only comes in for a limited time. Yes, it’s your day to day life, but why not share it with your customers? Get them excited about your new asparagus too!
  5. Get people involved. User generated content is a really big deal, and it is a great way to use social media to promote your country business too. Retweeting, sharing and reposting content from your customers can help them feel special and cared for, but it does huge things for your social media too. You could always introduce a competition to encourage this kind of engagement too.

So here are five ways to use social media to promote your country business. Of course, there are loads more, but it’s a good start!

If you’d like to find out more about one aspect of social media, Instagram Stories, download my free guide here by signing up to my newsletter list.

Instagram Stories