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Navigating the Social Media Evolution: Insights from Ashley Burgess Gall (Part 3)

By September 27, 2023No Comments

Welcome to Part 3, the final installment of our interview series with Ashley Burgess Gall, VP of Marketing at LBM. In this segment, we will dive into the ever-evolving landscape of social media platforms, discussing the changes they have undergone over the years and which ones Ashley currently recommends for clients in their marketing efforts. Additionally, we will explore the role social media is likely to play in our industry in the next five years.

Laura: Ashley, it is great to have you back for the final part of our series. Let’s start with a look at social media platforms. Can you tell us how these platforms have changed over the years, and which ones you currently recommend clients utilize in their marketing efforts?

Ashley: Certainly, Laura. It is safe to say that all social media platforms have changed significantly over the years. In their early days, they were more user-friendly for all types of brands. However, as time has passed, they’ve become more politicized. What was once a space where I could run social ads for clients has become increasingly restricted. Nowadays, you must be cautious about the hashtags, words, or even images you use in your posts. Unfortunately, even reputable brands in our industry have faced penalties, shadow-bans, or outright removal from platforms due to perceptions of being “scary” to the rest of society. This situation is unfortunate because genuine communities and careers have been built on these platforms.

In response to these challenges, there are alternatives like X (formerly Twitter) and MeWe that value free speech and do not enforce content censorship as harshly as some other platforms. Businesses should also remember that they do not own their social media pages, and these can be taken away quickly. That’s why I always emphasize building a digital presence centered around your website. Social media, advertising, product placements, and more should all lead customers back to your website, where they can find more information and make purchases. Additionally, I strongly recommend creating a blog and a comprehensive email marketing system, both of which are platforms you own and through which you maintain contact with your customers.

LB: Those are valuable recommendations, Ashley, especially considering the evolving landscape of social media. Looking ahead, what role do you see social media playing in our industry over the next five years?

ABG: Well, Laura, the role of social media in our industry’s future is somewhat uncertain, especially if Meta continues to have its way. The rules they are implementing could potentially interpret anything a firearm brand posts as going against Community Standards. Unless there are significant changes, I believe many brands will either leave the Meta platforms or become more creative in their language and imagery to comply with the restrictions.

Over the past decade, we have seen several social media platforms specific to the shooting industry rise and fall. The challenge they face is marketing and funding. Meta has deep pockets and widespread recognition, which makes it difficult for newcomers to compete effectively.

The future of social media’s role in our industry will certainly be interesting to watch. While it has experienced its share of ups and downs, especially in terms of free speech, I hope this valuable tool does not fade away for our industry. Only time will tell what lies ahead.

In this three-part series, we have had the privilege of gaining insights from Ashley Burgess Gall, a pioneer in the field of social media marketing within the outdoor, shooting sports, and LE-MIL markets. From memorable campaigns to handling social media challenges, and now, exploring the ever-changing landscape and future of social media platforms, Ashley’s expertise has illuminated the dynamic world of digital marketing. We thank Ashley for her invaluable perspectives and look forward to the evolving role of social media in our industry. Stay tuned for more industry insights and discussions from Laura Burgess Marketing.