Social Media at ICAST

Michelle's first time out fly fishing

I’ve just returned from fab-u-lous Las Vegas for ICAST, the fishing industry’s version of SHOT Show.  I am not necessarily there to see the latest and greatest the fishing industry has to offer. I am there to promote Sportsman Channel, network with friends old and new, and see what sort of trouble I can stir up.  I am proud to say I was successful in all endeavors.

As a the self-proclaimed social media evangelist for the network, I was more interested in the social media efforts at ICAST – or lack thereof. Don’t get me wrong, people were tweeting about ICAST, a simple Twitter search found that. But it was more of the consumer-helping-consumer who was tweeting instead of the manufacturer or even American Sportfishing Assoc/ICAST themselves.

However, there were some shining lights. A few folks were blogging/tweeting while on the show floor: @Wired2Fish, @DougCavin, @goFISHn_Live are some examples.  Another highlight was a presentation by Tammy Sapp of Tammy Sapp Communications with “Get on Board and Catch the Social Media Wave.” Tammy explained to me before the seminar that I would “probably be bored” as her information was meant to be for the beginner. As the supportive friend that I am, I wanted to attend.

And I learned a little something.

That’s the cool part about social media, you can always learn something.

Below are my top 10 take-aways from Tammy’s presentation:

Filming Kim Bain-Moore from "Breaking the Surface"

1. People spend 500 billion minutes on Facebook. That means your co-workers/employees are probably doing it during working hours. But, that also means your customers are probably on there during working hours – so why not capitalize on that?

2. The site Stumbled Upon has experienced an 188 percent growth in active users in 2009. Wow. I need to start figuring out that site.

3. The average person spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube. I am not one of them. But your customer probably is.

4. Before diving in social media – you need to listen first; talk later. How many first posts by tweeters do you see along the lines of “My first tweet!” or “I am now tweeting!”  Well, good for you, but you don’t get a date just by announcing yourself at the cocktail party and you won’t get followers that way either.

5. Tammy brought up some tools to use if you are trying to target people in your local market – like if you are a fishing tackle retailer in the Keys, you want to hear what anglers in your area are doing. She suggested using Twitter Local or Mr. Tweet.

6. She’s also a big advocate of – a tool that allows you to post the same message on multiple sites. However, she conceded that this method allows you skip out on step 4: listening. That’s not a good thing, so use this sporadically.

7. Tammy said one young man told her he uses his Facebook page as a “test page” for his main site. How interesting to literally throw an idea out and see if it sticks in a low-cost way.

8. As a blogger, use the blogroll to make blog-friends and share the “link love,” as Tammy puts it.

9. Provide photos in your blog – it just makes your blog more interesting. I am not good at this, but am striving to get better. (so I put TWO in this post!)

10. Make it easy to post comments on your blog – but at the same time, you need to have a spam filter/blocker for those crazies who try to post naughty things on your blog.

To those of you who attended ICAST – what do you think of the poor showing of social media? Or am I misguided?


  1. Jim Braaten on July 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    How did the SM use at ICAST compare to the SHOT Show last January? I expect to see lots of growth in SM use next year at SHOT Show 2011. I’m seeing many new shooting/hunting manufacturers represented these days in this emerging media forum.

  2. Michelle on July 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    You know, ICASTers didn’t have their “act” together on SM stuff as well as SHOT did last year. With giving the edge to NSSF and SHOT, I still think both shows weren’t able to embrace it fully. I agree with you that next year, SM should be bigger at SHOT Show. The problem is you need a dedicated staffer to do SM and I suspect it is a combination of staffers at ASA and SHOT who are attempting to Tweet, Facebook and blog.
    I’d like to hear from Chris Dolnack from NSSF and MJ Williams from ASA on their takes.

  3. Justin VonSpreckelsen on July 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    As a consumer I have to agree with you. Although there was not much SM from the companies themselves I did fell fairly plugged in from the a number of others including yourself. At times I felt like I was actually walking aisles while read all the tweets and blogs. Still not the same as being there and getting your hands on the actual products.