Some of us closed our Facebook accounts for many reasons; grandparents started to have their own pages, others read the small print and found out that all personal content belonged to Team Zuckerberg, accounts were hacked, trolls started to follow you and become creepy, plus, like Hotel California, you can check out anytime, but you can never leave.
You might close your Facebook account- but you’re still there- and there will always be updates via email trying to have you return.
One click and you’re back and, again, swimming with sharks- unless you really know how to ensure that what happens on your Facebook page stays on your Facebook page.
Small businesses have entered the Facebook World to promote themselves and gain “likes” via what’s cutely described as “Facebook Ads”, and which no one can really explain how these work as, just maybe, they don’t.
The problem here is that like “YouTube Ads”, no one has any control of what they’re buying and one has to take what is given despite being the content provider.
For example, a number of bars and restaurants in Hong Kong that have bought into “Facebook Ads” are seeing ALL their “likes” coming from two countries- the Philippines and Indonesia- despite having extremely few customers from either country. Another big Duh.
The big business behind social media
Who benefits from all these meaningless “likes”? Facebook, of course, that builds up numbers for its big business clients wanting the social media platform’s massive data base including major investors like billionaire Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man with all those retail businesses that need to market their goods to clearly defined consumer groups?
As for YouTube Ads, many buy into these and see their “views” increase- but how real are these?
Are 30,000 more “views” from Moldova- and from those who have never ever been on YouTube before and never will again- cause for celebration when you know they’re fake?
There are also a series of new YouTube “laws” that seem arbitrary with videos taken down for what seem like no real reason, and no explanation given.
Twitter seemed like a 140 word answer- and still could be- except when having THIS social media platform accept so many selling “followers”.
Who would want fake “followers”- and for what reason?
To show “popularity”?
The problem with “YouTube sensations”
It all reminds me of various high-profile “overnight YouTube sensations” like Usher supposedly finding some kid named Justin Bieber while trawling through YouTube, Susan Boyle, who had been knocking around the UK for years, suddenly being “discovered” on Britain’s Got Talent, Adam Lambert being “new” when discovered on American Idol despite failed recordings years earlier.
The list of background stories like this and other “YouTube sensations” is endless and once kept publicists busy.
At least for one of these “YouTube sensations,” it was revealed some years ago that their “views” were manufactured outta Bangalore via a hired Search Engine Operative and with SEO’s being more out there and persistent than ever these days by spamming you with emails guaranteeing more of everything, but, especially, “higher rankings on Google”- and which is increasingly becoming another scam.
Buying ANYTHING to create false popularity is wrong, wrong, wrong and gives, especially, businesses, a very wrong and warped view of the popularity of their products.
It also shows how so many are out of touch with social media- but so eager to be part of it ‘cos, well, everyone else is and, like lemmings, they follow with no questions asked and very often duped by so-called “social media experts” without any idea about the rudiments of basic, traditional marketing.
Horse racing and social media
This leads to horse racing and racing clubs and how and where and when social media is used as despite reservations about various business practices, it’s the new version of newspapers and television.
Recently, a certain jockey was being interviewed about having been “active” on social media- past tense as, perhaps, it’s just become a habit-forming waste of time for him with no real returns for his time and efforts.
Many are “active” on social media for one reason and one reason only: Self-promotion and to create a brand for themselves with a business in mind.
Nothing wrong with this. But if it’s only all-too-transparent self-promotion, hmmm.
That’s a personal decision and one to think about when having a lie-down in the shrink’s office.
Riding on social media
So, what about racing clubs and social media?
How does this work- and where and when and why?
Is it like music companies having corporate websites and Facebook pages and twitter accounts which music fans avoid like the plague as these are “the enemy” and irrelevant when they have direct access to their favourite acts?
By the same token, how would “messaging” from a racing club about any of its activities be “accepted” on the much younger looking social media?
Would those who these clubs wish to communicate with buy into any of this “messaging” as the medium of the message is coming from someone they view as “Mother” played by Anthony Perkins in “Psycho”?
The soft-shoe selling of horse racing
Of course, this consumer group is the NEW, YOUNGER generation with very varied interests that racing clubs need to attract for it to continue as a valid business- new race-goers, new horse owners, new horse owner syndicates, new sponsors, new business partners, the new New- and how social media, even with its faults, must come into play with everything relevant to ensure that the connectivity is there.
Do racing clubs have the people to make this happen- and, if not, are those briefing and outsourcing this work coming from the old hardcore school of racing when many new to the sport don’t even know what a totalisator board is, let alone read one?
And think of this: How many of the “social media experts” hired at great expense truly understand even the rudiments of horse racing and those who make the sport run?
Perhaps the answer is closer than many think.
A young jockey like Tommy Berry, for example, is very active on twitter- he has over 8,000 followers- and whatever he finds interesting enough to retweet- recently, it was how trainer Robbie Lang’s Daughter had made it onto the Aussie version of The Voice- reaches many and considered relevant and credible as it’s come from Tommy.
Do the maths and retweet
If one does the maths, the retweets of his original tweet, the numbers are high, and then the retweets of the retweets make the numbers grow until the message reaches completely new consumers and might even get translated into Chinese.
Meanwhile, an extremely popular jockey like Joao Moreira is not on twitter, but, if, somehow, the HKJC can persuade him to start up an Instagram account- far more popular than twitter these days as it is purely visual communications- the Brazilian rider can be a highly effective member of the Club’s street marketing team, especially to the new- and established Chinese racing fan and media.
Racing clubs and street marketing teams
Social media in horse racing is still only finding its feet, but looking outside of that tight, rigid box it always seems more comfortable being in, the sport seems to be forgetting the team it has at its fingertips- all those YOUNG riders and trainers and trackwork riders and strappers and all their boyfriends and girlfriends- all of whom can become so important in getting out photos, videos, non-hardcore messages to do with promotions and create a very new way of looking at the marketing of the sport.
Racing’s independent online world would have taken a major baby step and with new content and new programming of the sport just a shot a way.