How a Portland Company Put Instagram to Work
What’s your social media protocol at this point? The standard Facebook and Twitter with the occasional LinkedIn post? Is it productive or does it feel like it’s going out into the vacuum? With social media platforms, use and trends constantly shifting, standard doesn’t necessarily mean effective. The opportunities are endless when you’re willing to step away from the usual and try something creative. Take Poler, a Portland-based outdoor goods company, as an example.
Poler Stuff: Outdoor Gear
Started in November 2011, Poler Stuff began offering a modest collection of tents, backpacks and apparel via an e-commerce site. A departure from the super technical bend of most outdoor gear, Poler’s items are aimed at “travelers, couch surfers, regular surfers, skateboarders, snowboarders, bicyclists, parents, kids, car campers and anyone else looking for something that looks good, is a good value and is all about having fun on road trips and in the outdoors.” Eschewing ads or catalogs, they used creative photo essays to showcase their gear and more importantly, the Poler lifestyle. Grown entirely through word of mouth and social media, Poler has gone from those humble online beginnings to a flagship store in downtown Portland, a devoted following around the world, an ever-expanding line of offerings, and collaborations with companies like Stumptown and Nike that sell out in days.
A Social Media Star
Their Instagram presence is especially noteworthy. Early on, Poler established a few hashtags to promote their gear and the outdoor lifestyle. Using #campvibes (inspiring camping photos), #adventuremobile (interesting recreational vehicles), and #beneaththebrim (shots from below the brim of their signature trucker hat) to label Instagram posts, they soon created a unique situation. Not only were they sharing photos with these tags, but fans of the brand were consistently using the tags on their own photos as well. Poler began to cull and repost their favorite images from followers and were soon able to keep up a steady stream of posts featuring their gear in beautiful, exotic locations around the world. Fans are excited that their photo is selected to be shared with the Poler community at large, and the company is provided with free advertising. It’s a win-win. Currently boasting over 100,000 followers and at least 4,000 likes per post, Poler is getting consistent positive exposure and engagement without spending a dollar.
It’s a pretty inspiring model. How could you put your fans to work for you? Poler’s path may not work for everyone but it’s a good reminder that when it comes to planning your social media strategy, it can pay to think outside the box.