One of the reasons many people in the outdoors haven’t been able to get the information they want and need to be more successful in living the outdoor lifestyle is that they don’t want to be embarrassed. None of us wants to appear to be stupid, especially in front of our peer group, or in front of people we admire and respect. However, if we can ask questions and get answers anonymously, we quickly and easily can become more successful afield and learn more about sports and the outdoors.

Lisa Wells, an online marketing and e-commerce consultant for the health-care industry and president of Get Social Consulting, started her career as a journalist in the outdoors, working for six years in the outdoor industry. She returns to her roots in March by speaking to the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) at its annual meeting. What Wells has learned about the impact of social media in the healthcare industry translates to the outdoors.

“In the healthcare industry, people are always looking for information, especially about medical problems that may be embarrassing to them,” Wells explains. “Because of their fear of embarrassment, people go online to locate more information to better understand their conditions and/or to find other people who have the same problems. By talking with individuals with the same problems, they learn ways to solve these problems. The outdoor industry, where I’ve also worked for several years, also has many men and women who are embarrassed to ask questions about hunting and fishing. The response they often get when they ask questions is, ‘I can’t believe you don’t know that.’ So, to prevent embarrassment, they can go to the Internet or to social-media sites anonymously and tap into the information they’re searching for without fear of embarrassment.”

Wells emphasizes that these people also receive reassurance that they’re not the only people who don’t know the answers to these outdoor questions.

“From an online marketing standpoint, the companies that do provide resource information are helping get the answers to the questions the consumers have in a comfortable, safe and anonymous way for them.” she says. “In addition, these companies are building bridges to those consumers as trusted friends, which will enable those companies to pursue relationships with those consumers.”

If your company provides expert information to solve outdoor problems, then you’ll have a solid connection to that consumer, which helps build your brand and opens that consumer up to more information that you can provide or products you can sell.

Companies throughout the business world are recognizing the importance of giving information, providing entertainment and delivering daily news and new research that’s timely, helpful, reliable and entertaining to their customer base to increase the amount of sales that the company or service provider produces. Another advantage of providing quality information on the Internet is the viral effect that information can experience as it’s forwarded from friend to friend to friend and the ability of that information to make the company a trusted friend. If the consumer can get information and news that he can use and that entertains him, he or she usually will tell his peer groups where he’s getting this information, which drives more traffic and more consumers to a company’s portals. Then the company can provide information for the consumers they already have, and actually can grow that consumer base and increase sales. A company never loses but always wins and grows when the company helps consumers get the information and news they’re seeking.

Image courtesy John Phillips/Lisa Wells

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