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6 Social Media Tips To Get You Noticed In The Outdoor Industry

Owen Leeper, the king of the selfie stick. Owen Leeper photo. 

There is so much content streaming daily that it's hard to sort through what's great storytelling and what's ineffective. As each of us inundated with Instagram photos, Twitter feeds, and Facebook posts, we form hard opinions about what we're seeing and who's posting it. 

Outdoor brands are no different. They want to find athletes, ambassadors, and content creators whose brands matches theirs. On the other side of the table, outdoor adventurers, professional and amateur, are trying to court brands to support them and share their unique content. 

We cornered the busiest woman at Teton Gravity Research and our resident content marketing guru, Tana Hoffman, to figure out how social media can help outdoor adventurers get noticed and who's really crushing the social media game. (Tip: We used their feeds as eye candy for this piece). Here's what she had to share.

1.) If you take selfies, make your audience feel like they’re experiencing the moment with you.

Selfies and selfie sticks seem to catch a lot of flak these days. Sure, you'll probably lose followers if you keep posting photos of yourself in front of the bathroom mirror, but in many instances, a selfie can actually add value to a photograph.

The best images on social media are transportive. They make you feel like you are there in the moment and they cause you to react somehow. I look at this photo of Owen Leeper and for a millisecond, I experience weightlessness. I can see the reaction on his face and I feel it in my stomach. Would that moment, taken by someone on the cliff above or the water below, have the same result?

That's not to say that all selfies are transportive, or that other images don't achieve that goal, but I think selfies can be a great storytelling tool when used the right way.

Owen Leeper selfie stick cliff jumping. Owen Leeper photo. 

2.) Be deliberate about the hashtags you use.

It's smart to include a few relevant hashtags (for example, #mountainbiking) to increase the possibility of people with similar interests discovering you. That said, you can overdo it, too.

Adding twelve lines of hashtags shouldn't be a strategy to grow your following. Be confident about what you post and present it authentically. Once you're recognized as a great storyteller, then you'll really see your following grow.

3.) Pick brands whose image and values reflect your own and give them a reason to connect with you.

If your ultimate goal is to connect with brands and become an ambassador or gain exposure through their channels, use their promoted hashtags (#tgrlivethedream). Then take an extra step: rather than just throwing it on the end of everything you post, give them a story to share that's unique to their brand and their audience.

When I'm looking for user-generated content, hashtag feeds and direct messages are my best sources. When someone posts a photo/video that reflects TGR’s brand, makes a personal connection to our brand, and tells the story behind it, I already consider him or her influencer. And that makes that content share worthy.

Andrew Muse regularly posts to the TGR Stash and sent a direct message about why we might be interested in sharing his story. Since then, we've posted several of his photos to our Instagram feed. Here's one of his Instagram shots of Beartooth Pass. Andrew Muse photo. 

4.) Build a consistent social media presence.

"Consistency" can be interpreted a few different ways. I think a lot of people would hear that word as it relates to social media and consider how aggressive their posting schedule needs to be. When I hear "consistent social media presence," the only thing I'm concerned with is consistent branding.

If I start posting puppy photos and Keanu Reeves memes on TGR's social media feeds, I'm going to confuse the $%#& out of people. Our fans expect a certain type of content from us—content that represents TGR as a feeling and a lifestyle. They expect a certain quality. They expect to react to it in a similar way. And as we share stories and moments on our feeds, they want to know what happens next.

Individuals are no different. We are all influencers with own unique brands. If you want to achieve a consistent social media presence, assume that your followers have similar expectations—and don't cannibalize them to meet your weekly posting quota.

Tim Durtschi's Instagram shows him doing more than just skiing. Durtschi photo. 

5.) Diversify your content.

Giving followers a look behind-the-scenes is not just some overused marketing ploy. Sharing the not-so-glamourous details about what goes into producing a once-in-a-lifetime experience make content more relatable—it gives followers a chance to connect with influencers on a more personal level. So when you're developing your social media strategies, leave some room to talk about the obstacles you've faced, share content from the people who inspire you, and to give props to those who have helped you make the journey. Don't spend the whole time talking about yourself—social media is supposed to be social.

Sage Cattabriga-Alosa's Twitter feed is an example of what diversified content can look like and how and influencer can engage with his or her audience. Sage photo. 

6.) Keep it positive!

As far as damage control is concerned, your voice and your personal opinions are also part of your brand and I'm not about to tell anyone to restrict his or her personality.

That said, in my experience, telling people what to think is a great way to piss off your followers. Rather, try to inspire people to see things from your perspective. It's the different between an order ("Don't do this because it's wrong") and an invitation ("This is what I do because I favor the outcome"). Depending on the subject, you may still get a negative response, but they're less likely to be hostile, and that kind of statement is usually easier to defend.

About The Author

“DON’T TELL PEOPLE HOW TO THINK” sooo dont voice your opinion? that’s super lame. talks major shit, calls out big time industry issues, seems to be working out well for him…

Hi Trailslayer, I’m so sorry for delayed response. To be clear, I absolutely think people should voice their opinions. Voice is one of the key elements of branding. MacKenzie had asked me how to avoid “audience blow-ups” (i.e. maintaining damage control) and my statement was in reference to how one delivers an opinion. In my experience, it’s always better to try to inspire people to see things from your perspective rather than straight up telling them that their’s is wrong or that they shouldn’t do something. The former tends to be more in line with what the outdoor industry markets to their audiences and the latter tends to fuels a lot of negative interactions. Thanks for the comment. I’ll have to check out team robot—sounds awesome!