3 Things Outdoor Brands On Instagram Should Be Aware Of This Year

Originally posted to Gabriella Hoffman's blog on 1/10/18. To view original posting, CLICK HERE. Gabriella serves as Pro Staff for ReelCamo Girl.

If you’re an outdoor brand on Instagram, chances are you’ve reaped the many benefits this platform affords users.

This is perhaps not exclusive to the outdoor industry, but there’s a target on your back by those in anti-hunting circles eager to report, discourage, or shut down accounts who espouse the sportsmen’s lifestyle.

Going into the New Year, here are three things to be aware of to ensure your account isn’t at risk:

1) See If Your Posts Have Been Shadowbanned

What is shadowbanning? Here’s how Later describes it:

…a shadowban hides your Instagram posts from users who don’t follow you, which can be detrimental to growing your account and getting more followers. More specifically, if you get shadowbanned on Instagram and use hashtags in your post, only you and your current followers will see your post when they search for the hashtags you used. If someone who doesn’t follow your account searches for one of those hashtags, they won’t be able to see your post! Which basically defeats the whole purpose of using strategic hashtags to grow your Instagram community.

A shadowban is typically put into effect for users who engage in “spammy, inappropriate, or even abusive” behavior. However, the algorithm unintentionally shadowbans posts that use the same hashtags repeatedly. For example, if you use #WhatGetsYouOutdoors or #ItsInMyNature repeatedly and your account is deemed to be abusing hashtags, you can experience this. Other times, shadowbans originate from users who complain about certain accounts and their content — namely those belonging to the outdoor industry. This could result in a temporary time-out on IG, loss of followers, and fewer likes being directed to your posts.

That sounds terrifying, right? This will really hurt engagement in the long run if anglers, shooters, or hunters aren’t aware of people flagging them. Numerous outdoor companies and accounts I follow have had their individual posts shadowbanned by anti-hunters and similar antagonists. How do you tell if your posts have been shadowbanned? Go here.

My friend Jeremiah Doughty of FromFieldtoPlate had his dove breasts flagged and reported on Instagram for boasting pornographic nature. Plenty of other prominent Instagram users in the outdoor industry have complained about their posts being flagged. This year, ensure your account isn’t compromised or victimized by shadowbanned.

2) Make Sure Your Brand Influencers Aren’t Buying Their Likes or Followers

Influencer marketing via Instagram is becoming popular among businesses. Companies are primarily relying on macro- and micro-influencers to get more consumers to purchase their products. In fact, influencer marketing has been appraised at $1 billion (as an industry).

Some of the unintended consequences of this phenomenon is the rise of Instagram celebrities. There are so many people eager to become the next Insta-celebrity in outdoor circles, and sadly, a handful of folks on Instagram are using the platform as a vehicle just to do that. I have good news on this front: it’s VERY easy to spot out the fakes.

How do you detect if someone is faking their way to the top? First, you notice a huge uptick in followers and subsequent low engagement on their posts. This is a surefire way to spot influencers you shouldn’t affiliate with — especially if you’re a major outdoor brand. Second, some of these so-called influencers realize they could get caught, so they buy likes to appear important and relevant. Usually, these bought likes are from non-relevant accounts comprising spam accounts from abroad or those not interested in fishing/hunting/shooting sports . Just scroll through these “fishy” posts with bought likes and you’ll see for yourself. Third, if someone grew their account exponentially higher than established outdoor influencers in a short amount of time, they are catfishing you big time.

Here’s how to determine if you’ve been catfished on Instagram:

  • High Follower Count/Low Engagement: It’s more than just followers. If the user has tons of followers, but low engagement, they’re either buying fake followers or they’re not creating content that resonates with their audience. The rule of thumb is that accounts should have at least a 10% engagement per post.
  • Following Lots Of Accounts: Bots are usually set up to follow and automatically like other users. If they’re following thousands of people, chances are it’s a fake account.
  • New Account: Real influencers have likely had an Instagram account for years. They didn’t just start three months ago, post six times, and magically have 20k followers. If an account is relatively new, and has a sizable number of followers, they’re probably not a real influencer.

 Companies cannot fall prey to these fakers this year. ***If you want to organize your brand influencer program, hire me to help you develop and lay out a mutually-beneficial program for both companies and influencers.***

3) Beware of the Organic Reach Slump

One social media prediction for 2018 is the slump of organic reach on Instagram. This could be brought about by shadowbanning and also the shift to prioritizing posts that utilize Instagram ads, all thanks to the ever-changing Instagram algorithm.

Later says the following, “But if you want to maintain high engagement and reach on Instagram in 2018, you’ll need to get friendly with Instagram advertising.”

It added the following:

Organic reach on Instagram won’t disappear in 2018, but it will become a lot harder to achieve high engagement without any paid support or strategy.

If your company already has a large, engaged following, you should still have the same high-performing insights (reach, impressions, engagement, etc.). However, many of the leading social media experts recommend companies with Instagram for Business accounts to boost individual IG posts or invest in an Instagram Ads strategy. To map out your ad campaign, go here.

Have questions about maximizing your presence on Instagram or need help identifying brand influencers for your outdoor company? Let’s get in touch!


As always, I recommend you follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube to stay in the loop with my musings. Subscribe to my newsletter–now LIVE. Chime in below with your comments! Am I off-mark or on-target? Let me know!


Gabriella Hoffman

Media Strategist

ReelCamo Girl Pro Staff

D.C. Correspondent, The Resurgent

Contributor, The Hill


Facebook: facebook.com/TheGabbyHoffman

Twitter: @Gabby_Hoffman

Instagram: @Gabriella_Hoffman


 ReelCamo Girl is a lifestyle brand focused on ladies who love the outdoors.There is a growing need for a place for women to share  their outdoor experiences, as well as an interest in clean eating and  self-sufficiency. Through our website and social media networks, we  offer a safe place where the ladies can share their pictures, stories, wild  game and fish recipes, and news articles about conservation and  hunting perspectives.

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