Why Your Business Will Die on Social Media

Social Media Marketing | Death of a Hunting and Fishing Business

By: Jeremy Flinn, Chief Marketing Officer

If you haven’t noticed a drop in organic activity on platforms like Facebook, then you likely didn’t have a very active business page to begin with. For those businesses who grew large followings on social media platforms and possibly even their bank accounts via incredible branding and product sales, the “heyday” is long gone. All of those who laughed when Facebook valued itself in the billions of dollars, yet was making no money, now have seen the grand plan unfold with even the smallest businesses “boosting” posts in hopes of reaching more customers. You can shake your head at it, but the over quarter TRILLION dollar valuation of the ZERO profit Amazon that you likely use regularly will likely pull a rabbit out of its hat soon as well in order to justify the number. Regardless, the bottom line is social media marketing is critical to every marketing strategy, but if used incorrectly it can cost businesses in the hunting and fishing sector more than just “fans.”

For years, hunting and fishing companies have built their businesses upon the rapidly growing social media platforms. The problem is even though it is “your page,” you control very little. From the content, you can post to the people you reach, the platform determines your success and failure. For instance, many companies have been scratching their heads over the massive drop in engagement and reach on Facebook. You see Facebook delivers content via specific algorithms. In many cases, great content still does great. However, great content is rare, and what is posted is lackluster advertisements and promotions. So, it becomes a “pay to play” model. How do you think the social media giant was ever going to live up to such an insanely high IPO? Surely wasn’t through adding me into Farmville. The fact is they control the algorithm, which controls your reach. As you became more and more dependent on the platform, they began to squeeze the reach of your posts. Now you are likely in a position where much of your business banks on these platforms whether for sales, sponsorship numbers, or both. What do you do?

social media marketingThe Harsh Reality Social Media Marketing

Well, I can say this. If you aren’t planning on dumping a lot of spend money onto the platform it won’t be getting any better. And for many, even if they have the money, it will do nothing for them. Why? Facebook’s strict Community Standards and Policies, will prevent anyone pushing firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows, knives, and many more items related to our sector from “promoting” posts through paid advertisements. Not only that, but many pages are finding organic posts to their fans that violate policies are now getting pulled, and pages are being threatened to be deleted! Can you imagine losing that following base? Well you need to, because if you do or show any of the above, it’s coming. At some point having a harvested whitetail buck in the photo with your bow beside you will be enough to unpublish your Facebook business page, and force you to audit your entire page and clean it up of related posts.

When that is your business, what do you do?

Now is the time to take control. You need to grow the assets you control which includes your website, content, and email list. If you are neglecting these now, you better get to work. These are the only assets at the end of the day that you can fully control and guide to success. No, your TV show is not something you control, nor is the magazine ad you placed. You directly influence via your actions with your website, content, and email list. And your current social media platforms can help you grow those, you just have to know how to use them wisely.

What does this look like? Take a look…

About the Author: Jeremy Flinn is Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Stone Road Media, an outdoor industry marketing company focused on brands in the hunting, fishing, shooting, and outdoors. For questions about your own content marketing, drop him an email at jeremy@stoneroadmedia.com.

Stone Road Media’s Marketing Media Kit

Stone Road Media | Social Media Internship Opening

Stone Road Media Marketing | Social Media Internship Opening

Are you a college student or a recent grad looking to gain experience and kickstart your career? Is social media marketing your passion? Do you love the Great Outdoors? What you’ll get from interning with Stone Road Media:

-Hands-on experience with social media marketing and campaigning
-Gain the necessary skills to add to your resume and future career
-Experience with managing your own projects
-Flexible hours

Intern will be expected to:
-Setup, manage, and write engaging content on various social media platforms
-Maximize visibility on social media platforms
-Grow following and engagement on social media platforms
-Interact with followers on social media platforms
-Based on given topic, write an informed blog post based on research and relevance
-Share unique ideas and display creativity in social media marketing efforts

-Interns must have a love for the Outdoors (Hunting, Fishing, Hiking, Shooting Sports, and More)
-Intern must be knowledgeable and experienced with various social media platforms including but not limited to: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat etc.
-Must be comfortable with and proficient at blogging on topics focused on self-care, mental health, relationships, and other self-improvement related topics.
-Must be able to meet necessary deadlines
-Must be passionate about social media marketing
-Must have a computer/laptop of your own
-Must have a reliable access to a cell phone for phone-meetings and conferences
-Must have excellent written communication skills
-Must understand the difference between representing a brand vs. representing oneself on social media
-Must be somewhat knowledgeable and proficient at using Adobe Photoshop or similar photo editing software
-Must be able to receive constructive criticism when needed

-Must be withing driving distance of Uniontown, Pa office

Please email info@stoneroadmedia.com for serious inquires (Please include resume and link to online portfolio if available.)

Shooting and Tactical Marketing | Sniping Valuable SERP Real Estate

Sniping SERP Real Estate | Shooting and Tactical Marketing Plans

Photo By: Steve Smolenski – CEO/CTO
Graphics By: Deanna Riley – Web & Graphic Specialist
Article By: Weston Schrank -Content Marketing Manager

While it might be hard, I am going to try and refrain myself from going into the now scripted writing of talking about why content creation and content marketing is important. It in all honesty does feel scripted, like I am supposed to type those keys, those words, and those sentences in order on my keyboard to tell you the reader why content is important. Not today, I will not do it this time…By now, whether you are arriving at this blog from our own site or another blog, or if you have arrived from an organic search result, chances are you very well know how important content is. So saving time and space, I will move on to perfecting content marketing and moving on to the advanced stages by becoming deadly accurate with that content. This idea is how we have, and you can/should move on from basic digital marketing to full out sniping valuable SERP real estate. This is taking outdoor industry marketing, and more specifically shooting and tactical marketing to the next level, becoming a hardened content marketer, manager, or creator by creating top SERP ranking posts for anything you want…

“Each piece of content that is chambered into your content marketing machine should be primed with the proper optimization and value, dialed in with the correct keywords, and fired into the most effective location and position for your brand and product…resulting in leads and a lethal hit to your competition” – that is sniping valuable SERP real estate, that is effective shooting and tactical marketing…

SERP Real Estate?

Now when you’re going out to the field with a rifle, scope, and ammunition in hand, you have to know the lay of land and the terrain to determine what you are shooting at. You figure distance, wind, and factors that affect the flight to that target. In the case of your brand, product, or company this is learning what the real estate space is like on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).  But it goes beyond that, you have to look into what you can expect, what keywords, and long tails you should rank for, their average search volumes, what traffic you will own with a 1-5 or a first page position on that SERP. This is going into an intense content strategy for some, but for others it’s simply learning how to dial yourself and the content in. The fact is now is the time to do it! Dialing yourself, your brand, and your company in now will seize that real estate up before the industry and your competition does or plans to do so.

If you have a sense of marketing you know about content, its importance, and why you should create and optimize it. But really how valuable is this SERP real estate and how much work is involved to get the content there? What kind of traffic are you looking at…why does it matter that you have a presence on the first page of a search related to you? These question being contemplated in your mind might help move things along.


This graph derived from Advanced Web Ranking shows you a general idea of what kind of traffic the first page rankings will give you. Generally the numbers come to around 30-35% for #1, around 15-17% for #2, around 10% for #3, and around 3-8% for 4-10, and lower off of the first page. Now these numbers are extremely variable taking into consideration what type of keyword it is (unbranded vs. branded), long tail keywords, whether or not the SERP contain ads, and where they are located (top, bottom, or right side), and the search intent. In general the percentages and the graph will look the same. The real number we see off of this is that on average 70-75% of the clicks are on the first page…around 65-70% of those being #1-#5! This is no big trade secret, but knowing what to do with this information plus a few more tools is a skill and trade acquired with experience.

Is Ranking for Shooting and Tactical Marketing SERP’s Possible?

No, at least not without the knowledge, optimization, and power of literally perfect SEO tactics. So the real answer is most definitely YES, but only if you’re willing to put in the work. When it comes to firearms marketing, tactical marketing, gun marketing, and content marketing related to shooting and tactical companies, it is a tough and highly competitive field. You know this, and that is most likely why you are here in the first place.

Knowing this can almost seem entirely too daunting of a task to tackle. In this regard outdoor industry marketing, including shooting and tactical marketing officers and their campaigns just revert back to google ads. That is the easiest way to derive traffic from SERPs right? Yes and no, google ads have their place. In fact sponsored results account for 64.6% of clicks for high commercial intent keyword searches, while 35.4% of click are from organic unpaid search results (WordStream, 2012). But again, that is looking and considering search intent, product specific searches to be exact. When a user is searching product specific, a good strategy is being there with google ads, but SEO and organic search still does own informational searches, the information that consumers look for when educating themselves before they buy. In addition, your organic searches can own real estate right under ads, keep in mind much cheaper and more long term than those ads at that…For firearms marketing, tactical marketing, and gun marketing, and all forms related to the shooting and tactical marketing industry, this is an important concept to understand.

Let’s say we look up “holsters”. If someone is looking for this, they are undoubtedly looking to buy in most cases. More often than not the consumer will get much more specific than this, such as a search for “IWB holsters”. But the general search for holsters reveals top ads, right side ads, and bottom ads. In a SERP like this, organic is receiving a beat-down from sponsored results. But before the search for “holsters” might take place a majority of consumers will search with informational queries. Informational queries? In this case it might be a search such as “top concealed carry holsters” where a consumer might be looking for reviews, opinions, and a detailed article ranking concealed carry holsters. In this case, when looking for information, the consumer often skips right over the top sponsored results, and goes directly to the organic results. They are skipping the ads and going to your content.

So again going back to the real question, is trying to rank for shooting and tactical marketing SERP’s possible? Absolutely, the unquestionably great thing for content managers, strategists, and creators like me, (with any size company, budget, and resources) we can rank and compete with even the largest players in the shooting and tactical marketing industry. Know how, quality of content, consistency, and relentless creation of content can become a form of domination over competition. Content marketing and organic search results are an even playing field.

Shooting and Tactical Marketing Plans and Sniping SERP Real Estate

When and if you have a thoroughly trained asset behind a well-made and optimized machine, they can and will make devastating blows. These assets will begin knocking down rankings, any and all, whatever they choose, and the “hunting ground” is google…it is open season! We see these results everyday with our own content. We decide what keywords are most advantageous to own real estate and knock down the low hanging but valuable fruit down first. This highly specific sniping of real estate gets the ball rolling so to speak, establishing constant traffic across the content, landing pages, and shop from queries made monthly, weekly, and daily! Actually getting there with this content is an entire other discussion, again I am really trying to refrain from talking about the actual content itself, and trying to be more specific to this more advanced stage of content marketing. Sniping real estate is dialing in your content strategy, keyword and long tail keyword focuses. When this processed is refined into a well-oiled content machine, you will gain steady, reliable, and dominating flow of consumers across your website and pages, creating very valuable leads.

As you dive further into looking at inbound marketing, and trying to perfect your shooting and tactical marketing plans, it may be fitting for you to look into the assistance of an outdoor industry digital marketing firm like Stone Road Media. The least you can do is dive further into the topic of trying to develop you own content. Finding your content sweet spot, and sniping valuable SERP real estate will have great returns in the long run!


Photo: Steve Smolenski has worked in the graphics and web design field for over 19 years. His expertise is in the areas of product development, R&D, graphic design, web development, SEO, and Social Media. He thrives integrating his technology background with 27 years of hunting and wildlife management. 

Graphic: Deanna Riley grew up in western PA with a love for the outdoors, which lead to her drive to capture the essence of what’s around us in her nature photography and design work. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design, and is excellent at web, logo, and print design as well as social media.

Article: Weston Schrank is Stone Road Media’s Digital Content Manager. He has turned the obsession of outdoors and hunting, expertise in wildlife and land management, and understanding of specialized content creation and SEO into an excelling and devoted career as a content manager and strategist, benefitting the company’s many outdoor industry partners, and outdoor freelance writers.


New Facebook Reactions and How they will Affect the Outdoor Industry

Hunting, Shooting, and Fishing Marketing | Social Media Marketing for the Outdoor Industry

By: Jared Prusia: Social Media and SEO Specialist / Weston Schrank: SRM Content Manager

Chances are you have noticed the reactions by now. You know… those little faces next to the like button that came with Facebook’s latest update! Your latest Facebook social post now includes reaction buttons that include everything from a like to one heart showing “Love” and/or four emoji faces that include “Haha”, “Wow”, “Sad”, and “Angry”. For years Facebook users pleaded for a dislike button, these 6 reactions is what they decided to give us. So what does this mean for Facebook users?Facebook Reactions Stone Road Media Outdoor Industry

Why should your business or brand care?

Stone Road Media has set itself apart as an industry leader by designing and implementing numerous outdoor social media strategies and also by producing high quality outdoor content for a living, so trust us when we say “ take notice.” The new Facebook reactions will not only increase the total number of responses, but increase engagement as well by offering the user a means to better express their feelings about your post. Scrolling through on the mobile device or desktop shows you the 3 most popular reactions your content has drawn from the crowd, hovering and clicking on the reactions shows you more in depth numbers of each reaction. Besides getting more overall click volume, your posts, especially controversial ones, will produce more engagement in way of comments. Think about how many times you’ve seen a comment string go on for days about a controversial topic when all users could do like the post… Now users have the opportunity to express a huge variety of emotions toward a post with the click of a button. Scary right?

This change means more engagement potential across all of Facebook, but this potential will remain untapped without the right type of content and social posts. Audience building, and audience retaining content, posted correctly will pull and produce strong engagement. In the world of social media marketing, QUALITY content is king. Anyone can produce content, and almost anyone can produce quality content once or twice. What separates successful inbound and social media marketers from the rest of the want-to-be marketers in the outdoor industry, or any industry for that matter, is a true connection to content being produced, a means of having that content seen by your target audience, and a willingness to OUTWORK EVERYONE!

What do they really mean?

These reactions are fun and playful at first, but they have a very real purpose for your content, posts, and how your audience engages with your brand. Your audience is human, the emoji faces are humanoid by design, and every emotion is up for interpretation, or misinterpretation. The “Haha” face may mean the content is funny, or it may mean “seriously this again?”, “who cares”, “Really?” The same is true with the “Wow” emoji. While the “Like”, “Love”, “Sad”, and “Angry” are direct points, the “Haha” and “Wow” may be more difficult to understand. As is true with anything that starts out as a good thing, these features will be used, abused, and manipulated to mean things you may have not thought possible. In response to several comments regarding the simplicity of the reaction buttons…Just wait. These five new reactions may be more than your social posts are prepared to handle. Expect adversity in the response received by your social posts, listen to what is being said, and adapt your content and social media strategy accordingly. This is where it gets tricky. Anyone can listen, very few can implement accurate and purposeful change.

How to use them to your advantage

The new Facebook reactions can and will benefit Facebook, and the businesses that strive to get the most out of their social media marketing. A data, content, personality, or show type company can now tap into greater insights into what interests the users and customer. If done correctly slightly tweaked or tilted content can be used to adjust statuses and content posts to receive more reactions, more engagement, and eventually more impressions per post.

The “Old World” of the Outdoor Industry is well understood to be behind the rapidly expanding millennials that are driving the marketing in todays “New World” true business world. While there are some who have embraced the digital front, the majority of companies and brands in this industry have not. Growing a business and brand steadily, tracking all the benefits of the digital world, and knowing your target customer will lead to succeed in this industry. Again, these reactions give us more power for audience building and audience retaining content, not just those who are already buying, but more importantly those who will be buying. The world of advertising is changing rapidly. Don’t miss out!

For more information on Stone Road Media’s digital media assistance, contact us today at info@stoneroadmedia.com.


Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting Marketing | Increasing Retail Sales Through Digital Marketing

By Jeremy Flinn, Chief Marketing Officer

It should be no surprise that digital marketing is a major contributor to your overall marketing impact on potential consumers. If it is a surprise, then you likely are not adapting to the changing consumer behavior, and marketing ineffectively. Consumers are using the internet as a method to “find” what they are looking for more so today than ever before. Because of this, many companies are shifting large portions of their marketing budget to the digital realm. In 2016, worldwide spend on digital marketing is expected to be greater than traditional marketing like TV. By 2019, Forrester Research suggests that number will eclipse $100 Billion on sectors like paid search, social media, email, and display ads. In the hunting, fishing, and shooting industry, marketing is still predominantly traditional. But with tighter margins at retail, and increasing product niche competition, successful companies are embracing digital marketing in the form of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (like Google AdWords), and social media marketing through Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms. They are also exploring the vast digital ad network in hunting, fishing, and shooting communities. With this “inbound marketing” form so new to our outdoor industry, how can one maximize the internet? With so many companies relying heavily on retail sales, this results between digital marketing efforts and ROI can become even more compounded. But for anyone who dives into the digital marketing world, if done correctly, a vast amount of success lies in front of you, even at the retail sales level.

The Strategy
Like any good marketing effort, a well thought out strategy can make the difference between profit and loss. Unlike most traditional marketing plans, digital marketing can be hypertargeted. That is, the ability lies to hone in on potential customers geographically, based on interests, and even based on behavior. Sure you can advertise in a gun dog magazine, and hope to appeal to upland bird hunters. But if I want to sell high velocity, #6 shot for pheasants, I don’t know if a quail, waterfowl, or pheasant hunter is seeing that ad. With digital marketing I can narrow down my audience so precisely that I could run advertisements to various states just before the opening weekend of pheasant hunting.

Digital marketing strategy also comes in play as you begin to think about long-term versus short-term goals. For instance, a start-up tactical company might want to push both their patent-pending, concealed carry clothing, while at the same time earning brand recognition. There are two major efforts here. With digital marketing, you can set up a series of ads focusing on the general category of concealed carry clothing, while a completely separate set promoted the innovative mission of your brand. Both arrive at the same end point (your website) while delivering different marketing footprints. Not only that, but a simple click can take them to a targeted, customized landing page to engage them into the buying cycle. Let’s see a print ad do that, when odds are they are going to Google and searching your brand or product name.

Lastly, think about your budget. Likely one of the most strategized pieces each year. How much do you want to spend? Better yet, how much can you spend? With traditional marketing campaigns, the money is committed whether the media delivers customers or not. Sometimes requiring long-term commitments. With digital marketing, much of the budget can be altered monthly, daily, and even in real time! The extensive control and flexibility often makes digital marketing a clear choice for brands looking to measure marketing ROI.

Measuring Success
If none of the above strikes a chord with you, think about how successful each of your traditional marketing campaigns have been. No, not how much revenue you brought in as a company last quarter or year. The actual return generated by each individual TV, print, and radio campaign. Hard to answer isn’t it?

It’s not because you are doing something wrong, it’s simply the way things have been done for so long. You designate a portion of marketing dollars to TV, print, and radio, then sit back and hope that the campaigns are successful. If sales direct to the consumer or via purchase orders from retailers begin to climb, odds are the campaigns worked. Now to what level, or better yet which ones, well that’s the million dollar question. For many companies it literally can be worth that much. Measuring traditional marketing to the campaign level is often impossible, and prevents companies from changing their marketing strategies in mid-stride to meet year’s sales goals. This is often how companies begin to plateau in growth.

Digital marketing allows the opportunity to “be flexible” not only in ad spends, but marketing messages, creative, and even where they send a prospective buyer. This detailed data proves invaluable, regardless of whether you are selling via eCommerce direct to the consumer, or through wholesale/retail.

Measuring success through eCommerce is the easiest. Did a visitor to the website end up buying or not? Pretty simple yes or no. If you only sale via eCommerce it makes your job even easier. But for most companies that isn’t the case. In fact, many companies in our industry will generate over 70% of their gross revenue through retail or wholesale. So how can you measure the success of digital marketing at this level?

To the “exchange of currency” level, you can’t. It’s not possible, especially if you are doing other marketing efforts simultaneously. The overlap will make it extremely difficult to tease out an answer. However, there are certain key performance indicators (KPIs) that can shed some light on correlations between digital marketing efforts and an increase at the retail or wholesale level. For starters, overall web traffic is a great place to start. If web traffic is up from previous years, then the number of customers exposed to your brand and products is also up. Theoretically this leads to an increase in sales. More so, although retention of existing customers is important, much of the marketing efforts in hunting, fishing, or shooting is aimed towards the acquisition of new customers. Looking at the percent of new customers in the web analytics is also a great indicator of increased sales at retail or wholesale. Finally, and although it may take longer, is the physical purchase orders from retail and wholesale can signal success. If re-orders or quantity within orders is up, and assuming there were no other significant marketing changes, then digital marketing likely led to positive growth in your retail and wholesale revenue stream.

I’m not saying that you need to take 100% of your budget and push it into the digital marketing world, but what you need to consider is diversification. If you are not exploring past the basic means of Facebook and Twitter, you likely are not going to be successful at digital marketing. With the rapid changes in consumer behavior, you may also find your company in a not too favorable spot in the near future. Digital marketing is not the future, it’s the now!

Avoid the Google Slap | Stop Buying Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers

Avoid the Google Slap | Stop Buying Bulk Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers

By Jeremy Flinn, Stone Road Media – CMO/COO


Google and Facebook can barely stand to be in the same sentence, let alone work together. However, when we talk about search engine optimization (SEO), your strategy should include efforts on both fronts. In order to rise on Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs), you will have to build a strong social media presence, and as Google’s algorithm for SERP ranking evolves, so too will the way it integrates social media outlets like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter into the equation. But far too often, personality and company social media pages are far from factual. In fact, Instagram was the first to truly “call out” fake followers when they issued a mass purge of the fictitious followers in December 2014. The result? Top celebrities dropped over 1 Million “followers” overnight!


So where is all this going? Well the top two social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, have already been waging a war against fake accounts since 2012. Their efforts have not necessarily been in the abrupt sweep of Instagram, but more of special op missions. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if they do drop an atomic bomb in the near future on many pages disrupting huge cash flows, and even businesses as a whole.


As much as they would hate to admit it, the social media platforms are taking a page out of Google’s book. When SERP positioning was first realized as a gold mine, many search engine marketers used “black hat” SEO techniques to scream to the top positions, raking in millions. Google quickly reacted by releasing algorithm changes in the early 2000s. The 2011 Panda and 2012 Penguin updates that continue to evolve today, were some of the most influential changes on the internet in the last decade. Those same sort of changes are what the social media platforms are implementing.


Whether talking about Google, Facebook, Twitter, or the lot, the entities have a customer to answer to…the user. If the user has one “pulled over on them,” they begin to distrust the platform. This loses business for the platforms, and thus all the changes.


So how does this effect businesses and marketers? Well, the allure of  bulk buying Facebook likes or followers from places like Fiverr, is very tempting. But although the instant gratification makes you feel warm and fluffy, the long term effect will have you feeling like you were dumped on Prom night. As the social media platforms evolve to sniff out these mostly fictitious accounts, which is what you are buying for $5 per 250, 500, etc., Google is adjusting its algorithm. At some point, if your page is built on a foundation of fake followers or fans, you will fall victim to an algorithm update, and your social media value in Google’s algorithm will be less than zero. Less than zero? Yes, that’s what we like to call getting “sandboxed” by Google. Basically think about it like cutting in line during lunch, and getting caught. The teacher (Google) sends you to the back of the line…not fun, and only time helps you get back toward to food (top of SERPs).


So what do you do? Build organically! No different than creating a powerhouse website in Google ranking system, content is king. Creating unique relevant content on social media will drive your likes, followers, and fans upward. Maybe not 5,000 at a time, but then again what is the point of having 500,000 followers if none of them care about the message you’re sending or business you’re marketing. Don’t buy into the “snake oil” sales pitches on how “likes build more likes.” In the end, it is an engaging community that you want to drive business. At the very least, creating content relevant, sponsored ads in Facebook to grab new followers at a minimal cost is an option.


The Google “Slap” will come soon, and it will come down hard for a lot of celebrities and companies because of the way they have built their social media followings. Those who have done it correctly will benefit the most by being rewarded for their “good behavior.” In the end, the cream always rises to the top.


Jeremy Flinn is an inbound marketing specialist focused on growing online presence for brands and personalities.


Engage With More Outdoorsman on Social Media | Social Trotlining

Engage With More Outdoorsman on Social Media | The Art of Social Trotlining™

By Jeremy Flinn, COO, Stone Road Media Group

It’s rare to find a person, let alone a business without at least one social media account. Social media platforms have allowed business owners, both large corporations and small start-ups, to engage with potential customers in nearly real time. Whether you are simply trying to increase the amount of traffic to your website, or operate an eCommerce site in which every engaged lead could become your next paying customer social media is a critical tool in today’s internet marketing. Many outdoor industry companies have caught onto the Facebook and Twitter fad, which is about as far as their inbound marketing strategy, in particular Social Media Optimization (SMO), extends. Though these tend to be the easiest places to engage with outdoorsman, any company only engaging on these two platforms is dramatically cutting their consumer reach. The challenge for our industry is to understand the need for multiple social media platform accounts, and even more important to paint a strategy that we can easily understand. It was for these two reasons that drove our inbound marketing company, focusing on outdoor-oriented businesses, to create the concept of Social Trotlining™.

Engage With More Outdoorsman on Social Media | The Art of Social Trotlining

The Social Trotline™ | Creating an Engaging Social Media Pipeline

For most of you from the South and Midwest, “trotline” is likely a familiar term. A form of fishing, a trotline is a set in slow-moving rivers or streams typically targeting species like catfish. The set is made when a main line, which could be anything from rope or twine to heavy-duty, monofilament fishing line, is attached to a permanent or weighted structure like a tree, pier, or cinder block on both ends. Then several individual, hook sets, or leaders, are attached to the main line and baited often with different baits providing target fish a variety of choices.  The goal is to provide the targeted fish species with multiple options in a specified range which in theory increases the odds of not only a catch but multiple catches. The best part is it can be left relatively unattended once set, only checking periodically for catches.

Social Trotlining™ utilizes the exact same principles of the fishing technique. A brand (Main Line) determines its target consumer and then sets up a myriad of social media accounts (Leaders) including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. These accounts lay out a variety of digital content (Bait) that a potential lead can come through or “be caught.”

When an outdoor industry company makes a social media post on Facebook or Twitter, it’s like casting out a single rod. Although multiple outdoorsmen can be caught over time with the digital content it is very one-dimensional, and often limiting in impressions. Think of Facebook’s “News Feed” for a minute. Say your company posts a piece of digital content announcing that one of your pro staffers just harvested a Boone & Crockett whitetail. You make the post at noon during a weekday. For most people’s Facebook News Feeds the post will be buried within a couple hours unless it is “Liked” and “Commented On” a lot.

Reach more OUTDOORSMEN online | Stone Road Media

Keeping the Social Trotline™ Productive | Recurring Website Leads and Traffic

Whether you are operating a simple traffic- based or eCommerce website, the only way to continually drive targeted visitors and leads to the website is through compelling, original content. Social Trotlining™ not only increases the effectiveness of a company engaging with targeted consumers, but it also builds the companies standing as a whole in the internet universe. When you post engaging and compelling digital content on social media platforms, and people engage, Google and other search engines recognize this, particularly if it is coupled with traffic coming back to your website. Google is obviously the top-dog in the search engine realm. Whether you know it or not, Google and Facebook do not play nice together. For instance, Google weighs more page ranking results when they see you engaging with audiences in Google+ and YouTube, two companies in which they own. So by engaging in those platforms more, you will slowly see your digital content and website creep up the page ranking on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). In the same scenario, if you upload a video from YouTube into Facebook, you may only reach about 1/10th of the impressions you would have if you uploaded it directly into Facebook. Covering all your social media platforms and engaging with audiences uniquely in each will maximize the effectiveness of your Social Trotline™.

The best part of Social Trotlining™ is that it is no more work than posting to Facebook or tweeting to Twitter! With specialized Apps like HootSuite and EveryPost, you can create a single post and “Push” it to all of your social media accounts. So like running an actual trotline, there is minimal work once the initial accounts are established other than monitoring the analytics of leads coming through and refreshing the platforms with new “bait,” or compelling digital content.

Monitoring Your Social Trotline™ | A Good Visitor Is One That You Know Well

Just because someone comes to your website from Social Trotlining™ does not mean that they are a viable lead or consumer. Before you even begin to engage with audiences on social media, you should identify your “premier lead/consumer”. If you’re a B2B (Business to Business) based company, what are the characteristics of a company that would be considered a premier lead? It becomes much harder for B2C (Business to Consumer) based companies, that may have a wide range of personas that are all considered consumers.

Monitoring the number of visitors and types of visitors based on your Social Trotlining™ and digital content is critical to progress as a business. What worked? What seemed to draw the “wrong crowd”? This tends to be the most missed opportunity for businesses, particularly in the outdoor industry. Fortunately, inbound marketing agencies, like Stone Road Media, have been created to develop, execute, and monitor the social media efforts of companies. It requires a lot of time, trained professionals who understand social media and internet behaviors, and usually specialized tracking and engaging marketing software, like HubSpot.

Whatever you choose to do with your social media strategy, remember this is an immense source for generating online leads and sales. Engage users on all social media platforms, and create compelling, original digital content. Copying content from other sites is a Google “death sentence,” so do not even think of taking a shortcut. Inbound marketing is the “Now,” the return on investment is off the charts and is accurately measurable unlike many traditional marketing strategies.

For more information on Stone Road Media and its Inbound Marketing Solutions, check out the new Media and Marketing Kit

Jeremy Flinn is Chief Operating Officer for Stone Road Media Group. A wildlife biologist, digital content expert, and outdoor industry veteran in internet marketing and business development, he has launched and advised several successful outdoor industry businesses.

Social Media | Hunting and Fishing Industry Targeted Marketing

Don’t always judge the Face”BOOK” by the cover!

You either love or hate Facebook, but it is the most powerful marketing tool in the world.  Our mission is to educate our clients before we work on a project.  We see so many times the “Numbers” “Stats” ” “Impressions” look great on the outside, but when you look inside…..they are non-marketable, non-targeted numbers. Here is an example of a campaign, and its weekly numbers on Facebook.  We had one goal, gain TARGETED, USA LIKES that can be used to bring traffic back to a BLOG and or LANDING PAGE.

It worked perfectly!  Here are some stats from this week long campaign.  Our customer acquisition cost was under .10 cents per person.  We can do this for you!

Stone Road Media Facebook Marketing Outdoor Industry

 Stone Road Media: Week Campaign Results