Basics of Marketing and Social Media for Firearm Instructors - Part One

As instructors and business owners, tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat offer us unprecedented access to our audience. Along with that access comes an unprecedented amount of daily interaction that is required from the modern entrepreneur. To have a successful small business today, entrepreneurs must personally interact with their customers on a regular basis.

We no longer live in the era of marketing when you could print business cards or a tri-fold brochure and consider your marketing plan complete. Marketing today is much more complex and also potentially much more rewarding. Part of this complexity lies in social media, where there are many pitfalls and traps a business owner can fall into. A complete marketing plan includes a plan for being involved in social media and actively engaging your audience while avoiding problems you may otherwise encounter.

First Things First
Before we begin to talk about the tools and tactics of social media marketing, we have to take a step back and look at some foundational principles for growing a business.

There are several key factors in determining the success of a small business such as a vision, cash flow, persistence, customer service policy, and competitive advantage. However, possibly nothing is more important to the successful marketing and ultimate success of your business than positioning.

Positioning is simply how you'll differentiate your product or service from the rest of your competitors to serve your customers.

How do we position a business? Begin by thinking about your target market. Describe your competitors that are already servicing your customer base. At what price points are competitors selling? What are they doing that’s working? What are they doing that isn’t working? Describe the average customer you'd like to serve. Consider attributes of your target audience such as average income, age, employment, hobbies, and education level as well as more practical things such as geographic location.

Customer Personas and Voice
This information will help you build a customer persona, which is a semi-fictitious character that represent the types of customers you'll encounter. Your customer persona will determine how to approach your services and pricing. You'll also have the knowledge you need to get started with your initial marketing including the type of content you should post, which platforms are best suited to you, how often to post, the level of engagement you need, and what “voice” your business will have.

Voice is the personality of your brand. Humorous, snarky, honest, friendly, helpful, formal, and casual are some examples of voices your brand may have. When in doubt, stick with casual and helpful.

What Is Success?
After you have worked on your positioning, customer personas, and voice, it’s time to set some goals. Before you begin marketing your business, determine what success looks like for your brand. Success is different for everyone. Whatever your goals may be, they’re worth thinking about and writing down. Successful brands set goals before putting any effort or money into growing the business. If you need help developing good goals, consider using the SMART guide.

We've now laid the foundation for success in your business and your marketing plan as it relates to social media. In Part Two of this series, we’ll discuss social media as it relates to the firearms instructor as well as some tips, tools and tactics you can implement immediately to positively affect your brand.

Jason Young
Ballistic Agency

Ballistic Agency is a marketing agency founded in 2008 that specializes in interactive design, and ecommerce solutions within the Sporting, Hunting, Outdoor and Tactical industry. Ballistic has a talented team of marketers, designers and developers ready to solve your marketing problems and take care of your day to day advertising needs. Find out more at

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