Don’t Get TOO social
Social media is a very big part of business now, and the fishing industry is no different. Some might argue it has done more harm than good, while others will completely disagree. The fact is, social media is now at the forefront of just about every fishing company’s advertising strategy, but what do the pro’s think of it? Good? Bad? Or indifferent?
One B.A.S.S Elite angler who has dabbled in social media but still keeps a level head with reality is John Crews. The position Crews is in is slightly different than most other pro anglers, as he wears the hat of both the pro and the manufacturer. Having started Missile Baits and building it into a successful soft plastic bait company, Crews understands both sides of the story.
“I don’t think at this point we can say that social media has played a positive or negative role in the growth of the fishing industry,” says Crews. “Like everything else, bass fishing always evolves and social media is a part of its evolution, but to say it’s good or bad..it’s too early to tell.”
Some of the more common responses you will hear from some of the season veteran anglers is that social media has “made everyone a pro”. What they mean by that is that anyone can set up a social media account, add logos to a jersey and become a sponsored angler..some may go as far as calling themselves “professionals”. Rather than focusing on the negatives and getting bent out of shape, Crews looks at social media as a positive and how it creates opportunities.
“On a daily basis we can speak to a large group of people who love to fish. So it really all depends on how you use it. When I think about Missile Baits, I feel social media has been a benefit to the brand, the company and the anglers. We can connect with everyone using the Missile Baits products and even learn a few things ourselves. In that sense it has been great for us. Ultimately it comes down to the individual company and the people running it. They need to make the decision whether they want to use it as a major part of their marketing strategy or not.”
“As an angler, you are either involved or you’re not. I don’t get too personal or commercial with it because that’s not what I like to see on social media myself. In my opinion force feeding something isn’t the way to go.”
“One of the most beneficial aspects that social media brings to the fishing industry is all the different photos and videos we can see of the outdoors. Social is the only way we can see photos from around different parts of the country and world that otherwise we probably wouldn’t see. It gets people outside and fishing.”
If you spend any time on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, than you have probably seen or heard of the amount of sponsorship requests that are thrown around. It seems as though anyone with an Instagram account is a sponsored pro. A lot of the younger generation seems to think they are entitled to sponsors or feel they need to them fish. Crews says social can go both ways as far as getting sponsored goes.
“The word sponsorship is definitely thrown around, but there are a lot of passionate people out there that want to be a part of something. In my experience, social media doesn’t necessarily gain sponsors but they are definitely looking to see if you are active or not. Something that a lot of people aren’t aware of is that you can also lose sponsorship because of social media. I know guys who have lost deals and were aspiring pros, simply because of the photos they posted on social. Just like a job, if you make the wrong decision you can get in a lot of trouble and could end up paying the consequences.”
The likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are still fairly new to the fishing industry. These sources of reaching other anglers may have been available to us for a few years now, but only recently have they really turned a corner and taken over.
For those who aren’t involved or well versed with social, it’s definitely a beneficial resource for various reasons. You meet new anglers from different parts of the country and learn things about fishing you probably would have never learned otherwise. If you are manufacturer, you can connect with your targeted audience at a very low acquisition and be more more personable at the same time.
As of right now, social media is here to stay and will become more relevant as time goes on. Embracing social media and staying on top of this interactive curve will separate you from the rest of the pack and will give you a big tool to reach your fishing peers.