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USTA board meeting underway in Columbus

March 09, 2019

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Meetings of the Executive Committee, Communications and Marketing Committee, Amateur Driving Committee, the Harness Racing Medication Committee, and Fair Committees were conducted on the Saturday (March 9) session of the U.S. Trotting Association’s Board of Directors annual meeting at the Hilton-Easton.

In the Communications and Marketing Committee, Jason Turner, digital brand strategist, revealed the results of a rejuvenated social media agenda. According to Turner’s data the social media team comprised of he and social media and publicity coordinators Michael Carter and Wendy Ross, generated five million impressions on Facebook compared to 973,000 in 2017. The statistics for Twitter and Instagram were just as impressive with 1.5 million impressions on Twitter collected in 2017 versus 3.4 million in 2018. For Instagram there were 139 posts generated in 2018 compared to 69 posts in 2017.

“We can use the talents of our people and the capabilities of technology to produce first-class social media content,” said Dan Leary, the USTA’s director of marketing and communications. “Our monitoring and analytic software allows us to track results and determine what’s working and what we need to adjust. But most importantly, with good communication and collaboration, the USTA can help each of you amplify your messages and promote your important races and events on social media.”

Turner’s presentation highlighted that the 2018 results were impressive considering the gains on all platforms, which include two separate brand entities in USTrotting and Harness Racing FanZone, were achieved primarily in the seven months since Carter and Ross were brought into the USTA fold.

That achievement was emphasized by director Jim Miller, who is also the vice chair of the committee and director of publicity at Hawthorne Race Course.

“More than 10 million impressions in seven months is incredible,” he said.

Ross and Carter’s presentations delineated their specific roles, as Ross operates Harness Racing FanZone, while Carter is responsible for the USTrotting social media vehicles. Ross discussed how the goal of Harness Racing FanZone is to make harness racing appealing by “making it fun.”

Carter focused on explaining on how the incorporation of a social media monitoring service such as Sprout Social can vastly enhance the USTA’s outreach efforts through that medium. He also emphasized the USTA’s social media program will continue to improve, and the team is dedicated to diligently promote the sport in all facets, as well as in any capacity.

Ross’ presentation illustrated the new ideas and approaches the social media team has employed that were extremely successful. For instance, she revealed the Lip Synch Battle video, which was modeled after the popular television reality series, gained more than 150,000 views on YouTube.

Created in conjunction with Stacey Cahill and El Dorado Scioto Downs, the video went “viral” and four tracks decided to “battle” back with reproductions of their own work.

Ross also reviewed the Carpool Karaoke video with Corey Callahan that proved to be very successful. Modeled after the James Corden version, this component of the social program will be continued with a new production unveiled in the very near future. Ross’ main point was tying harness racing to situations in pop culture, or mainstream life, could yield tremendous rewards. (USTA)

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