Social Media Strategy

Selling a dream: A social media audit of Den Outdoors

Den is a fairly new small home architecture company that sells plans, kits, and pre-fab houses. Their aesthetic is a beautiful mix between simple farmhouse or Scandinavian design and modern architecture.

The company features a manifesto which states “Den began because we know that building a cabin changes who you are, having a cabin changes how you live and sharing a cabin changes how you engage with others. Today, we serve a diverse global community of dreamers, DIYers, and doers who are as enthusiastic as we are about bringing the outdoors in.” Part of Den’s manifesto also includes their main beliefs or tenets:

  • We live in a natural world
  • We are custodians of the land
  • The woods are open to all
  • We can’t escape the present

Den is a modern company that truly understands marketing its product in the digital age. Values based companies who understand the importance of “human-centric marketing where brands behave like humans treating customers like friends” (Quesenberry, 2021). Their website features language about how their product will “help you feel better, live simpler, and dream bigger by erasing what-ifs and guiding you towards the infinite possibilities of the now.” Part home builders, part dream fulfillers, Den understands how to talk to their customers.

We help you feel better, live simpler, and dream bigger by erasing what-ifs and guiding you towards the infinite possibilities of the now.

Den Outdoors Website, 2021

Their grassroots, help, friendly tone goes beyond their website and into their social media. I follow Den on Instagram and find their posts to be the thing daydreams are made of. Beautiful photos along with quick, pleasant comments about how this, too, could be yours with a little help from your friends at Den. As a fan of the brand who learned about it through Instagram, I was interested in finding out what the rest of their social media presence looks like. While the Den social media does a lot of things well, it is also facing some glaring issues. This audit will touch on the four platforms they use: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn and discuss some challenges and opportunities for improvement the brand could institute.

Den Outdoors Social Media Audit

Instagram

Instagram is by-far the company’s best utilized social platform with around 40,000 followers. The company averages about 3.5 posts per week, generally posting Monday – Friday. They utilize mainly photos of finished Den cabins, but sometimes include slide shows or even video of cabins in the process of being built. Their content includes a mix of fun captions including “If you need us we’ll be here all summer” and more thorough captions including a checklist of to-dos when building a cabin and info on what types of appliances they recommend for their small kitchens. The posts retain the fun, helpful, anyone-can-build-a-cabin-with-our-help feel of the brand. They are also very responsive through Instagram, often responding to questions within the comments or directing people to more information. Hashtags are utilized based on the topic of the post but only use #denoutdoors regularly. Not all posts include hashtags.

Informational content provided on IG
Fun, quippy, helpful quotes

Recommendations:

  • Improve hashtag usage. Choose 2-3 hashtags to include on every post (#cabinlife #moderncabin) and 2-3 individualized hashtags based on the topic of the post. Do not use more than 5-7 hashtags per post.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the second social link that you can find on the company’s website along with Instagram. Den only has 591 followers on Pinterest, although they have more than 250k monthly views. Finding their site from the search was difficult and I only found them after searching “A-Frame Cabin Kit Den.” Once on the Den page, you will find several articles that lead you back to the website to buy cabin plans. The information is simply pinned to Pinterest, not optimized for the site. The post for the Alpine 2.1 – Complete Pkg. (All Files) cuts off the description and doesn’t really give the viewer much of a reason to keep looking.

Information taken directly from website cuts off. Doesn’t tell the Den Story.

Recommendations:

  • Create pins that are optimized for Pinterest instead of simply sharing website information
  • Use Pinterest to tell the story of Den – how the company can help buyers build their dreams
  • Share blog articles, especially DIY focused

Facebook

I was surprised that the website didn’t include a link to Facebook. Once I found their Facebook page I understood why – it feels like a total afterthought. Facebook does not have any original content – simply images shared from Instagram with the same or similar captions. The images are not sized correctly for Facebook. The page only has 1,600 followers and the photos generally receive less than 25 likes. The company’s attitude toward engagement with customers does not follow through to Facebook with many comments and questions going unanswered.

A near word-for-word share from Instagram, these images aren’t sized correctly for Facebook.

Recommendations:

  • With 69% of the U.S. population on Facebook (Pew Research Center, 2021), the company would certainly benefit from an upgrade to their account.
  • Create specific content, different than IG, if possible, for Facebook.
  • Increase followers and reviews on Facebook page

LinkedIn

Den has a LinkedIn page with 60 followers and no posts. My recommendation would be to remove the LinkedIn company page and focus on growing the Facebook presence. As a one-year-old B2C company with 2-10 employees, LinkedIn is not the right avenue to pursue currently.


Den just celebrated one year as a company. In that time, they have scaled their offerings from a few tiny house plans to plans, kits, and pre-fab homes from 150 – 1500 square feet. They have managed to find a niche market for modern, high quality small homes (with HUGE bathrooms). The company is still very small and should therefore continue to focus on just a few social media platforms – namely continuing their good work on Instagram and growing their presence on Facebook. As a Den brand loyalist, I believe they have a chance to continue their climb through sustaining their holistic, friendly, helpful social media presence on Instagram and carrying it through to Facebook with varied offerings.


Pew Research Center. (2021, June 1). 10 facts about Americans and Facebook. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/06/01/facts-about-americans-and-facebook/

Quesenberry, K. A. (2021). Social media strategy : Marketing, advertising, and public relations in the consumer revolution. Rowman & Littlefield.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s