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A Conversation on the Evolution of Social Media Marketing

By September 13, 2023No Comments

In this three-part interview series, we sit down with Laura Burgess, Founder and President of Laura Burgess Marketing (LBM), and Ashley Burgess Gall, VP of Marketing at LBM. Over the years, LBM has established itself as a leading marketing agency specializing in the outdoor, shooting sports, and law enforcement-military (LE-MIL) markets. In Part 1, we delve into Ashley’s journey as a pioneer in the world of social media marketing and her role in shaping the industry. We will also explore how she introduced social media as a marketing tool in industries that initially resisted its charms.

Laura Burgess: Ashley, it’s great to have you here today to kick off this series. Let’s start at the beginning. When you joined LBM in 2009, what was your primary job, and how did you perform this job? Could you describe your social media experiences within the company?

Ashley Burgess Gall: Thank you, Laura. When I joined LBM back in 2009, social media marketing was still in its infancy. My primary goal at that time was to educate our clients about the significance of venturing into this new frontier and the value it could bring to their companies. There was a fair bit of initial pushback, as many decision-makers were skeptical. However, we persevered and continued to educate them on how social media could connect them with their end-users. As adoption began, our focus shifted towards building platforms, creating content, and genuinely engaging with customers. My role has evolved over the years, and today, I work with our clients in various capacities. I can be a full-house social media manager, handling everything from content creation to scheduling posts and managing customer interactions, or I can work more collaboratively with their in-house teams, serving as a versatile resource for social media needs.

LB: It’s incredible how you have been a witness to the evolution of social media marketing from the very beginning. Speaking of challenges, how difficult was it to introduce social media as a marketing tool to companies within the outdoor, shooting sports, and LE-MIL markets?

ABG: It was undoubtedly a challenging journey, Laura. In those early days, I found myself sitting across the table from department heads and CEOs, having to present and convince them of the benefits of social media marketing. I heard a lot of concerns like “We don’t have time to manage all that chatter” or “How does this fit into our current marketing strategy?” and even the classic “Will this be around in 10 years?” However, over the 14 years I have been involved in social media marketing, we have seen a significant shift. Social media marketing has become a major component of many brands’ marketing plans in these industries. It has been a rewarding transformation to witness.

LB: It is impressive how persistence and education have paid off in the long run. Moving on to a crucial aspect, how does social media marketing differ between B2B and B2C businesses, particularly in the outdoor, shooting sports, and LE-MIL markets?

ABG: Social media strategies do differ between B2B and B2C businesses. For B2C, I would recommend focusing on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, especially since these platforms cater to end-users. You want to be where your target audience spends their time. However, for B2B businesses in our niche markets, I would emphasize LinkedIn. It is a business-focused social media platform, and that is where you want to channel your energy to connect with professionals and decision-makers in these industries.

In Part 2 of our series, we will explore some memorable campaigns, take a closer look at social media marketing disasters, and dive into the topic of whether metrics truly matter in the world of social media marketing. Stay tuned for these intriguing insights into the dynamic landscape of our industry with Ashley Burgess Gall.