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July 18, 2019

Five Reasons Your Firearms Business Needs Social Media Ads

By Ben Curnett

Here’s a fact to chew on: free social media marketing is dead.

Done. Finished. Kaput.

In fact, it’s estimated that a Facebook page’s posts will reach just 6.4 percent of its total fans anymore.

This goes double for shooting sports businesses. With all the confusion around content — what’s acceptable and what’s not — it’s likely your posts are reaching far fewer people than you think. (You can check your post statistics using these steps.)

So, is it worth even being on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter anymore? The answer is absolutely “Yes.” Social media is still the main way most people use the internet, and it will be for a long time to come.

Take a look at how people are spending their time online:

  • 43 percent of people post about the businesses they visit.
  • 79 percent of people like or follow a brand on social media to get more information about them.
  • Customers interact with businesses 4.3 times before making a purchase.

People are communicating, and they’re still using social media to do it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just five out of 100 or more reasons to start using paid-for social ads instead of just throwing posts out there randomly.

1. Social Ads Are Dirt Cheap

There is no way — not radio, not magazines, not billboards — to reach more people for less money than through the use of social media ads. Costs are often a fraction of a cent per impression on all three of the big platforms, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And because these are social ads we’re talking about, there are always other actions people can take, like leaving a comment, clicking a link or watching another video. You have amazing shooting sports content (more on that below), and social media is the perfect place to get it out to the masses.

2. Your Audience Is There

Get rid of the mindset that because you don’t personally use social media it’s not worth it. Your customers do use it, and that means the power of social audience targeting is great. You can target using your email lists, people who like certain shooting sports products, people who have visited certain pages on your website, or you can use a combination of all three!

3. You Get to Tell Facebook What to Do

Maybe the best thing about using social media ads instead of just posting is that you can choose what kind of action you want from the post. Are you advertising a ladies-only training special? Then it’s a good thing to know your targeted audience of 26- to 45-year-old women likes to see a video before they click over to a website, and with that knowledge you can up a little bit of your budget for video views, and a little bit for website traffic and make sure you’re showing your ads to every part of your intended audience.

4. Social Ads Move People from Inaction To Action

People don’t buy things on social media. But as we’ve seen with some of the statistics above, they almost always use social media on the way to making their purchase decisions. Using social ads, you can be in front of your audience when you announce a big upcoming event, while they’re deciding if they should come and when they’re on premises ready to buy.

5. Shooting Sports Content is Actually Perfect For Social Ads

Ads don’t work because you explain everything. Ads work because you hint at something more, and good ads always leave the viewer wanting something more to see.

This plays perfectly into the strict rules the social media platforms have set around shooting sports content. Sure, it’s no longer possible to put a shopping feed for firearms into Instagram, but a quick video talking about home protection gets the point across just fine. Too, look at all the green checks on Facebook’s ad policies list — that’s all acceptable content allowed around firearms and ammunition, you just need to be creative and put it to use.

This list doesn’t come close to covering all the reasons you should be using social media ads as part of your digital marketing plan as an FFL retailer or firearms range owner, so before you write off social media ads for your shooting sports business, dig a little further. It’s likely that the platforms, your customers and your content line up better than you imagined.

About the Author

Ben Curnett has been a marketer in the outdoor industry for 15 years as a copywriter and digital marketing strategist. After being awarded Best Campaign Creative for Bridge Day West Virginia by the West Virginia State Tourism Board, Curnett became one of the first marketers in the outdoor industry to focus exclusively on social media marketing. He has worked closely with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads teams, helping to create one of the first Facebook advertising case studies for small and medium-sized businesses.

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Three Ways to Reach More of the Right People with Facebook Ads

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Tags: digital marketing firearms retailer marketing social ads social media Social media marketing

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