Social media can be a tough nut to crack. But with outdoor enthusiasts becoming more and more engaged with popular online platforms, outdoor companies have no choice but to build a base of brand believers in the digital realm.
Outdoor consumers are savvy and expect unique digital content from the brands they love - so what are some general tips on how your business can build a meaningful audience?
Social media is NOT like any other marketing platform. Don't expect to grow your online audience by just talking about your products' latest specs and features. Instead, use your social channels to provide a resource to your fans about topics that align with your business and audience's interests.
Also, have a purpose for why your company is on certain social media channels. Don't make the mistake of thinking you have to have a presence on every newfangled site or app that comes around.
Keep experimenting, but don't commit fully to a new social channel until you've verified there's an audience and a purpose for being there.
Social media is meant to break down communication barriers between people. Tell the story of your company and the people inside it.
Your true brand believers will be the first to geek out over every intricacy of the behind-the-scenes process of your business. There's a wealth of potential content at your fingertips just in your company's day-to-day processes.
Build an engaging video or infographic that depicts how your popular utility knife is assembled or show off the facilities where your hiking backpacks are made - whatever your product or service, there's a story to tell that will greatly appeal to your firmest of fans.
Get your team out there using your products and document it through video or photos.
Tell that story to your customers - and have fun with it. Showing through static imagery and video content how excited your employees and leadership are by their own industry endears you to your most enthusiastic of outdoor brand believers.
A great example of a company doing this right is Springfield Armory's ongoing "Range Report" video series.
The hashtag can be both your friend and your enemy. Sure, it's tempting to load up a post or tweet with a bunch of potentially relevant hashtags and hope one or several of them stick, but avoid abuse of this valuable tool at all costs. Make sure that you're utilizing tags that are useful and valuable to your end consumer. After all, many social media users navigate their favorite content areas via relevant hashtags. Do your research when you're post-writing - select tags with similar and engaging content.
Creating original content online to share on your social channels takes time and energy but you don't have to do it all by yourself.
If you've been around the block a time or two in the outdoor industry, you've been to enough conventions, conferences, competitions and events to know a handful of subject-matter experts in your outdoor sub-genre of choice.
Scroll through your proverbial Rolodex, and call in a few favors. Expert testimony on your social media channels - in the form of tips, profiles and video content - go a long way toward creating brand believers.
Having a strong social media game in the outdoor industry is all about keeping your brand believers interested, engaged and entertained. Don't neglect your social platforms - they're often your most direct link to consumers at-large.
Sources: Outdoor Industry Association