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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

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.

 

Digital Content Marketing | A Unique and Different Digital Content Machine

Efficient Digital Content Marketing Strategy

By Weston Schrank

Stone Road Media Content Specialist

There is much more to content creation and its marketing than the point, shoot, and post method, or worse complete regurgitation of others’ content. Often the high-quality video or photo, worthy of attention, is sitting unwatched and unseen on YouTube, Facebook, or other social media platform. It has little to no value in terms of marketing or website traffic because it lacks the engagement level and power to be found by Google and the new generation of customer.

Sound familiar? Well here is why…

Every customer whether working from the office, boating at the lake house, or working out in the gym is looking to be engaged by the internet, and for the first time customers are engaging more on internet devices than other modes previously advertised and marketed. The expensive commercials and print advertisements aren’t cutting it anymore. Searchers have a need to be channeled to the content they seek. It’s simple – for every query made, there is an answer delivered by the search engine. The shift of this new generation of customer has sparked the need for a shift in thinking behind digital content creation and marketing. The key to reaching these customers for your business and brand is to produce the answers they need, via the digital content you create and optimize.

To perform efficiently, a “machine” of sorts is required. One that can handle an extreme workload without sacrificing quality, and more importantly understands your business and the target consumer. This means every gear, piston, nut, and bolt of a machine is important. Knowing the consumer and how to reach them is simple with a right machine programmed for your niche digital content creation and syndication. The creators or key components of this machine are consumers of your business, but now expanded their interaction into passionate professionals brought together for the purpose of driving others like them to your business. But, unlike a simple production line with one product (a simple photo, blog, or post), this digital content marketing machine produces unique, powerful, original content with each unit. Innovative digital content marketing specifically designed to your niche, and more specifically business. Non-regurgitated, never seen before pieces with a unique fit for maximum efficiency in driving website traffic.

Each component coming from a “professional” is not just the mindless blog or photo. It’s packaged with the ability to be found. With a strategy in mind that will reach out and engage with a specific searcher’s query relevant to your business.

There is a three in one system to this digital content marketing. Each piece is generated with creative thinking, professional knowledge, and minimal budget. But more importantly a photo or video is generated with written content, injected with search engine optimization (SEO) by one valuable individual, and then placed into the hands of a firm with the ability to get it found on Google by your target consumer.

The final product? Much more than the lifeless post on social media. Something the consumer will search for, find, connect, and engage with. The organic effect…

It’s time to rethink digital content creation and what it can do to drive inbound marketing and your business growth. It’s time to #BeDifferent with Stone Road Media.

Weston Schrank holds a Bachelor Degree from Purdue University. An advocate of communication and driving information to engagement, Weston has developed an understanding of specialized digital content creation and SEO into exciting business relations with Stone Road Media clients.

There’s More to Digital Marketing than Social Media

There’s More to Digital Marketing than Social Media

By Jeremy Flinn, Entrepreneur

You’ve heard the term more and more over the last 5 years. Digital marketing or internet advertising – at first it sounded like something that would never effect your business. Why would it? You had a steady stream of dedicated customers and seemed to have new customers engaging with your brand and products/services. It was likely that TV commercial or magazine ad you ran. You don’t know for sure, but it seems logical. But business started to plateau or even stumble a little, so you dove into the world of digital marketing head first and opened up not just one but TWO social media accounts – Facebook and Twitter. You now were engaging with customers who were active customers of your brand and products/services. But to your surprise, your business didn’t shoot off like you expected, in fact this digital marketing seemed to be a complete flop. Sound familiar? Well if opening a couple social media accounts and even doing some paid advertising on them was your way of digital marketing, you’re probably realizing you missed something.

Social media is absolutely a piece of digital marketing, and if used correctly can be a great catalyst of business growth. But even though you think it’s cool that a bunch of people “Like” your picture of cat sleeping on the cash register, that doesn’t do anything for your business unless you are a pet adoption center. Ok, maybe the cat thing was a little extreme. But think about some of the things you have posted recently on your social media platforms, and the differ engagements – Likes or Favorites, Comments, and Shares or Retweets – you received. Were they generating business for you? Likely not. In fact, recent studies show that nearly 70% of social media followers for most companies have never been to their website!

There’s a strategy with social media in order to make it an effective piece of digital marketing. If you aren’t driving or exposing social media followers to your business directly, you are likely failing. Sure it’s cool to have 50,000 Facebook fans. But if only 5% of them are actual customers, then why are you spending so much time trying to appease the rest of them? You know what’s better? 5,000 Facebook Fans in which 70% of them are highly engaged in your business, products, and/or services. Quality is much more important than quality. Why? In social media, time is your enemy. Before you know it half your day is spent trying to engage and direct social media followers to your brand and products/services.

But enough about social media. That’s only a piece of digital marketing. What about search engine optimization (SEO)? Sounds complicated, and to a point it is, but to really grasp what SEO is just Google it. No seriously, Google it. As soon as you type the phrase “What is SEO,” SEO is occurring! Google is reaching out to find the most authoritative site on the terms you are looking for and will rank them in the search engine result pages (SERPs). This complex algorithm from Google is revised and released a lot. It is often too much to comprehend for most business owners, thus the advice provided by digital marketing firms like Stone Road Media.

The term Pay-Per-Click or PPC is thrown around a lot, and often can be a quick way to drive traffic to your business. But if not managed correctly it can also be a quick way to drain the bank account. PPC, like Google AdWords, allows you to create a targeted ad for your business to “jump ahead” of the organic results on a SERP. This sounds great in theory and can be very effective, but lately, Google has found that over 80% of the clicks on the SERPs occur on the organic search results. Why? Basically the consumer has evolved and knows that the top and right columns are for “paid ads,” and tend to lean more towards the organic area as its ranked highly for a more definitive reason than “the highest bid.”

This is the tip of the iceberg for digital marketing as all of this revolves around content. Written, video, and pictures are the critical component to successful digital marketing. Not regurgitated content either; I’m talking truly original content that is relative to your brand and that your prospective customers will be legitimately interested in.

As you begin to think about incorporating digital marketing into your business, think about the total package of what this means, and avoid the trap of just social media. In the end it might be the reason your business continues to flat line or respond with positive growth.

Outdoor Industry Marketing Secrets | Using Inbound Marketing

Outdoor Industry Marketing Secrets | Using Inbound Marketing Strategies to Exploit Small Business Growth Potential

By Jared Prusia, Sr. Manager of Business Development

It’s no secret that the business world is always changing. What is often current or important one day may be completely irrelevant and outdated the next. In some ways, change sets us back; in our progress, our passions, and even our beliefs. In other ways however, change creates opportunity; the opportunity to try, to fail, and sometimes succeed. The outdoor industry has been seemingly-static for several years, but that is changing faster than you can read this blog. While some are able to sense the inevitable change, very few will be able to optimize it. Adaptive inbound marketing strategies that revolve around consumer demands, and create meaningful brand experiences are the secret to gaining a significant competitive advantage. Through search engine optimization, impactful social media presence and content marketing, your growing business can increase sales, improve customers’ experiences and pave the way for a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts in the midst of change. Time, Content, Less Money, Inbound Marketing | loyal Hunting and Fishing CustomersA key component in the current industry shift is the new generation of outdoorsmen and -women rising up to fill the place of those before them. This generational difference is more significant than ever before for one reason: technology. Understanding how consumers use new technologies everyday provides the roadmap to customer satisfaction. Studies show that about 27% of time spent online is on social networking sites; followed closely by entertainment and shopping. Even in the deer stand or turkey blind, almost every hunter has a cell phone in their pocket where social media, Google, and YouTube are just a click away. Effective inbound marketing strategies use technology to build a relationship with the customer via providing exactly what they are looking for, which is much more meaningful than a commercial on TV or an ad in a magazine. For this reason, it is becoming more critical daily to incorporate inbound marketing because it gets your company or brand in front of potential customers each time they use technology. Undoubtedly, as technology continues to progress and become more integrated into our everyday lives; inbound marketing will also progress and become the undisputed marketing technique in not only the outdoor industry, but every marketplace. It was because of these changes, that Stone Road Media was created. The company is the forefront of inbound marketing in the outdoor industry niche. Recognizing the amazing potential for sales increase, website traffic and overall online presence, our team of dedicated professionals is passionate about helping start-ups, small businesses, and growing companies looking to expand their online footprint. We do this by working closely with clients to create a thriving social media presence, optimize search engine results and produce captivating marketing content. As outdoors enthusiasts, our team understands the industry, and customer needs better than anyone else. So before you throw money away on expensive commercials and ineffective magazine ads, consider where inbound marketing can take you and how Stone Road Media can help you get there. It’s time to #BeDifferent! Jared Prusia is the Sr. Manager of Business Development for Stone Road Media. Soon to possess both B.A. degrees in Management and Entrepreneurial Studies from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Penn., Jared excels in creating effective strategies for outdoor industry businesses, particularly with innovative inbound marketing aspects. Stone Road Media | Sr. Manager of Business Development

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