USDF gold medalist and Grand Prix dressage trainer Maat van Uitert shares some tips for advertising sale horses via social media.
It’s the new millennium and so we have a new way to sell our horses: Facebook. There’s a ton of different pages and groups to join to sell your horses, and having a successful sales business, I use Facebook all the time to advertise my horses for sale, and to source horses for myself or clients.
Over the past couple years, I’ve come up with some “best practices” for selling. Use them and get your horse sold!
- 1. Always include location and price.
A lot of groups have started to require these nuggets of information because it allows interested riders to respond intelligently. Nothing’s worse than a string of, “Price? Location?” because it doesn’t let us know whether to show the horse to a client (and risk the dreaded “sorry, I didn’t know how far away it was”). Do yourself a favor and include the location and at least a ballpark price.
- 2. Don’t just post a photo of you on your horse, or post a photo and write “PM me for details.”
I have no idea whether you’re selling, leasing, breeding, what the use of the horse is, gender, etc. I can only gather minimal info from your photo. I skip over those posts, because although everyone likes a pretty picture, there’s no useful information. Facebook doesn’t always let interested parties PM. I spent a month without that feature. Guess what? I didn’t bother with those posts.
- 3. Don’t respond with video requests with “So-and-So has the video.”
I’m sure “so-and-so” is a lovely person and a great trainer, but I don’t know them. So I can’t contact them. Next. If your trainer has uploaded the video, find out the URL so you can post it. And for the love of Mike, don’t use your iPhone to video–I know it’s convenient, but the video is too small, too hard to get the whole horse in the video, and lopsided.
- 4. Check your posts for responses from interested riders.
I’ve seen a lot of posts that say “PM me, I don’t check my posts often.” We’re all busy, but Facebook lets you know when someone has responded to your post. Use these little taps on the shoulder to remind yourself to respond. Remember, Facebook doesn’t always let others PM you; it’s one of their new policies. You’ll be missing out, so take the 5 minutes a day to respond to questions. It’s only to your benefit.
- 5. Do an internet search and know the information out there about your horse, and represent them accurately.
I had a client once ask me to sell her horse, and after a very brief internet search, I came up with the ad from which she purchased her horse. Which meant anyone else could access the same information (and probably did). Oops. Before I recommend a horse to a client or take on a horse for sale, I check the internet to see what’s out there about the horse, including prices you’ve posted, past competition scores, video, etc. So, if Thunder hasn’t won everything, that’s okay, just don’t say he has.
- 6. Don’t think just because you have a great horse, people will naturally respond.
There’s a lot of white noise out there to distract us. In a bygone era, you could put out “teasers,” such as video clips that show just a few movements or only the gaits of the horse, and get responses from interested parties. The economy sucks, no one wants waste money or time on travel or seeing a horse unless they know they’re interested. Give your audience all the information about your horse so they can decide if Dobbin’s the horse for them–otherwise another post might distract them into forgetting yours.
Remember, you’re not the only one selling your horse! While every horse is special in his/her unique way, you need to make your post stand out, and easy for riders to respond.
Maat van Uitert is a USDF gold medalist and Grand Prix dressage trainer based in Loxahatchee, FL. She has a successful training and sales business that has matched horses with happy riders. Contact Maat directly at [email protected] or visit her website at www.jsdressage.com.