This week’s Horse & Hound guest editor Sam Griffiths has over 6,200 followers on Twitter and a similar number of fans on Facebook. He shares his top tips for social media success…
1. Social media can be a powerful tool, but it can cut both ways and work against you too. Sponsors now want brand awareness — if you can go to a sponsor and tell them you have a decent numbers of followers, that is valuable. You can tweet about their products and then they re-tweet you.
2. However, do be very careful what you post — for example, make sure you’re wearing and using appropriate gear and clothing in all photos rather than that of a rival company to your sponsor.
3. Think carefully about putting anything negative online and giving people ammunition against you. For example, a picture of you nearly falling off. You might think you’re great for staying on — but an outsider might wonder why you got into the position of nearly falling off in the first place.
4. You need to promote your sponsors, but if all your social feed is full of adverts, people will stop following you. You need to subtly promote the products and also balance that with other posts which build followers. If we post a through-the-ears photo with a great view on a hack, that will get loads of interaction, so why not combine it with a plug — “I had an awesome hack out on my new saddle…”
5. Just listing your results also turns people off. It’s better to tell the story of the day and make it personal.
6. Maintaining social media can be very time consuming and you need to weigh up the benefit of the return for the time invested. It helps me promote myself and my sponsors, but if you are at the lower levels you could spend hours on social media without getting much back from it. My wife, Lucy, helps me a lot with promotion and it can be really great to have someone to assist you.
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7. People like inside knowledge on social media. The year I won Badminton, as we led Paulank Brockagh out of her stable to set off for the event, our head girl Imogen Mercer took a photo of her, which we put on Facebook. She had a regal look about her and it got a huge amount of likes, which surprised us — and then she went and won the event.