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Should You Have a Facebook Page if You Sell a Super-Niche Product?

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Only 2 million people in this country own horses, so just by selling a horse-specific product you’ve screened out more than 99% of the population. Does it make sense then to go on a mass market medium like Facebook?

Pamela Carr thinks so. Carr, who works as a senior marketing manager for ecommerce at the Chicago Tribune Media Group, is working on a side project called Alleva-Wave, a new business that provides pain relief to horses. The company doesn’t have any real social media presence yet — not even a Facebook Page — but Carr notes that every time she puts a picture of a horse on her personal Facebook Page, she gets a lot of comments and reshares. “It’s like dogs,” she says.

Carr, a horse enthusiast, got the idea for Alleva-Wave from a neighbor whose brother-in-law is Dr. Robert Dennis, the founder of Micro-Pulse, which provides pain relief to humans via magnetic and electronic stimulation. Carr says that she was sold on Dennis’ solution. “I had a sprained ankle and I used it,” she says. “Usually it takes a few weeks to heal, but I was running again in a few days.” The $700 device is not for everyone, but Carr believes if she can find horse owners with an ailing animal, then she might be able to get her fledgling business up and running.

As part of Mashable’s Social Makeover series, we hooked Carr up with Kate Gardiner, a social media consultant. Over the next few weeks Carr will attempt to put Gardiner’s advice into practice (or not).

Gardiner’s assessment is that Facebook can be an excellent vehicle for outreach for Carr’s business. However, Carr needs to take a very targeted approach. “I’d do a series of horse photos and testimonials and invest in my targeted geographic region on Facebook,” Gardiner says. “If there are associations — e.g. thoroughbred horse owners or other horse-related groups in her region, sharing the images in those groups would also make sense. All of this should be testimonial, and doing a daily image share would be a great start.” If Carr has the bandwidth, Gardiner also advocates running a contest for photos of horses (“It’s inherently social and cheap!”)

In addition, Gardiner says Carr should beef up Alleva-Wave’s Instagram presence, which is currently non-existent. “Every time you apply the product to a horse, take a photo and post about the success story there,” Gardiner says, regarding Instagram. “The images will be useful later — and everyone likes to see a before/after story done well. Checking in with your clients — and their horses — is a good way to find brand stories to use for marketing purposes later on — and to see how your product is being used in the wild.”

Finally, Gardiner says Carr should take advantage of a LinkedIn group Carr started for equine enthusiasts, which now has about 2,000 members.

“Given that you have a LinkedIn group, I would reach out there to have weekly or monthly discussions about either the best ways to use your product, or inviting those who are most likely to want to use it to talk about the way that have worked for them,” Gardiner says, adding that Carr should also explore Reddit and consider advertising on specific subreddits targeted at others for consumers interested in horses.

Will Gardiner’s advice work? Check back here on June 18 to see how it went. Meanwhile, check out some other stories in Mashable’s Social Makeover series here.

Image via Getty, Brendon Thorne

Article Credit: http://mashable.com/2013/05/16/social-makeover-horse/

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