Building an engaging social media presence can be hard to start with but perseverance is key and, once you get into the habit, being active will be much easier!
Social media is handy for generating interest in what you're doing. So what are you doing and why should people be interested? Are you selling products to prospective buyers? Selling your own services as a professional? Are you just creating your social media for fun? Be honest about why and what you will be sharing!
Find the platform that's right for you! Personally, I find Facebook really helpful for professional posts and Instagram great for daily blogs and fun posts.
*Always spell and grammar check before you post. We all miss corrections occasionally but the more you spell check, the more likely you are to notice small things! If you struggle with expressing yourself in the way that you would like, try sending your work to an someone else to look over. This is important particularly when contacting potential sponsors or employers.
*Try to be likable, modest and approachable! Let your achievements speak for themselves, the more arrogant you sound in your posts, the less likely people are to relate to you. This may not sound important, and maybe it isn't to everyone, but generally, the more likable you are, the more 'likable' you are too! This has been so important to us in the past, when choosing sponsored riders. There are lots of ways to be relatable, but someone who puts their horse first is on their way to our good graces! It is easy to tell the people who care about winning over the horse they do it on, and many companies are more actively seeking those riders who show the love for their horse, over more boastful achievements! Look at Oliver Townend and how often he posts pictures of his horses in ridiculously comfy beds!
*Find a slogan or tag line that fits you! A tag line is something people will remember you by so try using something that applies to you. Our slogan is: "For the love of the horse" because all of our training and work is based around our love for horses and our efforts in trying to help them. That is one of our #hashtags because it's so relevant. You have 30 #hashtags on Instagram, so use them well. Of course, you might as well have the standard ones like #horses but try to think outside the box, you actually want slightly less popular ones for your post to have the best chance of being seen!
*Replying to comments is a great way to show how likable you are and to show your followers that you appreciate them. Be personal, no matter how big you get, hurtful comments still hurt and the positive ones make you feel better, so let your followers know that!
*Another one is going out of your way to comment on the posts of your followers. And no, that's not just for smaller accounts, quite often, you will see top accounts commenting on the posts from much smaller accounts. We get comments from Aztec Diamond regularly, and have previously had likes from Oliver Townend, shares from Jonty Evans and retweets from Ben Maher. Sure, it's nice of them! It's also good for their page and it will be good for yours too!
*Tell people what you're posting and what relevance it has. Yes, this links back to what I said at the beginning but on a more day to day basis. For example: "This is us dressage training ready for our upcoming event!". This is helpful for your audience and may make them check back to see how you have done at said event.
*Linking your accounts is easy to do and can save you a lot of time. On Instagram, to link accounts, head to the settings and you should be able to work out how to link your Facebook account pretty easily. Really useful to post the same content across the board with less effort from you!
*Running competitions is a good way of building your following, just remember to stick to the guidelines of whatever platform you're using. You also don't want to be posting competitions constantly (unless that's genuinely all you want to post about) because you may end up boring your true followers and filling your page with people who just want something from you and have no interest in what you're doing.
*Look back and see what posts have got the most likes and do more of the same! While doing so, try to stay true to you and post what you genuinely enjoy posting, otherwise you may end up building a following based on certain styles of posts and then moving back to what you enjoy doing and losing your following when you do so!
*Do your research before contacting potential sponsors, be sure to do thorough research on what the sponsors offer and specialise in. Try checking out their website and learning a bit more about them. Know what you can offer in return, rather than asking them to back you.
*You never know which Facebook or Instagram pages are going to end up running sponsorship competitions and, if you're already an active follower, you will be much more likely to win the sponsorship! A company isn't going to want to sponsor someone who has shown no commitment, they want to know for certain that you will be a good ambassador! *Find your unique selling point! In the world of horses, you are competing for sponsorship along with the masses! You need to find something that sets you apart. Whether it's a less common horse breed or charity work, find your USP and use it in your favour!
The biggest tip for social media really is to be yourself and keep working hard! Be kind courteous and honest and you will be amazed at how far it gets you. You may not get the sponsors, but if you keep building your own following, you wont need all the sponsors. Some of ours have been amazing and given us some really useful products, other deals, we've walked away from because of how much is being expected of us. If a company doesn't want you for you and the following you have built, then they don't deserve you.