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The Social Media Singularity: How You Can Help in Keeping the Shooting Industry Alive

At Vector Air, our journey began during the turbulent times of lockdown. Faced with rising costs of living, workplace issues, and personal challenges, we embarked on a labour of love that would eventually evolve into a small, dedicated team of four individuals.

Today, we operate as a respected airgun and airsoft retailer in the UK, and we're here to ask for your support. While we're humbled to be recognized as one of the names in the game, we recognize the challenges we all face and are reaching out to our valued customers for assistance.

What is the Issue?

As a player in the shooting sports industry, we are now staring down the precipice of something many RFDs are losing the fight against, a shooting sports social media singularity...

Facebook on mobile device

Why is social media so important?

In today's digital age, social media plays a pivotal role in connecting businesses with their customers. For us at Vector Air, it's not just about deals; it's about building a vibrant community of enthusiasts who share our passion. Through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, we provide valuable content and ort/engage with our customers. It's a way to connect, share knowledge, and advocate for a hobby that means more than just a pastime—it's about mental well-being, camaraderie, and respect for our shared history. However, there is a problem; every single day we have posts taken down for "violating community standards" because they show or even imply the existence of a gun. It is now at the point that the algorithms on some social media sites such as TikTok are so ruthless, that posting is stopped before it even makes it to the public...

man on mobile in dim lit room

Why are these restrictions happening?

Unfortunately, the powers that be, primarily the all-powerful META (owner of Facebook and Instagram), often categorise airgun and airsoft alongside firearms. In a world overshadowed by grave concerns such as genocide, school shootings, and terrorism, this blanket classification is, to some extent, understandable. This categorisation, while understandable in some contexts, creates a significant challenge for us.

razor wire restricted area

Why Are These Restrictions Affecting Us?

In the UK, the law distinguishes airguns and airsoft from firearms. This disconnect between social media's terms of service and the law creates a daunting challenge for us. These restrictions on social media not only impact us but also have wider implications for the industry as a whole. It becomes increasingly difficult for businesses like ours to maintain a strong online presence, limiting our ability to reach enthusiasts and potential customers. As a shooting-related business, the following actions are taken against us:

  • Posts are removed under incorrect sales reports - Brick-and-mortar stores used to be immune to this

  • Accounts are shadow banned - we do not show up in searches on social media networks unless you know our exact account username or handle

  • Posts do not show up in the "Explore" section

  • Reels, shorts and Stories do not show up to non-followers

  • We cannot be tagged in social posts without the exact account name (we do not show up in suggestions) - we are even unable to tag other RFD's or suppliers in posts as their accounts are also flagged

man prevented from speaking due to tape over mouth

How They Are Also Affecting the Industry

These restrictions hinder our ability to introduce new and younger shooters to the sport, which the industry desperately needs to survive. Established shooters may also face a loss of their support network, which is known for providing vital mental health support that might not otherwise be available.

stock fluctuation shown on laptop

How These Restrictions Are Affecting Customers

When these restrictions are in place, shops are not able to reach new customers so their prices have to go up to ensure they can keep the lights on. The cost of living crisis affects us all; Customers and shop owners alike. This does mean that customers understandably seek better deals to continue enjoying their hobby for mental health reasons that we wholeheartedly support. For many, it's a choice between pursuing their beloved hobby and meeting essential needs. So many shops begin a bidding war to the bottom price. Great for customers in a cash-strapped economy. However, there is a catch...

business forced to close due to poor income and high cost of living

How This in Turn Also Affects the Individual Retailer

This financial strain on customers also affects individual retailers who are already struggling to keep their doors open amidst rising costs and a challenging economic landscape. Small retailers, like us, grapple with the relentless rise in the cost of living. This leads to smaller shops that do not have other means of income to sustain them and bolster their passion; thus having to close their doors. Every month we hear of another shop that has had to close down.

cost of living crisis causing an issue with balancing the cost of living with saving

Changes You May Find

Many RFD's are now having to be stricter with pricing or are even diversifying into a non-restricted sector. For us we are monitoring our analytics and forecasting sales to better cherry-pick stock, meaning stock may be more scarce and deposits will be a necessity.

We are also going to enact new operations to help bolster our income and keep prices low for you during this cost of living crisis. We've started running ads on high-traffic areas of our website and have begun to produce monetized videos on YouTube. We are fully aware that ads can be an annoyance, however, their implementation means we require no extra payment from you to continue to provide products at a reasonable price and the happy coincidence is that you will also begin to see more content being produced by us.

man stressed working at laptop

Our Use of our Blog and Email Marketing

With social media restrictions mounting, our blog and email marketing have become vital channels to connect with our customers. We treat blog posts like social media updates, ensuring you receive valuable content, guidance, and news through these channels. So ensure you are subscribed as a member to ensure you are kept in the loop.

hands typing on laptop keyboard

Your Input Helps

Alongside our new Help Centre where video tutorials, guides, and troubleshooting will be available the aforementioned Videos will be driven by you! So if you have suggestions for content that you would like to see that is either informative or entertaining please let us know. We have great connections in the shooting and media industry who may be able to make your ideas a reality and in turn, may well help other shooters.

digital portal of technology shown on a bright screen in a dark lit room

Supporting the Industry and Industry Networks

We know not every RFD in the country will be able to start doing what we are in order to bolster their income. So in response to these shared challenges, we've chosen to support other retailers rather than hoard imports for ourselves. By providing products and an income stream to our peers, we're bolstering the industry and ensuring that fellow enthusiasts can continue enjoying their passion. So if you have a local RFD, who you feel could benefit from a trade account please point them our way.

small business operations showing laptop and goods ready for shipping

Why We Published This Post:

This post isn't just a collection of words; it's a heartfelt reminder of why we're here and why your support means the world to us. Our industry faces challenges, and our ability to continue serving you and fellow enthusiasts hinges on your involvement. A good review, a 'like' and 'share' on Facebook, a positive comment on our YouTube videos—these seemingly small actions are incredibly powerful.

hands supporting one another as they grip onto one anothers wrist

Join Us on the Journey

Together, we can overcome these challenges and keep the spirit of airguns and airsoft alive. So, why not jump on board with us? Let's rally together, enthusiasts supporting enthusiasts, in this adventure to ensure our beloved hobby thrives.

So in the meantime, please navigate around these restrictions by going directly to our social channels and connecting with us:

  • Facebook: For news, updates, and offers.

  • Instagram: For image sharing, news, and updates.

  • YouTube: Explore our help guides, entertainment, and product information videos.

  • Twitter / X: Occasional news and updates.

  • Pinterest: Image sharing, guides, and product links.

  • LinkedIn: Business-to-business postings for trade accounts.

  • Reddit: Seek help and advice.

  • TikTok: Enjoy entertainment and guides.

We remain dedicated to supporting the airgun and airsoft industry in the UK. With your help, we can continue providing valuable content and maintaining a strong online presence. Together, we can ensure the survival of our beloved hobby in this ever-evolving landscape of restrictions and challenges. Thank you for being a part of our journey and for your continued support. We're all in this together!

Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments below.

Support this blog by buying this blog writer a coffee Image Use for Educational Purposes - This blog post includes images used for educational purposes, not all of which are not owned by the publisher. Efforts have been made to credit image owners/sources appropriately, and any concerns about attribution or copyright should be addressed by contacting us. These images are used solely for educational purposes within fair use guidelines, with no commercial intent. The inclusion of external images does not imply endorsement or sponsorship of our content by image owners/sources. We aim to comply with relevant copyright laws, and any questions or suggestions regarding image use or content are welcome through our contact information provided.

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