6 Examples of Brands Growing Organically Using Social Media
While social media is increasingly pay to play, there are still brands that are killing it on the major platforms without relying on ad spend alone.
It’s no secret that social media is becoming more and more “pay to play.”
These same brands cite social media as the most effective avenue to convert customers and drive repeat business.
But while paid social is an effective way to grow your social presence and generate leads, it’s certainly not the only way.
Besides, all brands should understand what effective, organic (think: not paid) social media looks like.
Doing so can help you fill in the gaps between your paid promotions and better understand the best practices of social at large.
Below we’ve broken down six totally different brands who’ve managed to build their social followings without relying solely on ads or name recognition.
1. Black Milk Clothing
Simply put, Black Milk Clothing has built a massive and rabid fan-base through consistent community engagement.
The brand managed to get in on the ground floor of the user-generated content craze, encouraging their customers to tag and show off their latest fits years before it was common practice.
But even today Black Milk’s content strategy is still centered around engaging with customers. Nailing down a sassy but distinct brand voice, the brand regularly goes back-and-forth with customers to answer questions, re-gram content and compliment followers.
And an added bonus, the company’s eye-popping prints represent the exact type of products that get shared like crazy via social.
According to Black Milk themselves, growing organically on social boils down to three key elements: authenticity, storytelling and accessibility. Perhaps owner James Lillis puts it best:
“I cannot stress enough the importance of being genuine, being accessible, and of course storytelling. Give reasons for people to engage with you so they want to get to know you. I kind of go with the saying is the more you know, the more you care, so don’t be so closed up.”
2. Cow and the Moon
Spoiler alert: growing organically on social media doesn’t mean “going viral” or being a massive brand.
As long as you have a dedicated following that regularly engages with your content and promotions, you’re golden.
That’s why we decided to feature a local business on our list.
Cow and the Moon manages to promote their mouth-watering offerings via photos on Facebook and Instagram. By cross-posting between both networks, they’re able to reach thousands of followers across both platforms by double-dipping their content (ice cream pun-intended).
Doing so is a brilliant move for maximizing local tags and check-ins. This also enables Cow and the Moon to show off user-generated photos on their feed, too.
Beyond customer photos, the brand also curates positive feedback from their social reviews. Centering their social presence around satisfied customers, Cow and the Moon is a shining example of a local business that’s grown organically with a relatively simple social strategy.
YogaBar’s 20k followers across Facebook and Instagram didn’t happen by accident.
Like the examples above, the brand focuses heavily on audience engagement by encouraging visitors to tag and share their experiences.
YogaBar regularly shares in-studio snapshots to give potential visitors a taste of their studio. Through Facebook events, customers are regularly kept in the loop about upcoming classes and workshops happening in their neighborhood.
Perhaps most notable about YogaBar is their diverse content calendar.
Beyond studio photos, YogaBar regularly shares educational content in the form of pose instructions and recipes. Question-based posts, inspirational macros and instructor highlights are also sprinkled throughout their feed to keep followers on their toes.
Through fresh content and highlights via Instagram Stories, YogaBar manages to engage current followers and attract new customers simultaneously to keep their social presence growing.
4. Lick Your Phone
Lick Your Phone’s social presence is centered around content that you can’t help but want to share with your friends.
As highlighted in the brand’s interview with Hello Social, being aware of new apps and algorithm changes is key to staying relevant and share-worthy in an increasingly competitive social landscape.
Look no further than Lick Your Phone’s stylish photos and Stories-based content as a great example of how to keep up with the latest trends to entertain your followers.
The brand manages to stand out from the “food porn” crowd through their clever captions and a well-defined hashtag strategy to expand their reach.
The fact that Lick Your Phone publishes on a daily basis is another major point in their favor, driving home some key advice from co-founder Rita from our interview:
“Be persistent, be consistent, be everywhere.”
5. We Are Triibe
We Are Triibe has amassed a sizable following almost exclusively through visual content with a sort of minimalist vibe.
Primarily publishing to Instagram and Pinterest, the brand’s design-focused portfolio is a prime example of an “inspo feed” that attracts followers.
In addition to their own spaces, We Are Triibe shares other inspirational posts via Stories as well as their home design tips.
The brand’s straightforward, bold voice and calming content are almost the exact opposite of something like Lick Your Phone. The takeaway here is that growing a following is all about knowing what your audience wants regardless of what you might be selling.
A common thread between all of these brands so far is that they’re highly visual. Strive to win over followers organically through stylish photos that show off your own creative trademark versus bashing your fans with offer after offer.
While many SaaS brands tend to struggle on social media, Envato isn’t one of ‘em.
The brand has managed to boom across multiple channels without excessive use of ads or a “salesy” social presence.
Envato’s main strength, though? In short, the brand has managed to master various social platforms by using each one for a totally different purpose.
For example, Envato’s Instagram is dedicated to highlighting user creations through their #madewithenvato hashtag.
Meanwhile, the brand’s Facebook is brimming with design tips, resources and questions for customers.
On LinkedIn, Envato highlights its accolades and behind-the-scenes happenings. The brand also has a Twitter dedicated entirely to handling customer concerns.
The takeaway here is that there is no “single” way to use social media. Engagement might look totally different from one industry or platform to the next.
As long as you’re using any given platform to actually communicate with customers rather than just post “at” them, you’re on the right track.
And with that, we wrap up our list!
Ready to Build Up Your Social Presence Organically?
Listen: becoming a social media success story doesn't mean breaking the bank.
Whether by choice or due to a shoestring budget, it’s certainly possible to attract followers and customers “the old-fashioned way.”
By understanding how brands are growing their followings organically, you can squeeze more out of your social promotions (paid or otherwise).
From community-building to creating share-worthy content, hopefully these brands provided some much-needed inspiration for beefing up your organic social presence.