On the 24th of July 2019, I launched a new Facebook group, today is the 24th of august and this is the story of why I am working so hard on this group and how we got to our first 1000 members. More importantly, I conclude with some ideas about how YOU can help and why you should want to!
Angling online, and particularly on Facebook, can be a minefield for new anglers. Facebooks new focus on groups means that the platform is striving to get people to participate in groups, making them central to their online experience. Anglers love to form groups, making Facebook the ideal platform, but the place is full of negativity and people engaging in my new least-favourite word ‘banter’! ‘Just harmless banter mate!’ is a phrase I’ve seen time and time again in many Facebook groups. That or the immortal phrase, ‘If you can’t take the banter, you shouldn’t be here!’. NO, banter is harmless ribbing, what these people engage in is mindless bullying, severe enough to put people off fishing! It’s not right. Or beneficial for the sport in any way!
The Facebook ‘obstacle’ for new anglers.
Imagine, for a moment, you are completely new to fishing. You have caught your first few fish and you think to yourself, ‘where can I go for the info to catch more, bigger, fish?’ or you think, ‘how can I find out more about fishing for my son/daughter?’. With most of the population of the western world currently using Facebook, it seems an obvious choice, right? Well, off you go to log on to Facebook, find a few groups to join and display your or your child’s favourite new catch.
But wait… what’s that? Is that fish not on an unhooking mat? Is that fish a bit smaller than the last one I caught? Is this person claiming a bigger weight than it looks like in the picture? Is this person clearly new to fishing? That’s when it starts; ‘Numpty!’, ‘Noddy!’, ‘Use an unhooking mat you f@!$ing t!£t!!’, ‘Stop posting pictures of pasties idiot!’… All in the name of harmless ‘banter’ of course! And we wonder why we lose more and more anglers every year!!
The group I formed, ‘talk about fishing’ was formed as an anti-anti group, expressly forbidding the ‘unhooking police’ and encouraging the pro-active encouragement of fellow anglers, where someone does something which is not best practice, our members offer friendly advice, usually backed up with an encouraging ‘Well done!’ or ‘nice fish though!’ we aim to be welcoming and to educate, NOT berate! And if anyone feels the need to be aggressive or overly critical of the efforts of others, they leave… we don’t want that element in our group!
Our group has grown to 1000+ active participants within 1 month, it is not the fastest growth rate ever experienced by a group on Facebook, that is for sure, but it’s far from being the slowest. I am picky about my members, I try to avoid anyone who is likely to bring a negative vibe into the group, negativity gets you banned without question, politics is taboo, but, most importantly, I am ALWAYS thinking about inclusiveness and keeping a welcoming vibe going, about encouraging Facebook users to take part and helping them discover a sport that they would be happy to encourage their children to take up. We can’t reach the younger generation (legitimately) through social media… but we can reach them indirectly through their parents. For this reason, I actively recruit moderators who are women, who are younger, who are specialists in a particular species, and we encourage at every possible opportunity the participation of underrepresented groups.
This is the mission of the group, because a positive public image makes for a sport that people want to try, it makes for an activity which is in the public psyche, it makes for more participation, more people searching out their local fishing tackle shop, more people buying fishing tackle, a future for fishing.
Towards a supergroup!
We are growing strong, mostly due to the members, partly due to my investing small amounts of my money in it! My ambition is to grow a supergroup because we need LOTS of members and we need to make a lot of noise to make the positive impact in the angling world that I am hoping to make. That is where you come in!
Help us grow!
How many people like your Facebook page? What would a mention of our group cost you? Our mission is to build a future for YOUR industry, a simple mention on your Facebook page… or better still, open support of our group on your company website could give the impetus we need to grow into the supergroup that we need to be to have a real impact on the face of angling and on the future of the sport. I am working hard to create and corral anglers which will ultimately become YOUR future customers, but it can’t be done, even by me, alone. I need the trade to stand up and help!
It’s not possible to use Facebook Ads to promote a group which is why my personal investment has been through my personal Facebook Page. From there, I can redirect people to my group through boosted posts, a button on my page and regular encouragement for new people to join the group. My personal funds are low, but would your company miss £10?? For £10, you get an advertising post on the group, potential new customers and, potentially, a lot of new group members… If we grow in strength through this kind of low-level investment, we grow a community of anglers for the future!
What do your sponsored anglers do for your company? I have heard from people who say their sponsored anglers do little to help their company. Why not get them to take part in our growing group? Get them to educate future generations and promote YOUR business into the future! Get in touch with me to find out how we can facilitate this and make YOUR sponsored anglers a real active part of the community, contributing through your company to the future of angling!
Perhaps there are other ways of helping that I have not thought of? Get in touch with me, make your suggestions, we need to grow and build what angling is currently sadly missing: a strong, resilient, close-knit community of people who love angling. Again, feel free to get in touch!
I have heard angling companies having great, grandiose, ideas about what angling ‘needs’ to grow. Most of these ideas require thousands, hundreds of thousands or, I think I heard one person suggest at the recent Angling Trades Association Think Tank that I attended, millions of pounds to make work.
My advice to you, if you think this kind of financial capital is required…. Put it in the bank, wait until we are in a strong enough position to invest that kind of money. Social Media is NOT a quick fix, kids today see the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and think that it ‘takes money to make money’ but it doesn’t, like Mark Zuckerberg, it takes baby steps… with your help, I can ride on the wings of Facebook success for the first step before planning the next stage in the great new venture which is the future of angling… these first steps take the investment of time, work, and probably the amount of money that many of you have in your pockets right now!
The next stage in our development is to reach out to participants in other, similar, activities who might also be interested in trying angling. To do this, I will employ new techniques that my research is already uncovering.
Don’t throw away money chasing a pipe dream, an opportunity to grow angling is right here, at your feet… all I am asking for is your help so I can report even more progress in the mission next month! GET IN TOUCH!
or email Andy’at’angling.guru replacing ‘at’ with @