5 DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) Brands Crushing It On Social Media

By October 6, 2020September 22nd, 2022Content marketing
Chewy - DTC (Direct-to-consumer) Brands | Metric DS

When it comes to Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands, social media can make or break a company.

In fact, over 61% of surveyed DTC brands say that social media is their greatest customer acquisition channel.

DTC brands are expected to grow by over 24% by the end of 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of the industry.

While it is well known that it is challenging to build a loyal following on social media, some DTC brands are absolutely crushing it and seeing higher engagement than some well-known industry titans.

1. ThirdLove

ThirdLove is a lingerie start-up company that uses data and technology to create an exceptional user-experience.

The company focuses on individuals who want beautiful, comfortable lingerie without supporting Victoria Secret’s and other companies who alienate certain body types.

They align their messaging to connect with their audience and their social campaigns are driven by authenticity.

Rather than showcasing models, ThirdLove uses images of “real” women who are comfortable and perfectly fit in their lingerie.

One of their Instagram posts perfectly showcases the love-hate relationship ThirdLove has with Victoria’s Secret.

View this post on Instagram

New York Times Sunday, full page letter from @heidi to @victoriassecret – Dear Victoria’s Secret, I was appalled when I saw the demeaning comments about women your Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, made to Vogue last week. As hard as it is to believe, he said the following: “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.” “It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.” I’ve read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I’m even angrier. How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company — let alone one that claims to be for women — make such shocking, derogatory statements? You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women. But at ThirdLove, we think beyond, as you said, a “42-minute entertainment special.” Your show may be a “fantasy” but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country. Haven’t we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles? It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide. We’re done with pretending certain sizes don’t exist or aren’t important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend. I founded ThirdLove five years ago because it was time to create a better option. ThirdLove is the antithesis of Victoria’s Secret. We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm. Let’s listen to women. Let’s respect their intelligence. Let’s exceed their expectations. Let women define themselves. As you said Ed, “We’re nobody’s ThirdLove, we’re their first love.” We are flattered for the mention, but let me be clear: we may not have been a woman’s first love but we will be her last. To all women everywhere, we see you, and we hear you. Your reality is enough. To each, her own. -Heidi @heidi

A post shared by ThirdLove (@thirdlove) on

Key Insights

  • Focus on customer pain-points first to create and maintain a strong relationship with potential customers.
  • Stay authentic to your brand and align your messaging to meet the needs of your customers.
  • A brand fight online can be viable and help gain more followers, but this is only a good option if you already have a stable and loyal following.

2. Away

While travel luggage isn’t typically the product you would expect to have an emotional connection with, Away focuses their social media strategy on just that.

The company designs their travel products to be fashionable and easy to identify on the luggage belt at your final destination.

However, the company wants to do more than just create luggage. They want to create relationships with their customers.

Away could spend many resources on models using their products, but they don’t.

Instead, their social media is mostly user-generated content.

From submitted photos to influencer’s travel tips, Away’s social media platforms build connections with each user and encourage users to share their own photos.

Even stars like Serena Williams have been spotted taking a selfie with her Away products and sharing them online. You can get a better idea of their user-generated content on their Instagram profile.

Key Insights

  • While products are important, connections on social media platforms can be more important to fueling growth.
  • User-generated content can help new followers relate to the product more than an image from a professional photoshoot.

3. Glossier

Glossier is a marketing success story most brands only dream of achieving.

A former Vogue fashion assistant turned her personal, amatuer blog into a successful millennial beauty brand.

Using the only available tools at her disposal, which included a smartphone and her story, Emilie Weiss created a community of followers that trusted what she had to say.

Her pictures were not professional and didn’t have any Photoshop retouches, which helped build a sense of authenticity.

Even once her product was created and launched, Emilie regularly featured her competitors on her social media posts.

Rather than fearing the competition, she sees them as friends working together to help everyone feel better in their own skin.

This non-competitive tone helped her grow Glossier to over 2.8 million followers on Instagram.

Key Insights

  • Success can come from even small ideas. A blog is a great way to build a loyal fanbase before creating a new product or service.
  • Be genuine and authentic. Build a relationship with your followers that is based on trust and respect.

4. Warby Parker

New glasses can be scary. Warby Parker transformed the way consumers buy new glasses by offering a free at-home trial.

Many other companies had tried similar approaches, but Warby Parker focused on telling stories that resonated with their audience and by adding a specific call-to-action and hashtag to the end of every post #WarbyHomeTryOn.

Through their consistent high-quality storytelling and user-generated content, Warby Parker continues to grow their DTC brand faster than the founders ever thought possible.

Key Insights

  • Your customers should be your greatest ambassadors. Use their content and give them an easy hashtag to add to their own posts.
  • Use technology to your advantage. Warby Parker offers numerous ways to “try on” the glasses before deciding on the five frames that will be sent out.

5. Rothy’s

A large population of the developed world cares about sustainability and corporate responsibility.

With the latest advancements in 3D technology, Rothy’s is combining this tech with marine plastic to create fashionable shoes and bags.

Originally from San Francisco, the creators of Rothy’s were deep rooted into the issues surrounding marine pollution.

They wanted to make a difference while also tapping into the shoe market.

By leveraging proprietary technology and a passion for changing the world, Rothy’s became a vocal player in the market.

Furthermore, Rothy’s is committed to connect with their female, millennial audience through their social media efforts.

To do so, the company focuses on showcasing real women entrepreneurs wearing their shoes and speaking about national and international issues.

Key Insights

  • Your story needs to fit both your brand and your audience. Otherwise, your messaging will not create the engagement you desire.
  • Keep your branding in mind, including your tone of voice, vocabulary, and visual choices.

Bonus: Chewy

Chewy is a major online retailer focusing on pet care products. These range from food and treats to supplements and toys.

One of the crucial insights that pet food companies and retailers have discovered is that people who own cats and dogs do not see themselves as owners, but rather as parents.

This emotional bond between a pet-parent and their pet is the ideal foundation to build an authentic customer experience.

Chewy uses the #PetsBringUsTogether hashtag to spark conversations on social media and to invite users to share their photos of their pets.

Chewy’s social media team regularly shares some of the best photos on their official Instagram profile.

Key Insights

  • Find what your audiences loves
  • Create opportunities for people to share photos and videos of their experience with your product
  • Make sure your packaging tells your brand story and can easily be featured in your or your users’ content

The main takeaway

DTC brands have the ability to skip the brick-and-mortar middleman and get straight to the consumer.

But it’s not easy.

To create a loyal customer base, brands need to focus on great storytelling, a compelling visual identity and on being authentic.

Kristin Stoyanov

Kris is digital marketing professional with over 15 years worth of experience. At Metric DS, he helps B2B and B2C brands reach their business results.