There are an ever-growing number of social media outlets that can give your company additional, relevant ways to promote your outdoor brand. Effective organizations should encourage employees to be their number-one brand ambassadors, especially online. Your employees have the knowledge of your product and your mission; so combine that with their passion for hiking, running, hunting, fishing or other outdoor activities. You’ll have the perfect combination to create relevant, engaging content.
Find the Right Channels
The best way to then create and share that content is by involving and informing them in every aspect of your brand platform. Your employees will have access to key information and ideas and be encouraged to tell your story, along with theirs, through effective social media channels. Then you have to ask a key question: What are the most effective social media channels for our outdoor brand? The answer to that question lies in knowing where your audience is. You don’t have to be on every social media channel out there. It’s almost impossible, because there are new channels popping up every week. Be open to the possibilities, but thoroughly vet each new opportunity as to how it fits with your marketing plan.
Then Create Interesting Content
Why is your outdoor product or service important to your customers? Do your employees feel that connection and how it relates to their own work? That can be the start of developing and creating interesting content that is inspired throughout the organization. Encourage employees to become reporters, finding positive, relevant stories that can often be missed, or dismissed, because of their everyday nature. To make sure this content is relevant to your brand message, work to see that everyone in the organization understands the company’s commitment to the outdoors, the role your brand plays and how the mission fits with the two. Then it’s a matter of getting employees out there, using your products or benefiting from them, and telling their stories through the use of photos, video or both. The shared excitement of those experiences will make a connection to your outdoor audience.
Have an Effective Gatekeeper
The reward of this content creation and dissemination should outweigh the risks, but it’s important to mitigate the risk. That responsibility falls to your gatekeeper. The person in charge of your social media channels should have several essential qualities:
- A critical understanding of what makes good outdoor stories
- Knowledge of your current audience
- Knowledge of potential audiences for growth
- The connection between outdoor and urban audiences
- The willingness to say yes to the unusual and no to the irrelevant
- A thorough understanding of the outdoor industry and your company’s place in it
Outdoor Brand Leadership Starts at, and Near, the Top
Brand ambassadorship doesn’t end at the C-suite door. Outdoor brands must have senior leadership that creates excitement for, and involvement in, the process to empower others to be inspired and engaged. So leadership that strives to extend the company’s mission of encouraging outdoor activity through their brand must share that drive with the people who best reflect that mission and can share their stories with customers.
Getting the Outdoors in Their Heads
Leadership should make this effort personal by sharing their outdoor stories through internal communication channels that can serve as inspiration for employees’ own engagement. Making the connection between what employees do and how it fits into your outdoor brand’s mission will help them understand how their own outdoor experiences and stories can make a difference.
Social media is an increasingly relevant place for outdoor brands to build their base. Hunters, hikers, anglers and adventurers are engaged and looking for content that tells stories and shares experiences about brands that they are connected to and passionate about. This is the next best opportunity for your brand to make that connection and create, build and grow your customer base.