Fishing and paddlesports brands are built on active lifestyles that are perfectly captured in photography. People love taking and sharing pictures of their on-the-water escapades. Channels like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are prime for promoting the visual nature of these activities. That’s why we advocate using social media to influence prospective buyers and keep owners engaged.

Even better, social media is a budget-friendly marketing platform. It costs nothing to upload and share your own brand imagery and messaging, and to engage with your audience by liking and commenting on their posts. And it’s inexpensive to create digital marketing campaigns to promote your fishing or paddlesports brand.

For all the benefits of social media marketing, we still see brands struggling with three key questions:

1) What is my brand trying to accomplish via social media?

Social media is a key component of the modern marketing ecosystem that fuels a brand’s success. Just like any other marketing channel, social media requires setting goals and then creating a strategy to achieve those goals. Are you trying to grow a fan base? Build credibility and authenticity? Showcase products? Drive direct sales? All of the above?

2) How do I determine ROI on my social marketing efforts?

Because it’s inexpensive to deploy, many brands don’t bother measuring how well their social marketing is paying off. Or they just look at how many “likes” they’re getting on Facebook and Instagram. While social media marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, it does take resources — an employee’s time and the salary to pay for it. So it’s worth using tools like Google Analytics to look at how social engagement translates to visitors to your website and, ultimately, to sales. Goals and strategies help you measure ROI.

3) How do I manage it well and consistently to promote the brand in the best light?

Setting the strategy and executing the day-to-day messaging are equally important. But they’re two different skill sets.

Social Media Marketing = Strategy + Execution

Most companies we work with don’t have the expertise in house to lead the strategy. We help them define goals, match the right messaging with the right platform, align communication schedules with other marketing efforts and use Google Analytics to see how it’s all working together to drive sales.

On the other hand, these brands are terrific at managing the day to day of social marketing: Capturing photos, writing posts and engaging with users in their community. Fishing and paddle brands typically employ folks who are super passionate about the sports, so it makes sense for the in-house team to be the brand’s voice on social media. Authenticity is everything in our industry — your customers and fans can sniff out social posts they know are written by an outsider. And social media has to be timely; you want to build excitement by sharing news and photos in real time. So dedicating someone on your team to handle social messaging makes sense.

For all but the very largest brands in the industry, the choice to seek outside assistance with creating a social strategy and then executing that strategy internally is the way to go.

Getting Started in Social Media Marketing

If you’re not fluent in social media, then we’re here to help you get off to a good start by:

Defining your goals for social media, whether that’s establishing your presence, growing your fan base or prompting people to buy your gear.

Choosing the right channels, primarily Instagram, Facebook and YouTube or some combination. Don’t invest your time in Pinterest (as visual as it is, it just isn’t right for the boating market) or Twitter (it has a vast reach, but it’s not visual enough).

Developing a plan to support your goals, including frequency, brand voice and community engagement.

Building a content library with models for different types of posts (news vs. promotion), images, hashtags and the like.

Learning the tools — not just how to create authentic posts, but how to tag them so users find them and how to optimize your messaging.

Monitoring and understanding outcomes using platform-specific reporting and Google Analytics.

Creating engagement, which we call social listening. We’ll help you follow key brands and hashtags so you can overhear mentions of your products, comment appropriately and participate in your community.

While there’s a low barrier to getting started with a marketing campaign on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you still have to be smart, strategic — and social — about managing it.


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