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  • Sheila Butler

One of the Best Instagram Accounts You’re Likely Not Following…Yet



I’ve never been to an Escape Room, but if it’s anything like my attempt to crawl out of bed daily, I doubt I’d be good at it. I know there are all sorts of good habits to start a day, like meditation or journaling. My day begins by reaching for my phone, bleary-eyed, and scrolling Instagram while horizontal.


Seeing happy pictures from friends, family, and colleagues of weekend fun, cute kids, and what’s for dinner is nice, but as I’m slowly awakening, there’s one account that will surely bring a smile to my face or make me laugh. It’s the National Park Service. Yep. I said it. My favorite Instagram account is @NationalParkService.


You’re not even sure what to think now, are you? Before you dismiss this, let me explain the brilliance in the posts by the National Park Service. The government-run agency, known for park ranger uniforms of green and gray and the famous flat hat, has evolved its brand to a level of coolness not easily attained by the government. I work with companies to build brand identities and transform brands for a living, and the National Park Service is flawlessly bringing its brand to life on our screens each day. Unlike the conservative tones of its uniforms, the National Park Service's Instagram posts are vivid, colorful, and bright.


Here are a few reasons why I believe it’s one of the best accounts on Instagram:


Stunning visuals: Instagram is the perfect social media vehicle to feature stunning visuals, whether photography or video, that capture the essence, the easy-to-miss details, enormity, and awe of the gorgeous and historic sites of our national parks. In marketing, often one of the biggest challenges is the lack of robust and ownable imagery to bring your brand to life. The National Park Service seems to have endless fantastic imagery to capture the attention of followers and fans.


Storytelling: Once drawn into each post with imagery, readers are immersed in rich content that artfully entertains as it educates. Did you know sea otters have pockets and use them to store rocks to smash open shellfish on their tummies or that September is an excellent month to see baby porcupines (porcupettes) in Glacier Bay National Park? We all know we're not supposed to feed wildlife. The recent Dateline-esque post about Barbara and Ken's stolen rental car by a well-fed squirrel is brilliant—Edutainment at its finest. And, yes, edutainment is a real word. Thank you, Oxford Dictionary.


Tone: Matt Turner, the exceptionally talented employee behind these fantastic posts, has created a unique style of voice that is conversational, witty, curious, and laugh-out-loud funny. From the nearly daily comments on posts clamoring for Matt to receive pay raises or a Pulitzer Prize, I’m not alone in knowing there’s something extraordinary at the National Park Service, including when Matt drafts a post.


Some of my favorite family vacation memories are visiting Glacier, Grand Tetons, and Yosemite, and I lived near Independence National Historical Park for nearly 20 years. It seems my life, until now, has been surrounded by and filled with our National Parks. Spanning more than 84 million acres, 425 national park sites in the United States tell the story of America. I’m delighted each morning to stay in bed a few minutes longer and learn something new about the magic and wonder of our parks and their inhabitants – like an adorable, smiling otter and its pockets.


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