In the politically volatile world we live in, both financial institutions and mail carriers are refusing to do business with firearm-related companies. These social and business norms remain consistent when you get to social media. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and others all look poorly upon firearm-related content and the pages that produce it.
Despite this, if you want your company to have explosive growth, you need social media — specifically, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. These platforms are where people will find your products, read reviews, and engage with your company. But to find success, you need to rely on organic growth.
Growing a Firearms Industry Facebook Page
Here’s how you can start organically growing your firearms industry company’s Facebook page.
Establish the Baseline
You start this process by finishing the information on your page. Include your company hours, phone number, a link to the website, and anything else that’s applicable to your business.
Completing your page’s information establishes a baseline of trust with consumers and gives them easy access to all the information about your company and products. Plus, it can help your page rank better on Google for those searching for you there!
Push for Testimonials and Reviews
Getting reviews is a critical part of a successful marketing strategy. When people are actively searching for a solution to a problem, the first thing they do is seek out information. What better place is there to find experience-based information than end-user reviews?
There are two fantastic ways to encourage end users to give your company a Facebook review:
- Offer a discount on a future purchase: This shows that you value their continued business and what they have to say about your product or service.
- Offer them some form of swag: Company swag can include a sticker, patch, shirt, or hat. This shows that you value their input, but it also provides your company with a low-cost form of marketing when they wear the swag you sent them.
What About Bad Reviews?
A bad review will be what you or your marketing team makes of it. At The Coutts Agency, we see bad reviews as an opportunity to open a public channel of communication to show the reviewer and future viewers that you’re reachable. By responding to negative reviews or comments on the company page, you let customers see that your company will provide support to them if they need it.
These reviews can enlighten your company by helping you find ways to improve and showing what your customers truly need from you.
To Link or Not to Link, That Is the Question
Should you put links in your Facebook posts? The easy answer is no, but the hard answer requires some finesse. Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t like posts with links that aren’t paid advertisements. A single link can drop your page’s performance metrics by 50% or more for the following 2-3 (or more) posts.
If you want to actively promote your company’s website, you should limit links in posts to no more than three times a month unless it’s a product release. A well executed Product Release can create a nexus event, and can cause abnormally positive activity for the page.
In The Event Of A Strike/Ban
If you run a firearms page of any sort, bans or strikes are going to happen. Facebook’s algorithm on what is allowed vs. unallowed doesn’t align with the Terms of Service. If the account managing the page gets a strike/ban, or the page gets a strike/ban, you should refrain from posting any links for a minimum of 30 days.
Your company needs to do some legwork to ensure marketing success regardless of hiring a marketing agency like The Coutts Agency. Some of the leg work includes going live on your page. Facebook’s algorithm absolutely loves when a page has a live video.
The above comparison is from a gun shop client of ours. It perfectly depicts the drastic difference going live three times per week has over going live once.
Live videos allow followers to partake in a live conversation with you. It gets them involved, it gets them active, and it will push your content higher in their newsfeed because of it.
It’s exceptionally well received when the owner of the company goes live or gets involved directly with the consumer in some way. Kurt from Blue Alpha Gear, Graig Davis from NeoMag, and Lucas Botkin from T.Rex Arms are prime examples of this working.
Kurt and Graig are in almost every YouTube or Instagram video that their respective companies produce, and they’re both exceptionally easy to get ahold of. Lucas from T.Rex Arms goes live constantly on Instagram to engage with and answer questions from followers.
With these three companies’ engaging marketing strategies, they have built a loyal following with their customers.
Sharing Into Groups
Sharing into Facebook Groups is going to take a little bit of elbow grease, but for good reason. Facebook continually shuts down firearms-related groups without warning. This has forced many group owners to turn off “external sharing” or allowing people to share posts into the group.
This form of engagement gets your product/service in front of a lot of potential clients inside of your ideal demographic. It puts you in a prime position to get active and talk with people about what you’re offering.
If possible, you can also join the group as your company’s page with the New Pages Experience, if the group owners have that option enabled. This will allow you to interact in the group as your business page.
With the New Pages Experience that Facebook has implemented, it’s easy to use your business page as if it were your personal account. You can go to company or community pages to engage by liking or leaving comments, and you can even join groups if the admins have the ability enabled.
Spend at least 10-15 minutes a day going through and liking posts, comments, and leaving comments on other pages. This includes going to potential competitors’ pages and engaging with their content as well. This helps place your company’s page in the “suggested pages” feed that people get.
By getting into the “suggested pages” feed on Facebook, users will be prompted by the platform to follow your page as it’s seen as related content. On occasion, your posts will also show up on their feed as “Recommended Posts” which further increases the chances of them following your page.
With consistent, daily engagement, you’re able to reach out to your ideal customers by liking or responding to their comments on posts. This puts your company’s name in their notifications, which lets them know you exist, and provides an excellent opportunity for them to check out your page.
Organic Instagram Growth
Instagram is the place to be for firearms-related companies. It’s more firearm friendly than Facebook is. Accounts don’t get bans or posts removed simply because they have a firearm in them. It’s also one of the final platforms where you can grow a sizable following relatively fast without using paid advertisements. This is where your company will want to focus its marketing efforts as it will offer the highest return on your efforts.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to using hashtags. Some accounts perform substantially better with 20-30 hashtags being used. Others perform substantially better with 10 or less hashtags.
The process of narrowing down which strategy works best for your account will take some time, but you should start with 3-4 hashtag groups that contain a minimum of 20 hashtags. Use each group as it pertains to a specific post and let the analytics be your guide on what works best.
Let each hashtag group test run for a minimum of a month. Meaning, if you start off with 20-30 hashtags per post, do it for every post for the following 30 days. After that, try using 10 hashtags or less.
For a minimum of 15 minutes a day, you want to get active on Instagram by liking comments, posts, and making comments.
Similar to performing page engagement for Facebook, engaging with other accounts puts your account directly in their notifications. When the person checks their notifications, they’re going to see your company’s name. This gets them to either respond to your comment or visit your Instagram profile to check out what your page offers.
You can share stories via the Instagram app that also get shared to Facebook. Between the two platforms, Instagram has the strongest tools for creating interactive and engaging content. You can add links, ask questions, conduct polls, do countdowns for product launches, and more!
The best thing about stories is that it allows you to quickly engage with a customer that purchased your product or service and tagged you in an Instagram post. By sharing the post to your story, you’re letting the customer and prospective customers see that you appreciate their business.
Stories also seem to be immune from Facebook’s algorithm regarding links. With stories, you can share as many links as you want without having the negative impacts associated with putting them in your Facebook posts. As an added benefit, it also puts the link in front of your Instagram following.
Instagram is heavily promoting Reels to compete with TikTok, which gives them more organic reach compared to other types of Instagram posts. If a Reel you post is doing exceptionally well, your regular posts will also see a boost in performance.
An Instagram Reel can perform as well as a live video on Facebook. On top of that, the Reel can get suggested to Facebook browsers which increases your brand awareness substantially.
Reels are an excellent way to showcase new or existing products/services with a quick 90 second or shorter video, or announcing that there’s a new YouTube video by posting a sneak peak as a Reel.
Sharing Your Posts
A part of Instagram’s algorithm is how other accounts interact with the page. Are there comments? Are posts getting shared via private message or stories? Each of these things can positively affect how the algorithm distributes your company’s content.
Once a post or Reel has been uploaded, send it to a friend via your personal account, then comment under your personal account. This lets the algorithm see that your content is something that people want to see.
YouTube is an important part of a company’s marketing strategy. One of the first things consumers do when finding a new product in the firearms industry is search for it on YouTube. Videos allow a person to see how a product looks, operates, assembles, and disassembles.
Having these videos on your YouTube channel allows consumers to watch demonstrations of products while providing another avenue for finding your website.
Ensure that the videos posted on your YouTube channel are strictly educational. Don’t promote the pricing of products or even mention the pricing of the product you’re showcasing in the video or in the video’s description.
Acting as your YouTube account, engage in the comments on independent reviews of your products and answer the questions being asked. You should also have a playlist highlighted on your channel that promotes the independent reviews made. This provides incentive for channels to review your product for the additional exposure.
It’s also beneficial to subscribe to the channels of companies that make complementary products to yours, as well as the channels that produce reviews. Doing this will push your channel into people’s suggested videos/channels sections.
General Do’s and Don’ts
Here are some general rules of behavior that you should follow when using social media for organic growth for your firearms company.
Watch Your Wording
You must pay attention to the wording of your posts. Do they hint at selling the product? Could it be construed as attempting to sell the product? If so, rewrite the post.
If Meta (formerly the Facebook company) or even YouTube interprets your content as trying to sell or promote the sale of a firearm-related product, your page could get a temporary or permanent ban.
Write your posts in a way that meets the Terms of Service and makes them engaging and educational for the audience.
Be Active With Legislation
More and more consumers are getting upset that firearms-related companies aren’t getting involved against anti-gun legislation. This can give the appearance that you want your buyers to advocate and protect the 2nd Amendment while you make money off it. Therefore, if there’s legislation coming that has an impact on your company or the industry as a whole, make a post about it and raise awareness.
Posts regarding upcoming firearm legislation are going to get shared by followers to their stories and timelines to raise awareness among their groups of friends — friends that get to see your company actively helping to protect the 2nd Amendment. Doing this raises awareness of your company and shows the firearms community that your company is a 2nd Amendment advocate.
Scheduling posts in advance via the Meta Business Suite’s planner is a surefire way to ensure that your page is always active, even if you aren’t monitoring it closely for the day. This ensures followers always have new posts to engage with. Consistent page activity paired with follower engagement makes all of Meta’s algorithms extremely happy.
As an additional tip, Facebook typically doesn’t respond well to hashtags. When you schedule your posts, make sure the hashtags are only on the Instagram posts.
Messages, Messages, Messages
Both Facebook and Instagram monitor how frequently business accounts respond to messages. Note that your responsiveness on Facebook won’t affect your metrics on Instagram and vice versa.
How frequently you respond will directly impact how the algorithm distributes your content to your page’s followers. Meta’s social media platforms reward pages that interact with followers regularly.
Respond to Comments
There are differences and similarities when it comes to responding to comments on Facebook and Instagram.
Meta severely penalizes posts with prices regarding anything firearms-related. Commenting the price of a product can get your Instagram or Facebook account a temporary or even permanent ban. If someone asks for the price on Facebook, either comment with a link to the product or have them message the page. If they ask for the price on Instagram, have them message the page.
If your company has posted business hours on Facebook, someone needs to respond to messages while the business is open. Facebook will increase distribution of a post that has the poster actively engaging in the comments section. Comments that come in after the listed business hours don’t need to be attended to immediately, but they should be responded to at the start of the next business day. This shows your followers that you’ll be prompt in answering their questions and concerns.
Instagram only cares that you respond to a comment within 24 hours since you can’t specifically list your business hours on that platform. Your activity on Instagram drives engagement; it’s as simple as that. It’s also why we recommend participating in every way possible when doing your engagement. Lack of engagement makes the algorithm ignore your page.
Can You Utilize Paid Ads?
The safe answer is, no. You cannot. Meta doesn’t like promoting companies in the firearm industry and very few companies have successfully gotten away with paid ad placement on either Instagram or Facebook.
While ads can cause insane amounts of reach, the risks of utilizing them are great. If an ad gets denied your account could get shadow banned. This shadow ban will last for an undetermined amount of time. At worst, your Meta ad’s account gets shut down, which may lead to the suspension of the account managing the page.
Brand and product awareness determines the longevity and profitability of a company. To drive this home, consider when Springfield Armory Hellcat was teased and subsequently released. Within 24 hours of its release, the Hellcat was sold out with wait lists. Every major holster manufacturer was producing holsters for it. The aftermarket was already at work creating products for it, and it seemed like everyone knew about it and wanted it.
Springfield Armory sent Hellcats to every Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube influencer with a following leading up to the release. When it came time to announce their new pistol, the user-generated content that consumers usually look at already existed in abundance. YouTube and blog reviews were published the moment it launched. Instagram and Facebook timelines were flooded with images of this new “must-have” concealed carry firearm.
The Hellcat was met by untold levels of success purely because of Springfield Armory’s tactful use of influencers.
Your Company’s Success Depends on Organic Growth
There’s a lot of leg work when it comes to social media marketing for firearm companies. Paid ads will only get you so far. In order to increase your company’s social media presence and increase your sales, you have to put in the work.
Engaging with users on all your social media pages is essential for growing your firearms company exponentially.
To help you figure out how to create engaging content, we have a blog that details the type of content you’re going to want to produce for achieving amazing long-term growth for your company.
If you’d like to learn more about how The Coutts Agency can help you achieve amazing levels of success and growth via digital marketing, head over to our Digital Marketing for Firearms Company Page where you can take the next step!