Gun gear makers are pushing their marketing towards Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as millennials continue to gravitate to this online means of consumerism.
Millenials, people reaching young adulthood around the year 2000, spend close to 5 hours a day on social media sites, with 54 percent admitting to doing most of their research and shopping online. Those in the industry say more browsing means more exposure for businesses that might not see the same level of interest offline.
“In my career, social media’s evolution/revolution has been the biggest advancement in marketing,” Mark Schindel, account management supervisor for The Mako Group told Guns.com in an email. “We used it to launch new products, keep people abreast of what’s happening and to announce sales. All have helped add to the bottom line.”
Urban Carry Holsters declined to give the specifics of exactly how they market online or the revenue generated, but they did confirm that their holster business benefited from social media postings.
“Social media has helped Urban Carry a lot, considering we were just a start-up two years ago. It is one of the main reasons we were able to grow so quickly in a short amount of time,” a rep for the company commented to Guns.com.
Digital advertising revenue in the U.S. surged in 2015, breaking $59.6 billion, with social media raking in $10.9 billion. The figure represented a 55 percent jump in revenue over the previous year according to AdvertisingAge.
Of the major platforms, Facebook surpassed sister site Instagram and competitor Twitter as the most profitable. The company, alone, was estimated to earn $15.5 billion in ad revenue in 2015.
Jason Goates, business development manager for StealthGear USA, points to Facebook’s back-end features that allow businesses to fine-tune their marketing content and target specific audiences.
“Facebook specifically has a lot of functions and tricks for businesses to target folks for specific gear, promotions, professions, geographical locations, etc. Lots of options once you pop the hood of Facebook, so to speak, and understand what kind of tools are at your disposal,” Goates told Guns.com in an email.
In addition to offering back-end tweaks for better post performance, Facebook also gives manufacturers the opportunity to interact with customers on a more intimate level. Darlene Cary of holster company Can Can Concealment told Guns.com that brand image gets a boost when companies personally communicate with consumers.
“We love social media and feel it connects us to our customer in a unique way … we can speak to the customers and answer them in live time — unlike a print ad or having to pick up the phone,” Darlene Cary of Can Can Concealment said in an email to Guns.com.
The effect of having a relationship with customers via social media Cary said, is a bump in revenue.
“We have seen more [return on investment] on social media than we have from any print ad on newsstands or online,” she added.
Though companies must balance their social media posts with physical marketing, StealthGear’s Goates said that an online presence is imperative if gear companies want to survive and thrive in this economy.
“Everyone is online these days, and with the information that Facebook gathers it’s all too effective to target the customers you want/need. It’s a must.”