When starting her Quarter Horse breeding operation in Madisonville, Texas, Dean Quarter Horses’ Meagan Dean made sure her new business had a presence on social media as soon as it opened.
Launched in January of 2014, Dean Quarter Horses now has more than 2,500 followers on Facebook with Dean using social media to not only market the foals she has for sale but also connect with potential clients. She sat down with Pyrois Media to explain why social media is important and give us a look into how it factors into her business plans.
How many horses does Dean Quarter Horses have at any given time?
This varies based on the time of year. I’ve had as few as 5 horses on the property (our five broodmares) and one year I had as many as 19. Ages vary as well. Some years I’ll have mares bred with foals at their sides, yearlings, a couple of 2-year-olds at trainers’ being started, and even a couple older horses.
How did you discover social media?
I was one of the lucky ones who grew up during a time when social media was just coming around. I remember having a MySpace page when I was an angsty teen and when Facebook became more popular, I made a Facebook account. Eventually I started following the pages of farms and stallions that I really liked, and things kind of grew from there. When I first joined social media, I never anticipated it to be as big of an influence in my marketing plans as it is today but I’ve met many great people who I consider close friends through social media and it helps me to keep up-to-date on the latest happenings in the equine industry.
Can you give an example of what you’d post over a week on your page?
Truthfully I tend to have a little lax schedule for content each week as I like to adapt scheduled content in case an update comes in about a mare’s offspring or if something exciting happens at the farm. I try to give our social media followers a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on so that they get a feel of who we are and know what kind of personalities the horses have before they meet them. Cute photos and videos, especially of the foals, are a big hit so I try to capture that type of content as much as I can. Of course, since broodmare are the core of the operation I like to occasionally give updates so our followers know how they are progressing in their pregnancy or just simply to let them know how the girls are doing.
Around the time of the year that the yearling sales are going on, particularly NSBA World in August and Congress in October, I tend to have a more planned out content schedule for social media. I stage out announcements that a yearling has been consigned, their official photos and videos are available, and I make sure to share any information about the sales, especially if one of my yearlings is showcased. Since there are a lot of great prospects in these sales, I want to make sure that my horses don’t get lost in the catalog.
One thing I will admit is that I LOVE sharing equine-related memes. I’ve found memes are a great way to get engagement and engagement means more people are seeing your name out there. I think a lot of horse owners can relate to many of the things we share even if they are not a part of the western pleasure scene.
How does social media factor into your marketing plans and what advantages have you seen?
For me, it’s a no brainer that social media be considered a necessity in Dean Quarter Horses’ marketing plan. I live in an area with a very small western pleasure community and therefore trying to sell a western pleasure/all-around prospect locally can be very hit or miss. However, with social media I feel like I can more effectively reach those individuals from other areas of the country in order to let them know what I have for sale, what foals I am expecting and even how the progeny of my mares are performing in the show pen. In fact a lot of Dean Quarter Horses’ sales have resulted from the buyer seeing a photo or video of one of our prospects through our Facebook page!
Do you use more traditional marketing, such as ads in magazines? How does it help you vs traditional marketing if so?
My business is still young, so I’ve yet to really tap into more traditional marketing methods such as magazine advertisements. In our industry you will see stallions being advertised more often but since I only have broodmares, I tend to leave the stallion side of the equation up to those who are more experienced. However, having strong broodmares in a breeding program is a necessity and I’ve toyed with the idea of creating some advertisements that showcase our broodmares— especially around the time that they are due.
Why do you feel social media is important for your business?
It’s FREE. Sure you can “pay to play” but exposure through social media whether it’s through your own personal profile or a business page is basically free advertisement. Particularly for small businesses or those just starting up, free advertisement can really help keep those startup costs down!
Why do you think social media is important for any equine business no matter the size?
I feel that it’s very important for any equine business to have two things: a website and social media accounts. A website instantly gives a business credibility and social media develops a repertoire with followers. Additionally social media is a great way to get information out to clients quickly about new products debuting, important updates and more.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting social media accounts for their business?
Be aware of your industry or discipline on social media. Is there a particular industry-specific hashtag currently trending on Instagram or Twitter? Are you finding a particular type of content is generating more interest? What are some of your competitors doing on social media? Many times I’ll see a post on Facebook or Instagram that really sticks out to me and it gives me a ton of ideas for future posts!
Facebook videos also play a big part in Dean Quarter Horses’ social media marketing.
What other social media platforms do you use and why?
In addition to Facebook, Instagram is the second most-used platform for Dean Quarter Horses. Our main following is on Facebook simply because that’s the platform I’ve noticed the pleasure horse industry audience mainly uses, but our Instagram is growing by leaps and bounds! Instagram allows for a very different kind of experience. I like to consider it to be more of an artistic approach to advertising and I try to snap photographs that are more unique and creative because they tend to result in a greater engagement.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to social media content. You never know when you might develop the latest trend or have a post/image go viral.