It’s impossible to deny the crucial role social media plays in our lives today, especially when it comes to the products we consume. Personally, if I can’t find a brand on social media I usually forget about it and move onto a different brand that has an online presence. A company’s online presence is so important, and it can make or break the company. By listening to the current climate and being strategic and careful, a brand can capitalize through their social media. Or they can completely flop. This is why brands have to use social media carefully and know their demographic and values to really be successful on social media.
One of my personal favorite brands is Patagonia. I love their clothing, but most of all I love their values and the way they’re always putting them first when it comes to everything they do. Not only do I love their brand, but I also love the way they use social media. Here are a couple of reasons Patagonia’s social media department is killing it.
1. Effectively Use Multiple Platforms
Lots of brands use multiple platforms to promote themselves, but Patagonia does a really good job of utilizing specific platform for what they do best. The 5 main platforms Patagonia uses are: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and a Blog. One of my favorite things about all the different platforms is that they’re not all posting about the same things. There is some overlap between the platforms, mostly when promoting events, but the rest of the content is different on each platform. On Facebook you can find links to blog posts and event pages, while on Instagram you can find beautiful photographs taken by fans of the brand using their products or just enjoying the outdoors. This is great because I follow them on all their platforms and I’m not getting the same updates. Imagine how repetitive and boring that would be.
2. Location Accounts
I love when companies do this; have individual accounts for specific locations. I live in Toronto, so I follow the Patagonia Toronto account. There is also a main account for the entire company, which I also follow, because the content posted is different. This is a great way for a big company to individualize and curate content specifically to people in a specific locations. The Toronto account posts about events in the community as well as events happening in store at the Toronto location. If a brand has the ability to do this I strongly recommend it. This is such a great way to build a tight community around a brand that is national or international.
3. Community Events
One of the biggest reasons I love Patagonia is because of its values, and part of those values is helping the community. Patagonia does an amazing job of hosting events that involve other members of the community. In Toronto, they have Bare Market a package free store come into Patagonia and offer low and zero waste products for clients. They also host many film screenings, some of which are part of their Environmental Grant Program, which helps filmmakers fund short films that share the company’s values. You can also come in to the store and get old and well-loved Patagonia products fixed for free. All of this has successfully created a strong bond between Patagonia and the community.
I love when brands use photos from their fans or ambassadors. I think it does a really good of creating a relationship between the brand and the consumer, and makes them feel like they are appreciated by the brand. Also in the case of Patagonia, it helps them get really amazing content with very little effort. It helps that Patagonia products are favorites of a lot of nature photographers and amateur photographers alike. By posting the photos and giving credit to the photographer they are not only getting breathtaking photographs, but also making their customers feel like part of the family. It’s also nice as a photographer to have an account with lots of followers post one of your photos.
I am an environmentalist, and therefore I have very strong values when it comes to nature. A big part of those values is related to how a company operates in relation to the environment. I love Patagonia because they are not only an environmentally aware company, but their also activists for the environment. There is nothing more uplifting to me than seeing a brand I love fighting for causes that I also find important. If the brands values are in line with mine you better believe I’m going to be all over that brand. I also love that they use their social media for their activism, posting about conservation, but also re-posting other organizations doing work that is in line with their values. Patagonia also has many projects and partners that they work with to help make a difference for our planet.
Side Note: while I was doing research for this I came across something that made me love the brand even more. When the GOP gave tax cuts to companies, Patagonia decided, instead of putting the money they saved back into the company, that they would donate it to environmental causes instead. You can read more about it here.
6. Brand, Not Product
I think the difference between a brand and a successful brand is their ability to move beyond the products they are selling and create a brand identity. Patagonia has done this amazingly, creating a community of loyal fans who aren’t just there to buy product but to live a type of lifestyle. I love that Patagonia has gone beyond being a clothing brand and become an organization for environmental activism. They did an incredible job of creating a community with people of similar values and they work very hard to promote their brand, not their products. While there is still some product promotion in their social media, it is well balanced with events, community involvement, activism and brand promotion. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate when a social media post is obviously trying to sell something to you. Honestly, I dislike Instagram Influencer posts for products, they tend to make me dislike the product more than anything. I guess what I’m saying is I hate obvious product promotion on social media. On the other hand I don’t blame brands for it, because I know social media sales are a huge part of a brands influence. What I really like about Patagonia is that they’re not really selling their stuff to you over social media, there selling the experiences. They show people enjoying the outdoors, and families going on adventure to draw in their customers who yearn for those experiences, which leads them to buying their products.
I could honestly go on about why I love Patagonia for decades, but I don’t think anybody wants that. What I will say is this: social media is a powerful tool that can be used for good and bad. Learning to harness the power of it can be vital to a brands success, but as a consumer I will always appreciate brands that work hard to use their power for good and to make a difference in the world. I also believe that you can’t underestimate the power of community in building your company. A strong community that is loyal to your brand can move mountains.