I hear people, at the moment, worrying about the future of fishing, will the sport still be here after COVID-19? Will the trade be able to survive the current economic downturn? How will clubs survive if members do not renew their membership? The answers, in my view, are simple and they are the same answers that I give whenever someone asks me how they can improve their social media presence…. from the future of fishing to the future of the travel industry, the stupidly simple answer is ‘Innovate, don’t procrastinate’!
What do I mean:
I look on with interest as different companies and organisations desperately try to keep people interested in angling, how are they doing it… by sharing more information… Great! I can’t go fishing so what I want is information about how to catch more fish that I’m not allowed to go and catch! It’s not rocket science people, you are trying to sell something to people who can’t buy it. It’s the current equivalent to certain organisations (and there are a few of them(and I have done it myself)) saying ‘We need to engage more lapsed anglers when there is a good chance that many of those lapsed anglers are lapsed because they are dead!! Let’s not pussy foot around the situation here folks, because it is important to the future of the industry and the future of angling in general. You CAN NOT sell anything to people who cannot buy it!
Angling is guilty of chronically failing to try and understand their audience. Angling clubs, organisations and businesses are all guilty of this. I was as guilty as the rest of the world for a long time before I realised the problem and decided that that way forward was to understand anglers as a specific leisure culture, who have their own needs and interests! That is the basis of my research, by understanding as much as you can about a group of people you can sell more to them! More than that, you can offer them what they want and need.
Take my Facebook group:
When this Covid-19 pandemic started I was scathing of anyone who sought to profiteer directly from the outbreak… I think I was misunderstood, what bothered me were people sticking their logo on warnings to stay home… in effect, advertising on a serious warning and using people’s death and fear as a billboard. But there are GOOD ways to take advantage of a bad situation. After some consideration of the issue, over at my Facebook group I launched a competition aimed at getting people to share their photos of fish caught before the lockdown… The result, a hotly contested competition which has seen exponential growth in the membership of my group, the repurposing of my website to something that people actually want to engage in and a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of anglers.
I was faced with a problem, so I innovated and helped at the same time as growing my own social media presence. What I DID NOT do was recycle boring old content and call it a solution or try to sell people my fishing tackle by creating a series of, essentially, sales videos! I didn’t sell anyone anything they couldn’t buy! Leaving me in a potential position of further growing the initiative I launched when the world returns to normal.
When lockdown ends, I predict, people are going to be cautious of gathering in large groups with strangers for a long time to come, I think it will be sports like football, rugby, cricket…. In short, stadium games, that suffer. People will want to hear about sports that are more ‘isolated’ where you can take yourself away from the public… Enter fishing!
Lockdown is NOT a scary time for angling if we don’t allow it to be, it is the most exciting time there is! We have an opportunity to capitalise post-lockdown with a sport that people can participate in without too much social contact. Some angling companies, organisations and clubs, I am afraid, will suffer and potentially die due to the endemic lack of imagination amongst many ‘old-school’ anglers operating in the angling world who want to keep things the way they have always been! But we, the innovators are poised for a bright future!
I want to help!
Post-lockdown, when the world returns to some semblance of normality, it is my intention to launch a brand-new social media agency aimed at the angling trade, angling clubs and organisations who represent angling. More than a simple agency, it will be a consultancy headed by me, an angler but also a holder of a master’s degree in social media and almost three years of PhD research investigating how anglers interact with social media. In short, my new agency will have the expertise to draw the lines between the winners and the loser in the race for customers in the angling world. I will offer management and consultancy across social media, specialising in Facebook page and Group engagement with measurable returns on investment! As well as providing tools and ad-hoc consultancy for those organisations, clubs, individuals and small businesses who can’t afford a full service! I will fund this service by offering similar services to industries out side of angling.
I will not be taking on any clients until AFTER the current lockdown, when I do, I will offer a 1-month FREE trial to clients who will be able to cancel without any obligation after the first month! Contact me if you are interested and I will be sure to keep you updated as we move through the current crisis.
Over to you:
This has been a little bit of a ‘blowing my own horn’ kind of a post. I am sure I am not the only person with the capacity to innovate in difficult times. What have YOU done to change the way you interact with your angling clients… Leave comments below!