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USTA announces new social media marketing program
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - by Dan Leary, USTA director of marketing and communications

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Columbus, OH --- The United States Trotting Association, the national organization for the harness racing industry, today announced that it has retained Converseon, the New York based, award-winning social media consultancy, to design and implement a social media marketing initiative designed to help drive awareness and visibility for the sport.

USTA/Mark Hall photo
Rob Key is the CEO of Converseon, the New York based, award-winning social media consultancy.

The initiative is a first-of-its-kind for harness racing and is designed to first build a common framework and foundation for the various industry groups, tracks and other related constituencies. The program is expected to expand over time to explore the application of new, innovative mobile and social technologies to improve the experience of the product itself.

Wagering handle for harness racing in 2012 was nearly $1.5 billion.

“Harness racing is an exciting sport with a rich tradition that once was one of the leading sports in the country,” said USTA President Phil Langley. “But in the modern world, we need to use modern ideas and methods. Hopefully, this initiative into social media will allow us to communicate with our present fan base and also reach out to a new generation that doesn’t know about our sport.

“I believe we are very lucky to team with Rob Key, who is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts because he is not only an expert in the field of social media but also has an extensive background in harness racing.”

The initiative comes on the heels of a recent successful social media proof-of-concept to support the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the sport’s most prestigious race. The initiative drove substantial interest, engagement and awareness via multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

“Effective social media engagement is an ongoing process, not just a one-off campaign,” said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. “Our approach will be to not only help a largely decentralized industry comprised of multiple and often independently-owned constituents work together through a common framework, but to also help them build the capabilities necessary to sustain their success over time. We’re very excited by the prospect of helping to reinvent a 200-year-old sport through new social technologies and publishing. We look forward to partnering with the industry to help enable them to share their passion and excitement for the sport with others.”

About the USTA

The United States Trotting Association, located in Columbus, Ohio, is a not-for-profit association of Standardbred owners, breeders, drivers, trainers, and officials, organized to provide administrative, rulemaking, licensing and breed registry services to its members and to promote the sport of harness racing. For more information on the USTA, visit www.ustrotting.com.

About Converseon

Founded in 2001, Converseon is a multiple-award winning full service social consultancy that helps clients meet their business objectives through social media. Among its recognitions is the SAMMY Award for “Best Social Media Agency,” a WOMMIE (for Best Word of Mouth Program), among many others. For additional information, contact Converseon at info@converseon.com or learn more about Converseon at www.converseon.com, www.twitter.com/converseon or blog.converseon.com.


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