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Quit Making Excuses About Social Media

QuitSMexcuses_FI

Stop it right now. You are not allowed to utter even one more excuse to recuse yourself from joining the real time conversation that is taking place right now. You do have the time. It is not complicated. You do have something to share. It is not irrelevant because you aren’t a “big” rodeo, “fancy” star, “national” brand … or otherwise not in need of a little blue badge after your handle denoting your officialness.

Now, let’s take a deep breath and I promise you won’t be overwhelmed. You certainly don’t have to be on every single platform 24/7. It’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole if you’re trying to be on top of every emerging trend. Instead, I recommend focusing on the three platforms that I feel have the most relevance, impact and opportunity for professionals in the rodeo industry.

Facebook
The fact that you need to have a business page on Facebook is not news to you. As a contestant, property or contractor, Facebook is the platform for engaging with the people who are important to your business. There are currently 3.4 million active Facebook users who have rodeo listed as an interest. Don’t get caught up in worrying about the changes in the algorithm, or that organic reach is currently tanking. The important thing is that Facebook is where your audience is and they need to be able to find you, and feel like they are able to engage with you. In the future we’ll discuss how from time to time, you can feel free to drop $5.00 to boost a post which will then be seen by literally hundreds of times the number of your fan base (but, that’s for later).

Instagram
Instagram currently has more than 300 million active users each month, with 70% of users logging in every single day and 35% multiple times each day! TIME Magazine even has an Instagram Photographer of the Year Award. That’s pretty powerful. People love pictures, and as professionals in one of the most visually compelling sports ever, we have a bit of an advantage here. Use Instagram to share relevant images and even 15-second videos to direct your followers to check out your website, get a ticket deal or visit a sponsor.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn puts you in the room with both peers and decision makers. There are more than 347 million active LinkedIn users, and again 70% are on the site daily. A quick search reveals more than 42,000 LinkedIn users have some involvement in the rodeo industry. This is the place to meet and greet, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Use LinkedIn as your base of operations to become the go-to person in your field of expertise. Whether you’re promoting your event or yourself as a contractor or contestant, sharing consistent, useful and professional updates on LinkedIn can help to make you the first person to come to mind when someone is looking for a promotional partner or professional service.

For today, I have intentionally left Twitter off of my top three list as I feel that of all the popular platforms, it is the most likely to cause total analysis paralysis, and the point of this post is to get you out there with a minimum of confusion, anxiety and/or argument. That being said, Twitter is awesome too and we’ll take a look at its awesomeness at a later date.

A few quick tips to be effective with your content and maintain your sanity:

1.  Don’t become a victim of hashtag soup. #hashtagsoup #rodeo #myeyesarecrossing #iforgotwhatyourorignalmessageevensaid … this isn’t to say that you should absolutely never use hashtags. On the contrary, the strategic use of hashtags can be extremely effective in reaching new people and increasing engagement. Just be sure to remember the most important rule – it’s not about you.

2.  Resist the urge to connect all your platform accounts into one neat little button, so that all you have to do is type a message once and PRESTO the same message goes out across the universe. You want to give your audience a reason to follow you on multiple platforms because this provides you more opportunities to be in front of them. Seeing the same exact message in multiple news feeds at essentially the same time, can become annoying and cause your audience to start ignoring you worse yet, unfollow you all together. 

3.  Keep your message platform appropriate. Just like lunch at the local burger joint doesn’t require the same buttoned down attire as lunch at that place where you must remember which one is your salad fork (it’s on the far left, you’re welcome), your tone on twitter won’t be quite the same as it is on LinkedIn. And, that works both ways. Keep the conversation fun and casual on Facebook, but stick to the professional stuff when updating your LinkedIn contacts.

4.  Make sure that there is a value to everything you post. Your updates can be valuable because they inform, update or even just make someone smile. No, no one cares about what you’re eating for lunch … however, if you’re enjoying a productive working lunch at XYZ Cafe (who happens to also be your sponsor) and you would highly recommend them for the quiet tables in back, THAT is valuable.

5.  Join the conversation! The value of social media as a marketing tool lies in your invitation to engage with people, to be a part of the conversation. Take a little time to check your feeds for opportunities to join in and add value to the conversations taking place – share your ideas, answer a question, ask a question.

Ultimately, the purpose of this post is to point out that you need to have an online presence where you can engage with others, and that you can do so with relative ease. We will definitely be taking a closer look at social media platforms and strategies for the rodeo industry in future posts. In the mean time, there are literally thousands of resources available if you want to dig deeper into the social media treasure chest. I recommend: Social Media Examiner, Instagram for Business and the LinkedIn Blog.

I’d love to hear what you think >>> Did you find this post helpful? Would like more in depth information on any specific point? What are your challenges when it comes to social media? 

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