Why Your Firearms Business Needs Social Media Software

Running a host of social media pages and profiles doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A social media marketing and scheduling suite can make it easy.

Why Your Firearms Business Needs Social Media Software

Overwhelmed by an atrocious work schedule, just like yours, I had to find options for social media content posting that could save time, allow development of a social media schedule for several platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), provide team access and interaction, and provide feedback on the effectiveness of the social media content plan.

So, imagine my excitement when I read, “Discover what’s possible when you unite your social campaigns on one platform. Schedule and publish content to the right channels at the right time, track effectiveness in real time, and crank the volume on your top-performing content.” A miracle? Close. This is the elevator pitch for Hootsuite, one of the top social media marketing and scheduling suites.

Hootsuite is just one of numerous services available. Comparison shopping for the social media marketing tool that’s right for your business is critical to successfully using the platform.

Start with the big picture. The key values of content marketing dashboards are content scheduling and a universal interface that can interact with numerous social media sites. But this is an evolving service segment. Tools are continually added to offer additional and significant capabilities.

Buffer, considered No. 1 or No. 2 in the small business segment with Hootsuite, adds, “We have a suite of products for publishing, engagement, analytics and team collaboration. Our products are carefully considered and highly refined to help social media marketers and teams work more efficiently and effectively.”

Sounds fabulous, right? Well, let’s look at the bottom-line positives and negatives of these marketing services in general, see how the platforms differ, and discuss native and non-native posting.



1.     Scheduling a calendar of posts in advance, for instance an entire week, can be accomplished by one person or a team.

2.     Sharing already curated content and material is easy.

3.     Connecting to multiple social media sites (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) from one dashboard is possible. Note: Not all social media marketing platforms are integrated with all social media sites.

4.     Learning the platforms is relatively easy. Most offer exceptional educational materials.

5.     Securing social media accounts is simple. Team members have one password for the platform (e.g., to Hootsuite), but not your company’s actual social media account passwords (e.g., Twitter).

6.     Accessing analytics allows you to identify which types of content are performing.

7.     Using features to listen to other brands, as well as to the buzz related to our industry and products, helps your planning.

8.     Analyzing hashtags and popular influencers can help guide decisions about content and promotion. Look for tools that include the ability to analyze data across multiple platform sources and in different languages.



1.     Automating tends to make people lazy. It’s so easy to say, “This is great content; I’ll just post it to all platforms.” That’s a huge mistake. Tailoring content to each social media site is critical. Twitter, for instance, is newsy and combative and uses few hashtags. Instagram, in contrast, is more friends, family, fun. Photos and hashtags are king. Content that works on Twitter will not necessarily be effective on Instagram.

2.     Formatting posts is not automated. Instagram requires vertical video less than one minute long. Facebook, in contrast, allows more characters and links plus a horizontal format. Identify the culture and post requirements of each social media site. “If you’re short-changing your followers on one platform by sharing content that was optimized for another, they’re going to notice,” Hootsuite says. “Seeing a post with a cut-off caption or a weirdly cropped image looks lazy at best and spammy at worst.”

3.     Posting natively, through a social media site’s posting interface, may result in better post performance. Suspicions that social media platforms deprecate/penalize content that originates through external apps are abundant.

4.     Forgetting regular, live check-ins with your audience when so much is automated is a challenge. Live touchpoints with your peeps are crucial to engagement and making that important connection — which is what social media is all about.


When selecting a social media marketing platform, keep in mind most offer a basic, free version. To access additional social media accounts and more features, you’ll need a paid plan. Comparatively, the plans are inexpensive given their many benefits. Experts caution users to pick one platform, learn it, and buy the premium package. Digital marketing is crucial to your business. Don’t nickel-and-dime your online presence. Don’t starve your website, online advertising and social media marketing tools.

Schedulers are useful to cover the bases and be active on less important social media sites, allowing you to go native on the ones that move the needle for your business.

Furthermore, rather than integrating with all social media sites poorly, select one or two and do them well. For instance, posts about products and services might do better on Instagram and YouTube, which are heavily visual. Gun rights advocacy may do better on Twitter, where politics is front and center.

Social media is about authenticity. Steer clear of slick, ad-like posts. Genuine and visual content always does better. Integrate posts with real users rather than company spokespeople. Real people buying and shooting your guns, enjoying them and having a good and safe time at the range are far better than overly produced company videos or other polished content.

Brainstorm ways to create, encourage and nurture user-generated content (UGC). And always hedge your bets. Post some content natively, through the social media sites’ native schedulers, and post some content through a third-party application. Then measure your results.

Watch for new trends, too. Hootsuite recently reported an ongoing shift in social messaging, that puts private channels in the spotlight, is placing increasing pressure on brands/businesses to adapt.

According to data from GlobalWebIndex, 63% of people say messaging apps are where they feel most comfortable sharing and talking about content.

“The distinction is an opportunity, not an obstacle, as it creates a clear path for the full customer journey (see ‘What is RACE Planning’) to take place on social,” Hootsuite reported in its Social Media Trends 2020 report.

To stay abreast of news, follow companies like Product Hunt (producthunt.com) or publishers like Social Media Today (socialmediatoday.com).

In addition, find excellent marketing resources offered through your social media management platform or services like Smart Insights (smartinsights.com), which offers free management guides and planning templates as well as fee-based training programs.

What Is RACE Planning?

The RACE Infographic from SmartInsights (shown at the top of this article) summarizes the key online and multichannel marketing activities that need to be managed as part of digital marketing. RACE covers the full customer lifecycle or marketing funnel.

(Plan) > Reach > Act > Convert > Engage

REACH. Reach involves building awareness of a brand, its products, and its services on other websites and in offline media to build traffic by driving visits to different web presences like your main site, microsites or social media pages. It involves maximizing reach over time to create multiple interactions using different paid, owned and earned media touchpoints.

ACT. Act is short for Interact. It’s a separate stage since encouraging interactions on websites and in social media to generate leads is a big challenge for online marketers. It’s about persuading site visitors or prospects take the next step, the next Action on their journey when they initially reach your site or social network presence. For many types of businesses, especially business-to-business, this means generating leads, but it may mean finding out more about a company or its products, searching to find a product or reading a blog post. You should define these actions as top-level goals of the funnel in analytics. For instance, Google Analytics Goals can include “Viewed product”, “Added to Basket”, “Registered as a member” or “Signed up for an enewsletter.” Act is also about encouraging participation. This can be sharing of content via social media or customer reviews. The specific goals and dashboards need to be defined for each business as explained in our Delivering Results from Digital marketing guide. It’s about engaging the audience through relevant, compelling content and clear navigation pathways so that they don’t hit the back button. The bounce rates on many sites is greater than 50%, so getting the audience to act or participate is a major challenge which is why we have identified it separately.

CONVERT. This is conversion to sale — occurring either online or offline. It involves getting your audience to take the vital next step that turns them into paying customers, whether the payment is taken through online ecommerce transactions or offline channels.

ENGAGE. This is long-term engagement that is, developing a long-term relationship with first-time buyers to build customer loyalty as repeat purchases using communications on your site, social presence, email and direct interactions to boost customer lifetime value. It can be measured by repeat actions such as repeat sale and sharing content through social media. We also need to measure the percentage of active customers (or email subscribers) and customer satisfaction and recommendation using other systems.


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