Cultivating Community with Camping With Dogs’ Instagram Campaign

The Goal

Believe us when we say everyone loves double-tapping on an adorable dog photo with a short, clever caption. But recently, we’ve seen some quality engagement on Instagram posts with real, thought-provoking captions that max out the entire character limit. It’s longer captions like these that really resonate with loyal fans, but also rewards them with valuable content.

As our team has seen when supporting Camping With Dogs’ social growth, one of the greatest opportunities for CWD is engaging with its online community. This community group of outdoorsy dog owners all have one thing in common: They love their dogs. And Camping With Dogs’ mission is to inspire people to explore the world with their pup. So, we created an Instagram campaign that would give people a space to tell their dog’s story. Thus, #MyDogStory was born. 

An image of a girl wearing a Camping With Dogs t-shirt and smiling with her dog.

Turning the Idea into a Campaign

To launch #MyDogStory, CWD published the below post, encouraging followers to take some time to share their dog story. This post became one of our top posts of 2020 with approximately 19K likes, 119 comments, 1,305 shares, and 399 saves.

To participate, users posted a photo of their dog on Instagram with the story in the caption. Whether it’s how they met their dog, their favorite adventure together, or how their pup changed their life, every dog owner has a unique experience to share. The posts included the hashtag #MyDogStory so the CWD community could learn more about each other and connect during a time of social isolation. 

However, it can be daunting to be vulnerable, especially on social media. So, the first #MyDogStory we shared was Ryan Carter’s, the founder of Camping With Dogs. 

Following that initial post, the stories came pouring in. We read about adoption successes, the struggles of losing a pet due to illness, and how having a dog can truly change your life.

View this post on Instagram

#MyDogStory – @indiegramz · As I sit here writing #MyDogStory on my 50th birthday, indie at my feet looking up with her sweet eyes. I can’t help to get lost in all our adventures from hiking in the North Cascades, to sunrise camping trips in Canada, or chilly swims in Alpine lakes. 8 years ago, Indie entered my life with the encouragement of my kids after losing our first dog Casey. Maybe they knew that I would need a companion to keep my mind off of them leaving for college, but what we all didn’t realize is how much Indie was going to change my life. After coming across @campingwithdogs, I was inspired to get back outside and explore. Indie has always been by my side, through every adventure, with only love and excitement. She pushed me to always say “yes” to new adventures, to new places and to new challenges (I can’t say no to that cute face). Indie is the best companion, and I look forward to many more adventures together. · Share your #MyDogStory by using the hashtag and tagging @campingwithdogs ?

A post shared by Camping With Dogs® (@campingwithdogs) on

The Results 

This campaign allowed us to generate high-quality user-generated content while strengthening and expanding  the CWD online community. Since the original campaign introduction post in February 2020, the #MyDogStory hashtag has been used almost 900 times, and we’ve gained more than 17K new followers, which is a 440% increase in growth compared to the previous time period. Additionally, online store sessions referred from Instagram increased by 1,756% since the launch of this campaign. 

The #MyDogStory campaign has also generated tons of content that has been repurposed for social posts, blog content, and a long-form video. If we had to sum up what made this campaign really “stick,” we’d attribute this campaign’s great engagement to the specific call to action that resonated with the CWD audience on a personal level. 

Your Turn!

If you are considering creating a highly-engaging social media campaign for your brand, here are a few things to think about:

  • What is the purpose of your campaign? Are you promoting an event, launching a new product, generating UGC, brand awareness?
  • What topic resonates with your audience?
  • What social channel will you use?
  • How will you track participation? Hashtags, tagged photos, mentions, submission link?
  • How can you make the most of this campaign? (Think: blogs, photo montages, etc.)
  • Does your campaign have a specific time period or can it continue on with your brand?

If you’re interested in creating a strategic campaign for your brand but don’t know where to start, reach out!