We interviewed Lindsay Stevens, creator of Outdoorsy Gals. The hashtag #outdoorsygals now has over 14 million views on TikTok, and has led to massive growth on both Instagram and Facebook. Lindsay’s experience is a case study on what TikTok can do for outdoor brands, so check out the video above that started it all, then read our interview to see how it’s changed her brand marketing (and entire life!).
What first got you to join TikTok?
My younger sister has marketing savvy and she told me to make a TikTok account! I had been trying to grow my brand on Instagram for a while and felt slow and tedious. My sister noticed people building businesses and communities from posting content on TikTok and convinced me to try it. Honestly, if she didn’t push me to join, I probably never would have! I joined at the start of quarantine, so since I had a lot of time on my hands, I committed to posting 1 video/day. I figured it would either go really well or be a huge flop, but I had so much time on my hands that it didn’t feel like a waste of time either way.
Then in December 2020, I was hired on by TikTok. They consulted me directly while I was on contract to post 4-5 videos/week for 3 months. Being on contract to create quality content for 3 months straight kept me disciplined, and the consistency in posting ultimately enabled me to grow an engaged audience.
How has Outdoorsy Gals grown since starting your account?
Outdoorsy Gals began because I made a TikTok looking for outdoorsy women to backpack with, and there were so many people who commented that I decided to create a community out of it! Since then, I’ve used my TikTok platform to spread the word about the Outdoorsy Gals community. A few of the videos about Outdoorsy Gals went viral since there is such a genuine need for community in the outdoors, and each time a video has gone viral, the group has grown by 15,000-30,000 members. I created the group about a year ago, and we’ve grown to around 82,000 members mostly thanks to TikTok!
What sort of content have you noticed most seems to connect and inspire audiences?
I notice that people love videos that either provide value or have an empowering message. For example, value is ‘here’s how to pick the perfect hiking boots!’ or ‘here’s a must-try road trip itinerary’ and an empowering message is ‘I solo hike all the time and you can too.’ There is so much content out there so it can be intimidating at times, but if your content is genuinely helping people reach their goals, that’s what ultimately builds a solid foundation for a community.
What are some negative aspects of TikTok marketing you’ve encountered?
To be completely honest, I haven’t encountered any negative aspects of TikTok marketing that I can think of. They compensate creators directly, and they make it easy for creators and brands to collaborate through their partnership portal! We’re in a really unique time where TikTok is still in its beginning stages and it’ll only continue to grow as a platform and marketing tool. It’s the equivalent of being ahead of the curve by marketing on Instagram 10 years ago. Now is the time to grow an audience, market your brand/product, and create engaging content.
What would you say is the most important thing to remember when posting on TikTok as an outdoor adventure/travel brand?
It’s so important to keep it authentic. There is a duality to the outdoors and adventure – sometimes it’s incredible and perfect, and other times you’re covered in mosquito bites or stuck on an airport floor overnight. Real is relatable, and on TikTok, people want to see it all – the good, the bad, the honest. In fact, some of my best-performing videos have been about my travel mishaps. I love that I feel like I can come exactly as I am when I post on TikTok, and I think that’s important for every adventure/travel brand to remember.
Another thing that’s important to remember when posting as an outdoor adventure brand is to make sure to mention Leave No Trace as often as possible. TikTok has a way of inspiring large audiences to do things, which is incredible, but if a hiking trail or travel destination goes viral, it’s our responsibility as creators to make sure that people understand leave no trace principles.