5 Ways for the Firearms Retailer to Use LinkedIn

The social media landscape is crowded and not all that gun-friendly, but there might be one network you’ve overlooked: LinkedIn.

5 Ways for the Firearms Retailer to Use LinkedIn

istock photo

Social media provides a lot of opportunity for marketing your business, but it can be overwhelming. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, TikTok, BeReal… what if you don’t have the time to put into multiple social accounts? If you are going to do marketing, you need to have some kind of social media presence, and if you want one that provides maximum professional exposure, you need to consider LinkedIn. Why?


1. LinkedIn provides true, professional networking.

Other social media sites offer networking, and some of it could be called professional, but LinkedIn seems to be the only site dedicated to providing a truly professional environment for business people who are looking to network and ultimately market themselves or their business. LinkedIn has grown over the years, and, like any social platform, it has its struggles. But few can argue with LinkedIn’s reach (810 million users worldwide) and the efforts it has made to offer a serious platform dedicated to connecting people who are interested in advancing business. It offers plenty of ways for users to make their profiles as open or as closed as they want while maximizing accountability and offering company pages. And it has become the go-to site for posting jobs, facilitating discussions around business topics, and providing an environment for professionals to showcase their talents and skills.

When you use LinkedIn, you can post whatever you want (within reason), but you are expected to post, well, as a professional and contribute to the site’s overall theme of business, connections, professional content, etc. Of course, there are some who don’t follow this, but most do, sticking to work- and career-related content and opinions. Some use LinkedIn exclusively to build their personal career, but many use LinkedIn to communicate the latest news in their business, promote products and services, and garner insights and advice from the LinkedIn community. Having LinkedIn “connections” as opposed to “friends” emphasizes the professional nature of the site, and most look out for the best interests of others.


2. LinkedIn offers long-term networking and marketing potential

Social media changes virtually every day. That’s part of the draw, but it’s also a drawback. Consider: Facebook has two billion users. And then there’s Twitter, Instagram, and others — each with their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to business marketing. But LinkedIn’s relatively simple concept of connecting business professionals to each other has been steady over time. Yes, LinkedIn has evolved, modernized and provided more value to users, but you could have joined LinkedIn years ago, connected with several people, not used the platform for anything for a while, and pretty much jumped right back into using it without needing any further effort. So it’s proven to be a useful, long-term platform meant to be used over years of careers.

And more than just a career/job search site, LinkedIn offers plenty of groups and other features to enhance business marketing. But don’t get too wrapped up in the idea that you have to put out endless content on LinkedIn in order to generate interest and sales. Just participating in a group through asking good questions and providing helpful answers can yield significant business interest. Like many digital marketing and social media efforts, it’s a two-way street requiring just as much, if not more, careful listening compared to promoting.


3. LinkedIn has a personal and business side

You join LinkedIn as an individual user, but normally, you provide contextual information associated with your work or career. As a part of a business or company, you can not only list information in LinkedIn (similar to a resume) but also start a dedicated “company page” featuring information about the company for whom you work. Your personal page can feature any updates you want, while a company page can highlight company news, job postings or less personal info. As such, there are multiple channels for your marketing communications to suit your tastes. Don’t want to include too much personal information? Focus on your company page. But LinkedIn’s strength is its ability to connect people with people. And the firearms/tactical business, like all business, is a people business.

You can find others in your industry through groups, searching, and keeping an eye on LinkedIn’s recommendations of who to connect with. And do continually make connections and nurture these relationships. In other words, don’t connect with someone and immediately send them a sales pitch about your products or services. Rather, take a minute to get to know them personally — by looking into their profile, learning about their business, and asking good questions.


4. LinkedIn offers long-term networking and marketing potential through its groups and discussion areas

In addition to your personal page and a company page, you can participate in any number of groups on LinkedIn. Groups cover myriad topics, some with a few participants, some with thousands. Some have an occasional post or update, while others will post scores of updates each day. Enter into or join groups that interest you or are relevant to your business and begin to post helpful comments, ask insightful questions and learn from others. Interact with others’ comments and thoughts, and keep up the conversations. Observe proper etiquette in these forums — don’t post advertisements, don’t slander the competition, etc. — and you’ll enjoy burgeoning relationships that could lead to increased interest and sales.

The best marketing, then, may be what occurs because you are a consistent, faithful user of LinkedIn. Many LinkedIn members have been on the platform for years — making connections, participating in groups, and generally moving the relationships forward. It’s truly a place where the masses can gather to help one another out, and you can glean much wisdom and learn how to better market yourself and your business. So participate and be patient.


5. LinkedIn is a serious social media outlet

Every social media outlet has its downsides — LinkedIn included — but there are many positives to all of them. And while LinkedIn may not have the overall reach of Facebook or Twitter, I’d argue it creates a more serious context for communication because the audience is made up of professionals who, for the most part, are there to reap the business benefits from social media networking. As such, while the number of users may be smaller, the conversations can be more significant and the quality of the leads you can generate can occur at a higher ratio. There will be the occasional off-topic or silly post, inappropriate follow-up comments and times of inactivity or silence that will make you wonder if it’s at all worth it. But take the long view and stay active over a long period of time and you’ll realize the untapped potential in marketing through LinkedIn.

You can even put some of your marketing to the test by asking your LinkedIn network or a relevant LinkedIn group what they think about an idea or tactic you’re considering. Some might wonder if there’s risk to giving away ideas, and there may be, but the potential reward is greater. You’ll realize you’re generally dealing with professional people who are glad to share their experiences and opinions and who do so with insight and care. Best of all, you can do all of this at no charge (unless you want to use paid premium versions of LinkedIn, which have benefits as well) and at a pace that doesn’t require your constant attention on the platform.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.