Bold Application by Kahal
(Gold Circle/Summerhill Stud)
Social media is defined as any platform where users can interact, create content, communicate and converse in a free and informal manner using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies, most commonly via the internet and mobile communication networks.
Facebook is a free-access social networking platform that allows users to join networks organised by location or interest groups, thus facilitating the easy transfer of information between personal contacts or organisations.
Ray Paulick, leading voice in the US Thoroughbred industry and previous editor in chief of BloodHorse, last year launched the online publication, The Paulick Report (www.paulickreport.com), which aims to provide the Thoroughbred Industry with an independent voice for news, analysis and commentary.
The Thoroughbred Daily News recently published an interview with Ray Paulick in which he discusses his experience with Facebook and other social networking websites from a horseracing standpoint.
“TDN : What has your experience been on Facebook? How does it help you keep in better touch with racing, or promote your racing product to customers? How might the industry better use social networking to promote itself? What other sites do you use?
Ray Paulick : Like many middle-aged adults, I first learned about Facebook from my kids, who now rely on this tool more than e-mail for communications with their friends. I’ve found Facebook to be a useful tool for reaching a new audience, and if I’m going to generalize, I’d say it’s a younger demographic, though more and more people from my generation are discovering it as a fun and useful way to keep in touch with individuals or groups of people, from old friends to relatives to folks I’ve met online.
From a business standpoint, Facebook has been a means to heighten awareness among racing enthusiasts about the Paulick Report, though our audience consists mostly of people with an investment or serious interest in the Thoroughbred industry. In addition to my own Facebook page, the Paulick Report has a group page on Facebook, but we try not to inundate people with breaking news or updates because I’m afraid that if you flood inboxes you’ll lose a good part of your audience.
We’re still tweaking how to best utilize this tool, and are looking at other platforms, including Twitter, which has really caught on in some areas of news and communications. There’s no question that the future of publications, news gathering and networking is online.
Having said that, I think many people who have been in the Thoroughbred industry a while are a little slow to the dance on some of these tools. I’m glad to see so many racetracks and organizations getting on board this online bandwagon. As marketing budgets are cut, it’s a very cost-effective means to keep in touch with customers and other interested parties. In particular, I like what the New York Racing Association is doing on YouTube - adding original content to the site that is both entertaining for fans and useful for horseplayers. I hope other tracks learn from them, because if we don’t start reaching out to where most younger people are spending their time these days – online – we’re only going to see our fan base continue to shrink and our demographics take on an even older profile than we currently have.”
The percentage of businesses taking advantage of the “free” social media environment is currently minute in comparison to the potential on offer. This is something that anyone can and should be involved in, especially in times of scaled back marketing budgets.