Recently the SSAA was present at a meeting and workshop hosted by the World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA) in Tempe, Arizona. SSAA National compared notes with a number of countries around the world, in particular Canada and Sweden, who have faced and continue to face similar situations to our own. As SSAA members already know, comparisons made with nations such as Canada and New Zealand will always be much better than any with the United States.
The WFSA is an association comprised of hunting, shooting and industry organisations from around the world and the SSAA was one of the founding members. In total, the WFSA represents more than 100 million sporting shooters, through these individual groups. Countries as diverse as Sweden, Germany, Italy, South Africa, the US and more belong to the WFSA. The aim of the WFSA is to further study, preservation, promotion and protection of sports shooting activities on every continent. The body represents recreational shooting at the United Nations and has attended every major UN conference affecting hunting and the shooting sports.
The latest meeting and workshop focused on some of the challenges sports shooting groups encounter on social media. Keynote speaker Andrea Luminati, an Italian marketing strategist, highlighted the importance of creating positive perceptions of our ‘brand’ (firearms). He went on to explain the opportunities we have if we speak to and engage with the majority of people who don’t really have an opinion either way, rather than the ‘antis’ or SSAA members specifically.
In regards to social media itself, a common area of complaint for sports shooting organisations around the world was not being able to pay for advertisements on Facebook or other social media. Andrea discussed how to work around some of these roadblocks and how to position sporting shooting more positively. The phenomenon of ‘preaching to the choir’ was also a common theme, which, although sometimes inevitable, is a useful tool for gaining traction on social media.
The SSAA will continue to have a presence on the WFSA and keep our ears open across the globe. Having access to a reservoir of knowledge and friends throughout the world is extremely valuable for our own strategies. The research performed by the WFSA is also useful, particularly the work that has gone into investigating the use of lead shot.