Shooting Sports And Firearms Companies Get Connected To Social Media
Author: Brian Johnson, Editor Ammoland.com
Author: Ashley Burgess, Senior MARCOM Manager Laura Burgess Marketing
Manasquan, NJ - -(Ammoland.com)- Few marketers truly understand the syndication and reach potential of new social media tools. The engine that drives new media marketing is content and “content is king” in social media. A marketer helps clients by producing quality content to drive visitor interest and maintain a brand in the eyes of the marketplace. Social media provides the technical environment to syndicate content, using the new media tools to locate interested users and deliver news, events and commentary to maintain interest and enhance the value of a brand.
Social media marketing is the future of building brand awareness through content syndication. The Shooting Sports industry is the perfect industry for this marketing method. Internet activism through blogs and user forums are abundant in the shooting and firearms industry. There are large volumes of users embracing the technology that is the foundation of social media marketing.
Email Marketing One Piece of the Pie
As an Editor of Ammoland.com I have the pleasure of working with a number of industry leading companies discussing advertising and marketing. Many established companies rely heavily on email marketing to get their message out. Email marketing has a value but innovation with smart phones and the rapidly changing habits of email users are impacting the effectiveness of email marketing. Effective marketers must look to adapt their methods to maximize their reach. Email marketing click through rates and subscription rates are on the decline. I recently read that nearly 35% of email broadcasts never reach the intended recipient. Many email recipient’s are opting out of broadcast email lists in preference to receiving updates through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, user forums and other real time news sources such as Ammoland Shooting Sports News.
Mobile devices are changing the habits of users and marketers need to adapt to the new technology. Smart marketers know that innovation means opportunity. Mobile devices are being used to receive emails but the opportunity to deliver an effective marketing message through email to a mobile device is in jeopardy. As users migrate from traditional personal computer based email clients to smart mobile devices they are reducing the volume of email they receive by opting out of non essential emails lists. Marketing email’s tend to be the first to go in this transition.
Users are not abandoning their quest to stay informed. On the contrary, their desire to receive interest specific news is growing as they learn how to tweak their smart device to retrieve the content they seek. In fact users are tuning their mobile devices to stay informed by adding specialized applications to track their favorite events and sports. Other users are using Facebook to stay on top of friends, family and of course, their personal interests. It’s easy for a user to become of fan or friend of a company through Facebook. Building a Facebook page for your company is simple but your efforts to make the social media connection do not stop there.
Being an effective social media marketer requires a concentrated effort, just like email marketing. Producing content with regular frequency, content that works well in all delivery devices and content that communicates your message is vital to your online marketing success. Adding your Facebook page, Twitter account, or LinkedIn page to all your announcements is a logical next step in building an online social following through the established social media sites. Making the social connection with the user is your goal. Like adding subscribers to your email list, building a social following can help you reach more users with your message in more ways then ever before.
Create a Social Media Plan
Before you jump into the world of social media marketing, you should develop a well thought out plan of attack. Do not just jump on the bandwagon of every popular site hoping people will find you. Just like with any other marketing, you want to do your research and make sure your client base is out there. This is not necessarily a numbers game. Sure, it’s great to look at your Facebook Fan Page and see you have thousands of fans, but are they quality leads? It is better to find and join sites with targeted, quality leads who are serious about your product, even though that number may be small, than to join a social media site and have thousands of contacts that you can’t move down your pipeline. Remember, numbers aren’t everything.
Once you have targeted which social media sites are right for you and your company, then create your plan. Your persona should be consistent across all platforms. Who you present yourself or your company as online should be what you and your company represent in person. This is an era and these are platforms of authenticity and transparency. If you deceive your followers, they will leave you. Ensure that you have the same image, similar usernames and similar descriptions of your company for each platform to make it easy for users to recognize and find you.
Remember that social media platforms are only as effective as the time and energy you put into them. Social media sites are a great way to get your name out there as a Subject Matter Expert. Don’t just push out content about sales and deals that your company is offering, although do keep in mind that your goal is to find new contacts through these sites and drive them to your main website. If you offer nothing more than hot deals and what is on sale at your site, people will get bored of you and stop paying attention. If you present your company as an industry leader, share your thoughts and opinions on hot topics, answer questions when asked, pose questions when you are looking for information, then people will look to you for more. They will trust you and respect your opinion.
Make the Right Partners
Finding an effective syndication partner like Ammoland.com can help you connect with more users. Ammoland pushes content out to many different social media sites including Facebook, Technorati and Google news. Increasing your content distribution helps you reach a greater volume of users and will keep your content in front of your target user. Ammoland helps break down some technical barriers in the distribution of content. Some shooting enthusiasts get Ammoland shooting sports news on their iPhone while others are getting real time feed updates streaming through Facebook. I was amazed that we have such a fast growing group of readers using our news feed through Amazon Kindle. Lexus Nexus is another downstream partner that uses our media feed to deliver pro firearms news to their user base. An effective syndication partner can help a company drive their message beyond the limitation of a device or a service and that means more coverage in more places.
Don’t be alarmed if you’re not building a huge following through Twitter or other social media sites. Users may choose to source your news through an aggregator like Ammoland. We deliver a snapshot of news across the industry, every day, making our news source vertical while delivering as much information as possible. A syndicated news aggregator like Ammoland is attractive to users who want more interesting news on vertical topics like shooting sports.
So how can the shooting industry embrace social media marketing? Like all marketing efforts, social media marketing starts with a good plan. Random tweets will not replace your email marketing. Deciding what content to push out through social media is critical. Some content must be adapted to communicate your message in the medium you choose; in the case of Twitter, you only have 140 characters to make an impression. A static press release may need to be upgraded to include video and high resolution images. The title of a press release is more important now then ever as a properly worded title with key marketing terms is vital to click through rates on downstream media syndication sources. Many social media sites will only stream the title of an article to a smart phone and user action is required to push the full article to the device. Creating custom landing pages for your press announcements with traceable URLs that deliver the statistic is important for today’s marketer who is looking to understand the effectiveness of a press release pushed through the social media syndication process.
Engage & Respond
Reaching your clients through social media is only half the task. Unlike static press or email, social media offers the ability for a company to engage the end user and communicate their message in real time. Comments and user forums should be tracked using tools like Google alerts to find all environments where a company’s products or name are mentioned. Marketers should use these user conversations to transfer their intimate company knowledge and to keep the user receiving the right message. Connecting with users and communicating your company message is the true intention of social media marketing.
About Brian Johnson
A ten year veteran to ecommerce and search engine based marketing Brian is an Editor and owner of the popular shooting sports news website Ammoland.com. Ammoland is pushing out industry specific news content to keep Shooters in the know on the latest innovations and happenings regarding firearms and shooting sports. Get connected with Brian on Linkedin , Facebook, or receive all the industry news in real time through Ammoland.com. If your company is involved in shooting sports please send us your press announcements, product announcements, staff or sponsorship news. Ammoland will publish your news through our syndicated network for FREE.
About Ashley Burgess
Ashley is a graduate of Babson College, one of the leading private business colleges within the country, and currently serves as Senior MARCOM Manager for Laura Burgess Marketing, a public relations and marketing communications firm for the law enforcement, tactical, military, shooting sports, home building, boating and recreational fishing markets. She is THE Social Media Guru on board and has written several White Papers on LinkedIn, Twitter and a forthcoming Facebook edition. Get connected with Laura Burgess Marketing on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or sign up to receive our bi-monthly newsletter. Looking for a la carte or retainer public relations and marketing communications services? Contact Laura Burgess Marketing today and discover all our wonderful services.
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