As we began the new decade, like every year people advocated resolutions for travel, exercise, and more. Throughout the year, however, the pandemic has affected where we go, who we see, and how we entertain and take care of ourselves.
As travel and tourism have declined due to the pandemic, people are leaning towards activities and excursions near their home. While indoor activities are limited due to the risk, rather than staying penned in, people embrace and explore the great outdoors.
Using Sprout’s social listening platform, we gathered insights from recent conversations about outdoor activities to find out which people participate in the most, how they feel about those activities, and which brands are responding to them. We analyzed over 103,200 tweets between October 10th and November 17th and determined that it’s inside to be outside.
Some of the most talked about outdoor activities right now are:
- Golfing – 27,985 messages
- Camping – 27,035 messages
- Hiking – 16,527 messages
- Cycling and Cycling – 13,592 Messages
- Fishing – 13,256 messages
As part of these activities, we found certain topics and trends that kept cropping up.
Weekend warriors come out into the open
Most adults work at least five days a week to get the most of their weekends. According to our data, over 85,500 individual writers tweeted about their plans to spend part of their weekend outside.
I just had my first therapy session and my therapist prescribed me a mandatory fishing weekend on the lake with the boys and a 24 pack of Coors! 🎣🍻😂
– Lil Sasquatch (@ lilsasquatch66) October 22, 2020
Travel and recreational publications, weather outlets, national parks, and local governments offer particularly useful content for people looking for guidance on where to go and what to do. For those interested in hiking, the outdoor activity with the highest positive sentiment on Twitter (55% positive, 31% neutral, 14% negative), content from these types of brands can help them plan a day trip, discover new trails and find the most picturesque landscapes.
Wow – we see a perfect autumn weekend with sunny days and cold, clear nights. Ideal for a hike in local parks or a trip to some of our western mountains where the fall color will be near the summit. Here is our detailed DMV foliage report: https://t.co/0iD1iLQJ1M
– Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) October 16, 2020
Fresh air is good for the body and mind
Another reason people explore nature is because it is good for the body, mind, and spirit. When looking at conversations that mentioned mental health, self-care, and stress related to outdoor activities, we found that 66% of the messages indicated a positive mood.
World Mental Health Day (October 10th) and Stress Awareness Week (November 2-6) both took place within the time frame we considered, and many people spent them outside to honor those days. This type of awareness vacation offers brands a chance to engage with their audience while expressing the mental health benefits of outdoor activities.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in Great Britain organizes world-renowned golf tournaments and works with the United States Golf Association to regulate the sport worldwide. On World Mental Health Day 2020, they shared a health report with their worldwide audience to educate them about the physical and mental benefits of exercise.
To raise awareness of stress levels, Cycling UK, a charity for cyclists, encouraged bikers to take to the streets and provided bike paths for inspiration.
Go out for one thing
Another common theme that we found among the top activities was the combined element of community participation and climate protection. 2020 was a critical year for the climate, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and six in ten Americans are now either “alarmed” or “concerned” about climate change. In our own research on social media activism, we found that 58% of consumers buy from a brand when it shares values. If your brand cares about climate change, let your followers know.
When we applied keyword filters on the topic of “climate change” on the listening topic, “local” was one of the most commonly assigned keywords, indicating to us that people are trying to make a difference in their own communities.
Naturally fitting outdoor lifestyles like Patagonia are using social networks to promote community climate initiatives and cleanups like this one on Broad Creek, South Carolina, that people kayak, walk, boat, or take can participate by bike.
On November 8th, help Patagonia Grantee @outsidefndn and the local community clean up Broad Creek by kayak, foot, boat, or bike. A limited number of free kayak rentals are available; Click to learn more.
– Patagonia (@patagonia) October 22, 2020
Trek Bicycles encourages people to choose their bike for transportation to reduce carbon emissions and help the planet. According to the brand, riding is climate protection and a gift to the planet. To build a bike community and measure the impact of their call to action, ask bikers to tag the brand on photos of their ride and use the hashtag #GoByBike.
“There’s never been a better time to get on a bike and take a ride – be it for important travel, exercise, venting off steam, or to reduce your personal carbon footprint,” said Haley Ludwick, social media manager at Trek Bicycle. “It is clear that collective action can drive change. Replacing trips by car, bus, train or subway with a bike ride can reduce emissions and have a positive impact on our environment. “
The #GoByBike campaign spans multiple platforms, but on Instagram alone, users have used the hashtag over 88,000 times. And with the added boost from paid social networks, the campaign hit 43,944,118 reach, making it a huge hit for both Trek and the climate.
Go out and explore
As we step into the colder months of the Northern Hemisphere it will be interesting to see if people retreat to the warmth of their homes or if they continue exploring and traveling a bit to enjoy outdoor activities. We’re not out of the woods with COVID-19, so staying in tune with your audience’s interests is important. Use social listening to keep up with the times.
Check out this piece that explains 40 different ways to use social listening or request a free Sprout Listening demo to learn more.