At a time when people are touting the benefits of social media breaks and Marie Kondo-ing their lives, Instagram is pitted as a villain. But if you're using it right, your account won't fall into the "unfollow" pile.
After sifting through 30-plus outdoor PR and marketing companies, I came up with five that deserve a follow and a few double taps. They've done their homework on what it takes to make a beautiful and meaningful Instagram. Criteria included number of followers, frequency of posts, aesthetic and style, mission and voice, use of multimedia, and the most important: striking a balance between sharing about client news, office life, and inspirational posts.
These accounts are worth keeping on your must-follow list:
1. JAM Collective
- 1,488 followers
- Clients: Osprey, prAna, BioLite, Smartwool, OtterBox, Snow Peak, and more
Do you ever walk into a space that all of a sudden makes you feel zen? That's what JAM Collective's feed does for us. Maybe it's because the agency is based in San Francisco, but they're putting out some serious West Coast vibes. The soft yet vibrant hues of photos blend together to create a blog full of faces, places, and products important to the outdoor industry—while still remaining appealing to those outside of the industry. Their Instagram matches their website matches their Facebook, which are all signs of strong brand awareness.
2. Press Forward PR
- 1,270 followers
- Clients: Opinel, Weston Backcountry, Fischer Skis, 1% for the Planet, and more
Sure, product shots are fine to share. Clean and clear. But Vermont's Press Forward PR has been doing an excellent job of showing off clients' gear in its element. An Opinel knife cutting cheeses and bread. Bees Wrap delicately tucked around produce. Skis and snowboards touching fresh powder. We also dig how they experimented with their grid by breaking up an otherwise mundane office shot to share news about their brands.
3. Backbone Media
This account won us and thousands of others over with cute dogs. But seriously, Carbondale, Colorado-based Backbone Media has by far, the most followers of any other outdoor PR agency we researched. We can see why. Using bold and colorful images and lots of hashtags, they leverage brand content—such as Black Diamond's April Fool's Day tease featuring Alex Honnold—while also sharing how they use their clients' gear. It never hurts to get a little personal either, like telling followers about Founder Penn Newhard's birthday or John Dicuollo and Nate Simmons' epic ski day.
4. Meteorite PR
- 969 followers
- Clients: Dynafit, Salewa, Teton Gravity Research, RovR, Sweet Protection, and more
Celebrating clients' wins is part of any PR person's job and Boulder, Colorado-based Meteorite PR does it well. Post after post, Founder Eric Henderson gives kudos to his brands when they win awards, make headlines, and launch new products. From stills of Sweet Protection helmets and Purist bottles to action shots of pro skier Eric "Hoji" Hjorleifson and the Teton Gravity Research crew, this account will instill in you enough stoke to get off your phone.
5. Big Fish Collective
- 377 followers
- Clients: Zeal Optics, SAXX, ORCA Coolers, DUER, BlackStrap, Cusa Tea, and more
This lady-only team of four out of Denver, Colorado, knows how to curate a killer archive. With tabs for Media Events, Press Hits, Trade Shows, Content, and Adventures, followers can watch and re-watch their stories as many times as they want to stay informed on their brands' happenings. Big Fish Collective also started a #MeetTheTeamMondays series to introduce followers to the sassy, smart team. Sprinkled in between that and brand news are prompts to breathe, tackle the upcoming week, and ditch the office for the great outdoors. But beware: This account evokes serious wanderlust.