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hunting shooting firearms social media company

5 Ways To Understand How Social Media Can Work For Your Hunting Company

By Firearms and Hunting, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


If you’re like most business owners or marketers in the firearms, shooting and hunting industries, social media is still a bit of a mystery. A lot of marketers and business owners think that social media is a waste of time or are vague on how to effectively use it. Like all things we don’t understand, we typically just shrug it off.

We know we have to have a Facebook page—and maybe even a Twitter account, but still we struggle to grasp the importance of social media and its use.

Social media can be explained like this: Social media is digital word-of-mouth. Like traditional word-of-mouth or referrals, you share content, ideas, recommendations, stories or pictures with people who are your neighbors, friends or family. If you stop for a moment and think about it, most of the services and products you have bought in the past—have come from referrals by neighbors, friends or family.

If people find your information (i.e. content) useful or interesting—odds are they will share it, tweet it, like it or buy it.

Social media helps get your information or content out to more people—and given the right circumstances, can grow your website traffic, leads and customers exponentially. By spreading your content far and wide—you cast a bigger net, which means you increase your odds of generating more customers.

Here are 5 ways to finally help you understand how social media works in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry. 

 

1. Social media starts with valuable and relevant content 

If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then social media starts with creating content. You can’t attract new customers without generating content. Content can be created in the form of blogs, videos, whitepapers, ebooks or infographics. Tweet, share and post these pieces of content and distribute them on your social media networks to maximize your content reach. Write your content specifically for your buyer persona.

Should I post the same content on all networks?

To help you better understand the differences of social media, here are few comparisons made by social media guru, Guy Kawasaki (1.7 million followers on Twitter)

  • Facebook = People. It’s mostly for communicating with those with whom you already have some connection.
  • Twitter = Perceptions. It can help you build your reputation and visibility.
  • Google+ = Passions. It’s for sharing your passions with others who have the same passions.
  • Pinterest = Pinning. It’s about beautiful images and finding great stuff.
  • LinkedIn = Pimping. He means this in a good way, Kawasaki said. “LinkedIn can help you position yourself as a serious person and influencer.”

For Facebook, you’ll want to bring your content down to a human level and mix it up with real-life experiences. Try to make your content sound “casual” and make it fun. Posts on Facebook should be about office happenings and culture. Think reality show.

For LinkedIn, dress your content up in a suit. Make sure you add your own personal comment as to why you’re posting. Try to think in terms of how to establish yourself as an influencer or perhaps even a thought leader.

For Twitter, you only have 140 characters to get your point across. Your tweets should be short and succinct. Try to invoke curiosity or urgency to drive clicks to your content.

Buffer found that tweets with images receive 18% more clicks. Always add an interesting, eye-catching picture. This also goes for Facebook and LinkedIn.

What the heck is a hashtag?
Hastags (#) are used to identify a subject. So if you were to post something about Elk hunting in the Rockies you may tweet something like: “Elk Hunting is the Best in the Rockies! #hunting #firearms #wyoming” What the hashtag does, is allow other users to search for the same hashtag. This creates a small micro-community that follows an interest, event or subject.

2. Identify which channels work best for your business

Not all social media channels work and operate the same (as noted above). The only way to understand what network works for you is to experiment. We typically have more success on Twitter and LinkedIn than on Facebook. So we concentrate a lot of our efforts on those channels because they are more B2B oriented.

If you’re focused on reaching women (which is currently exploding in the industry) – you may want to try Pinterest as their members are almost 90% female.

Google+ should be used to help with increasing search engine rankings and indexing your pages. Google continues to struggle with creating a viable social network. However, Google+ should not be overlooked. 

 

3. Curate other people’s content and follow back your customers!

In order to start gaining followers, you must tweet, post and share often–especially on Twitter. It’s recommended that to gain followers on Twitter you need to tweet at least 4x a day—for starters. It’s been proven the more you tweet, the more followers you get.

You won’t have enough content in the beginning—so tweet other industry/topic relevant content. Make sure to follow the 80/20 rule: tweet 80% of other people’s content and only 20% of yours. By retweeting, favoriting and sharing other people’s content, you gain followers as people are likely to follow you back.

For LinkedIn and Facebook, I recommend once a day or at least 4 times a week to maintain top-of-mind awareness. Back off if you sense people are getting annoyed or you start losing followers. Always be professional and courteous. Do not use profanity or coarse language.

Most companies in the industry are highly self-promotional. They are always tweeting out their latest products, sales, deals and happenings—push, push, push.  Their social media strategy dictates that:  Follow less people and have more followers than we’ll be considered more important.” Companies in the hunting, firearms and shooting industries should follows their customers back. Social media isn’t about being the most popular kid on the playground—it’s about sharing and  associating with the people you are trying to help, build a relationship with to turn them into life-long customers. 

Here’s how this plays out. I’m considering a new AR-15. So I head to Twitter and follow Stag Arms, Colt and Daniel Defense so I can learn more about their products and get updates on their latest news to help make a decision on what AR-15 to buy. Out of those three companies, Stag Arms ends up following me back! Wow. A big brand like Stag, wants to follow me? Guess who I’m going to buy from. Stag! So go ahead, follow back! You tell your potential customers you’re interested in them and you care about them. This goes along way in establishing your branding and inbound marketing strategy

 

4. Boost your content on Facebook

Facebook has changed its news feed recently and it has become harder to get your content in front of the right audience. Facebook now offers “boosts” to reach your target audience outside of your network for increased exposure. Boosts start at $20 and go up from there. Boosts are a cost effective way to drive traffic and capture likes, leads and shares.

 

5. LinkedIn is about establishing yourself as an influencer and thought leader to establish credibility

Once you commit to creating valuable content, you’ll begin to learn even more about the industry and your buyer personas. An amazing thing happens when you start to research, read, tweet, post, write and curate content. You wake up one day and realize that you’re living on the bleeding edge of the latest trends, industry news and technology. You become a resource that others will find useful. I tell this to my customers who are venturing into inbound marketing. Like training for an Ironman, you start out slow, but gradually over time, you gain momentum and fitness to go the distance—and before you know it, you’re a stud triathlete.

Ok, if you’ve made it this far down on this article, you may be asking, OK great, how does participating in social media really help my business? Here are 5 important reasons:

  1. Builds your brand and reputation
  2. Social proof (i.e. a lot of followers) establishes trust among leery visitors
  3. Attracts customers you otherwise would not have reached
  4. Drives traffic to your content and landing pages to convert visitors to leads
  5. Establishes yourself as resource, influencer and thought leader to a global audience

So there you have it.

If you were confused about how social media works—you should now have a better understanding. Social media starts with valuable content, choosing the right network, curating other peoples content (80/20 rule), following your prospects back, tweeting to drive traffic, boosting on Facebook to gain shares, and using LinkedIn to establish yourself as a credible thought leader. If you still have questions? Contact us or give us a call to see how to make social media work for your business. 

hunting-outdoor-internet-guide
Free Ebook: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound Marketing for the Hunting, Outdoor and Firearms Industry

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the 6 essential steps to internet marketing success.

1. Optimizing Your Website
2. Creating Content
3. Implementing a Social Media Strategy
4. Converting Visitors into Leads
5. Nurturing Leads into Customers
6. Analyzing & Refining Data

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

how to prospect a new indusrty for new customers

How To Prospect A New Industry For Customers

By Inbound Marketing, Sales, Social Media

If you’re thinking about breaking into a new industry for the purpose of selling your products or services, there are few things that inbound marketing and social media can offer you to make your efforts more effective.

But with so many different points of entry like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and blogs—where does one begin?

Inbound marketing is a way to use content to attract your ideal customers to your website. Inbound then uses social media as a distribution mechanism to spread your content to those you hope to do business with by attracting them to your website for lead capture. This methodology has been proven to shorten sales cycles, garner trust with your prospects and boost referrals—which is critical to building a presence in an industry you’ve never been involved with before.

With so many of your prospective customers already on social media, you may be missing out on ample opportunities to fill your sales pipeline.

In this article, we’ll look at how inbound marketing combined with “social media prospecting” can help you break into new industries to prospect new customers.

[box type=”info” size=”large”]Seventy-eight percent of sales people using social media outsell their peers. (Source: Forbes)[/box]

1. Search industry organizations
To begin, start by looking online for trade and industry associations you’re interested in. A simple search should turn up several results. Industry association websites typically have content on industry statistics that you can download for free without paying a membership fee. These pieces of content can give you helpful insight into the industry you’re prospecting. In last week’s article, we highlighted a few of these industries. Trade show websites also provide great sources to learn about the industry you’re investigating. Check out this list of trade associations to get started.

2. Add “top” or “best” to your web search to identify category leaders
It’s funny how most companies will describe their product or services as “top” or being the “best”—even when they are clearly not the best in their category. However, there are some legitimate sources that you can use to your advantage that will point you in the right direction. By simply adding ”best” to your search: best aircraft manufacturer, best hunting brands, top financial advisors, most purchased computer monitors, best doctors in Raleigh, best branding agencies, etc…, you’ll be able to figure out who the leaders are in any given category. This will provide you some framework into the industry you’re looking to do business with and a list of companies to go after.

3. Utilize your personal networks
If you know some people in the industry you are targeting, it doesn’t hurt to call them up and ask them a few questions. Maybe even take them to coffee. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Where do you go for information? Blogs, newspapers, trade journals?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • Where do you acquire most of your customers?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Do you use social media?
  • Do you use Google for search?
  • What was the last topic you searched on?

By asking where your potential prospects spend time online (or offline) will help you understand how these people think and where you can focus your marketing and sales efforts in the future.

 4. Create relevant content
61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy from that company. (Source: Custom Content Council)

In order for your social prospecting efforts to gain traction, you must create content. Blogs are the first best place to start to attract prospects. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI. (Source: HubSpot State of Inbound, 2014) 

By creating a blog article zeroed in on prospective industry keywords and your ideal customers, you’ll have the ability to share your thoughts, tips and advice with those in the industry you hope to do business with—which creates value. If you have little information to draw upon—start with simple industry statistics. As you become more familiar with the category, more ideas on in-depth topics you can write about will emerge.

landing pageSecondly, create a downloadable offer like an ebook, whitepaper or case study. You can create a landing page on your website specifically targeting the keywords your prospects are using so your page shows up in search results. Using a form will allow you to capture inbound leads once a prospect decides to download your offer. Using inbound tactics saves an average of 13% in overall cost per lead. (Source: HubSpot State of Inbound, 2014) 

When you do reach out over email, social media or phone, your offer has already initiated some initial trust in the mind of your prospect. And with 57% of the purchasing process over before ever talking to sales, its important to make sure your website is up to snuff. (Source: Executive Board

[box type=”info” size=”large”]You are 70% more likely to get an appointment on an unexpected sale if you join LinkedIn Groups. (Source: Steve Richard, Co-Founder of Vorsight)[/box]

5. Social prospecting
The best place to prospect for new customers in a new industry is on social media. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are all great places to start looking for prospects once you know who the players are.

LINKEDIN
The professional network of LinkedIn boasts 225 million members. Top sellers use LinkedIn 6 hours per week. (Source: Jill Konrath)

Seek out industry groups on LinkedIn and join them. Notice what topics are being discussed and join in on the conversation. Share and comment on your potential prospects comments and content. This allows you to establish some thought leadership. Aim to be helpful. Find the names of people and their positions who are the decision makers—more on this below.

TWITTER
Twitter is best for understanding what your prospects are interested in. Use #hashtags to search topics, people and ideas. To find what hashtags your prospects are using, take a look at these top sites to speed the process:

Retweet, favorite and comment on those prospects you are trying to build a relationship with and create a list for those people and companies to organize your feeds.

FACEBOOK
With 1.35 billion users per month, Facebook works the same as Twitter and LinkedIn. Locate the companies you want to work with and “like” them. Comment, share and like the posts to show interest.

It’s important to understand that you must approach social prospecting with the mentality that you want to help—not sell. Any advances that are too “salesy” or aggressive, may put a bad taste in your prospects mouth. Take it slow at first; aim to connect on an emotional level, help and be authentic. The goal here is to warm your leads so that when you do post a blog article or send an email or call them, they’ll know who you are.

[box type=”info” size=”large”]Personal value has 2x as much impact as business value does, and 71% of B2B buyers who see personal value will purchase a product. (CEB)[/box]

6. Create a list of prospects using a CRM
Utilize a CRM tool to track your prospects. A great tool we use is Sidekick and HubSpot’s CRM. It allows us to streamline our information gathering and prioritize our leads and sales pipeline more efficiently.

CRM

In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. (Source: Gartner Group

Hubspot’s CRM combined with Sidekick allows you to identify who your potential decision makers are, making your initial calls/contacts more productive.

7. Set SMART goals
No effort should take place without SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). A good example of a SMART goal looks something like this:

  • Prospect 25 companies that includes the contact information of decision makers
  • Identify and connect on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter
  • Close 2 customers by the end of Q215
  • Sales Goal: $50K

Combine SMART goals with your CRM to stay focused and consistent.

To wrap up, breaking into a new industry or vertical can be fun and exciting. Social media prospecting combined with some inbound marketing tactics like blogging, landing pages and content offers can build out your sales pipeline and allow you to make some strong inroads into a lucrative new industry.

Social Prospecting Workbook

Social Prospecting Workbook:
How To Use Social Media To Find New Leads

By downloading this social prospecting workbook, you’ll learn the fundamentals of listening to social media conversations in order to generate new leads for your business.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

How to build a person network

How To Build A Personal Network In A New Town

By Networking, Social Media

 12 months ago I moved from Denver to Indianapolis. Picking up shop and moving my business across country to start a new office in a new city can be fairly—or need I say—downright stressful.

Many questions come up: Will we make it? How will we generate leads? How will we stay afloat? These uncertainties, among many other, kept me up nights.

I soon discovered the business environment into which I had immersed myself was almost 180 degrees different from that I had left.

Denver is a highly transient town. People are always moving in and out. Four out of 10 new Colorado residents came from elsewhere in the U.S. (Source: Denver Post). In Denver, everyone stays in their bubble and relies heavily on Google to find the products and services they need.

In Indy, growth is stagnant if not decreasing (Source: World Population Review). You have generations of family roots and a layer of networking where business is strictly done by word-of-mouth and referrals. In this environment, it’s all about who you know. If you need something, you ask someone rather than going to Google to find it yourself. It’s no wonder that a company like Angie’s List—a company based on word-of-mouth reviews—was founded in Indianapolis.

My concerns were validated at a local networking event when a VP of a large metals company specifically stated to me: “I would never go to the internet to search for something you do” (i.e. inbound marketing and branding services).

Whoa.

Even more interesting, our keywords and rankings in Denver are the same as they are in Indy with one big difference: the search volume is almost 10x higher in Denver!

Determined not to let this whole thing get me rattled, I got busy thinking on how to solve the problem. I had to start my business all over again, this time by word-of-mouth.

If you’re moving your business or starting an office in a new city, here are 8 tips to keep in mind.

1. Figure out the business climate
I looked into the business climate in Indianapolis and everything looked great. Low unemployment, a fair amount of startups, diverse industries, a thriving healthcare and medical device sector and supporting services sector. I looked at my competitors, who, compared to Denver, were definitely more savvy— but felt I could still carve out a niche.

What I failed to do is contact everyone I knew in Denver to ask who they knew in Indianapolis. This could have given me insight into how to best approach a strong referral market. Instead, I approached it by analyzing search engine rankings.

2. Download Eventbright now
Eventbright is a networking app that gives you all the latest networking events in a particular geographic area. Search for your type of business and you’ll find a host of events to attend in order to build your personal network. Be committed to attending a new event every other week for the next 6 months. Another great resource is Networking After Work.

3. Set goals and make friends
For every network event you attend, set a goal that you wish to achieve. It can be: Talk to 10 people; get 5 business cards; make 5 connections on LinkedIn, etc. Have a goal going in. Don’t flake out until you’ve achieved it. Meeting people can be challenging, especially if you have introverted tendencies (like myself). Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

Having trouble breaking the ice? Here are some opening phrases to start out with.

  • Hi, I’m_____.
  • What brings you here tonight?
  • What kind of business is______?

For some ideas, take a look at HubSpot’s Inbound 2014 Networking Page.

These are all pretty basic, but they get the conversation started. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be about business at all. At a recent event, I met a sales rep and we talked about our college fraternities and our mutual love of running. Remember everyone is there to accomplish the same thing – build their network and make friends—which brings me to my next point.

4. Perfect your elevator pitch

At a networking event, be prepared to give your elevator pitch in less than 30 seconds. Figure out what makes your services/products unique. Have in mind what your ideal customer looks like and how to talk to them. Make it interesting and intriguing.

5. Meet with anyone and everyone, send a good follow up
Once you make those connections and exchange business cards—make sure to follow up. Be willing to meet with anyone for a beer, coffee or have lunch. You don’t know where it may lead—you really have nothing to loose. If the person you’re meeting with can’t afford you or isn’t a good fit for your services, they may know someone who could be. Make sure to send a follow up email and connect on LinkedIn.

6. Connect with people in your industry
Attend events hosted by the industry leaders in your area. Even though you offer the same services, their ideal client may be much different than yours, and there might be opportunities for business referrals. Make that known and make some friends. Prove to them you’re a great company to refer too and visa versa.

7. Google maps
Local search is crucial as you’ll want to make sure your business shows up on searches just in case someone does Google you. Make an effort to go to Google/places and register your new business address.

8. Shamelessly ask
Again, you really have nothing to loose, so go ahead and ask your colleagues, clients, friends and peers if they know anyone they could refer you to. A lot of times they would be more than happy to help you out. I sent an email to a client who is a physician from the area and he sent me back 5 names and introduced me over email. In most cases, people will go out of their way to help you. Just remember to pass it forward when someone reaches out for your help.

In conclusion, moving to a new town and starting a new personal network takes work. Figure out before hand what you’re dealing with, download the Eventbright app, sign up for events and set a goal to keep you in the game. Say yes to every meeting, connect with people in your industry, get your listing on Google places and don’t be afraid to ask—even shamelessly in some cases. By following these 8 key points, you’ll be off to building your network in no time.

For another great article on this topic: How to build a network from scratch.

Are you new or starting a business in the Denver or Indianapolis area? Contact us to learn  how we can get your business started on the right path to success.

 

 

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.