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How Outdoor Sporting Brands Can Utilize Instagram as a Marketing Influence

When it comes to social media platforms today, Instagram has become one of the fastest growing networks. The platform boasts over 600 million active users, and is quickly becoming one of the most influential marketing tools for brands today.

Although Facebook has been a primary marketing tool in the past, investing in advertisements to appear on news feeds has become more and more expensive, making the platform less useful for brands that have lower budgets. Instagram on the other hand offers less expensive marketing tools including instagram stories and various ad options for brands.

When it comes to the outdoor sporting industry, there are various tactics that companies can put to use on Instagram to promote their brands. Here are some ideas for how to successfully use Instagram to promote your outdoor sporting brand.

1.  Show the personality of the brand 

Demonstrating the brand’s personality helps to engage users on the Instagram platform.  Does the brand promote adventure, wellness or is it more about safety? These characteristics can be shown easily with images on Instagram

Nike is a great example of a company that successful shows the personality of the brand within Instagram. With 78.3 million followers, Nike demonstrates brand identity through images that highlight lifestyle, not just their products. Nike uses inspirational and motivational messages to promote exercise and healthy living.

Another example is Goal Zero, an outdoor sporting brand, that uses Instagram to depict the brand’s emphasis on engaging in humanitarian projects and adventure.



A post shared by GOAL ZERO (@goalzero) on

Photo courtesy of Instagram.

2. Focus on engaging users 

Gaining followers and engaging users on Instagram is a brand’s first step to converting leads into customers.

A great way to engage users on Instagram is through the use of hashtags. One example is L.L.Bean’s #BeanOutsider campaign which encouraged users to post photos with the hashtag for a chance to win an L.L.Bean gift card.


A post shared by L.L.Bean (@llbean) on

Photo courtesy of Instagram.

Even if your brand is not able to offer a promotion, simply using a hashtag on Instagram can get people talking and noticing the brand. Either way, hashtags lead to more user generated content, getting users involved with the brand.

3. Promotion via ads 

Instagram offers several options for brand promotion through Photo ads, Video ads, Carousel ads (several photos), and Story ads. For example, your brand can post multiple photos and videos in a sequence of Instagram stories that advertises a product or service and links to a “call to action” demonstrating where they can buy the product or service.

YETI ran two campaigns around the holidays, between November 2017 and just days before Christmas. One of the campaigns YETI decided to run was to entice existing customers to purchase items. The company built the audience by combining site visitors, engaged users, video viewers and email lists, then matched the promotions to customer behavior based upon price points of items they had purchased and pages they had viewed. The option to pick from a number of possibilities allows your brand to choose which ad would be most successful for your company.


A post shared by YETI (@yeti) on

Photo courtesy of Instagram

4. Set goals

Instagram can be an extremely helpful tool in promoting your brand, so keep in mind what goals you are trying to accomplish. Is it simply increasing awareness, helping potential customers learn more about the products and services you offer? Or is increasing sales by sending visitors to your sites or stores the key performance indicator? Your Instagram posts should reflect and push these goals. The example of YETI’s goal to boost sales proved to be successful when they received 7X return on ad spend with the ads through Instagram Stories.

Although there are a number of  social media platforms that can serve as useful brand marketing tools, Instagram is one worth investing in. With various options for advertisements and ways to engage the platform’s 600 million users, Instagram is a highly functional tool for marketing outdoor sporting brands.