Bulls and Beavers: Outdoor CEOs Harness the Power of Social Media
March 4, 2012
During the last three years, I have witnessed an interesting transformation taking place within the outdoor industry. Each month, more and more outdoor CEO’s learn to harness the power of Social Media through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
These Chief Executive Officers are modern day connectors – much like the infamous Boston silversmith, Paul Revere. If Paul Revere was alive today, he most likely would be a Social Media user with thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Stay with me on this for a moment…
In 1775, Paul Revere famously rode northwest to alert the country-side that British troops were on the move. At the same time, but not so famously, Boston tanner William Dawes road southwest bearing the same message. When the British arrived in Lexington and Concord, they did not meet many militiamen from the towns Dawes visited. Why?
In the book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that whereas Revere was a “connector,” blessed with “unique social skills,” Dawes was an ordinary man lacking Revere’s social network. In this day and age, Revere would be what we call a connector. Back then an example of a word-of-mouth epidemic. A piece of extraordinary news traveled a long distance in a very short time, mobilizing an entire region to arms …
Outdoor brands are connecting, leveraging, and tapping into the potential power of Social Media. Companies like Colt Firearms who recently had a Colt giveaway with a 6920 Rifle engaged their followers through Twitter, Youtube and Facebook to strengthen brand loyalty. Their efforts have gained them over 100,000 likes on Facebook.
Content = Communication = Commerce
At the 2012 SHOTShow, the power of social media and technology was omnipresent. Vendors and visitors could download a mobile app to help them easily navigate and network the show. Live Twitter feeds were displayed on several large screens throughout the convention center. These are just a few ground breaking examples of how the outdoor industry is integrating social media into their platforms to drive traffic, and build stronger brand loyalty.
Just look at Starbucks and their 8,006,349 “likes”, or Coca Cola with 32 million “likes”.
A 2011 November survey by Social Strategy found that 63% of small and midsized business owners have a social media presence – 61% on Facebook, 48% on LinkedIn, and 37% on Twitter.
Facebook in December claimed to have 800 million active users and Twitter reported adding 460,000 accounts each day with an average of 1 billion tweets a week.
The average number of tweets sent per day was 50 million one year ago. Last month, the average was a very impressive 140 million.
I asked some of the most influential CEOs within the Outdoor Industry to give me a quote explaining how their brand uses social media. Here is what these modern day ‘Paul Reveres’ had to say about connecting with their audience:
50-million plus sportsmen we engage at InterMedia Outdoors, social
Media is the virtual campfire around which we can gather every day to share our
f favorite stories, photos, tips and experiences. ”
Rick Elder, CEO – Smith Elite:“I have found social networking to be a startlingly effective brand magnifier. If done correctly, the return on investment is found in both depth and breadth. The depth of the experience is limited only to the imagination and is enriched by the communities that it touches. The breadth is limitless as this medium becomes the community nexus of current and upcoming generations.”
Lou Reilly, CEO – Gamo Outdoor USA: ”We use social media primarily as a tool to continue an ongoing dialogue with our consumers and brand awareness of our new exciting products of all our portfolio brands of products. We are very flattered when we receive posts on our social media sites about of how our consumers use our products and spend hours of enjoyable time using our products. Social media allows us to bring our Gamo Outdoor teams closer to our consumers.”
Gavin Henry,CEO - Sportsman Channel: “Sportsman Channel is more than a TV network, it is a movement. And soclal media that fuels the spread of our message among enthusiasts is essential to our growth.”
Brad Gebhard, CEO - Magnum USA: “Taking care of our customers is at the forefront of everything we do. We recognize that more and more consumers are using different channels to connect with each other, and voice their unfiltered opinions about product experiences. Inside of relying solely on traditional means of advertising and outreach, which primarily is a one-way street, we’re using social media to not only connect with our end users, but to generate two-way conversations. We want to learn more about who they are, what they’re using our product for and how we can continue to build better products based on their feedback. In this day and age, more and more consumers are turning to each other to find opinions on products and service, and we’re committed to providing the online forums for our consumers to connect with each other.”
How are you harnessing the power of social media for your business? What is your ROI?