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DTC Social Media – How to Dissect Successful Strategies and Stand out

April 5, 2021
1 mins read
DTC Social Media – How to Dissect Successful Strategies and Stand out

You lead the direct-to-consumer, DTC, social media strategy for your brand. What do your social channels say about you?

Operating without a middle-man gives brands the freedom to market and sell as they wish, but there’s still much to consider.

In a customer-centric industry, your customer service needs to be impeccable, and you need to source high-quality products and make sure your marketing sells your brand in the way you’d like.

Understandably, many DTC brands struggle to prioritize social media. However, this limits the way you promote and distribute your offering. DTC brands find their success online. Neglecting your social strategy puts your brand at a disadvantage.

This post is relevant if you struggle to generate ROI from social or have no strategy at all.

You’ll learn how to use your brand’s social channels to tell a story, make an excellent first impression and drive success. We’ll go through three strategies top brands implement when running their social media channels for long-term success. We’ll look at three fitness industry brands using different techniques to show that any system can work - if implemented effectively.

  1. How brands use lesser-known social channels to beat the competition
  2. Why brands who use influencers have better quality, consistent content streams and attract new audiences
  3. The importance of diversifying content on social feeds.
  4. A social media review framework +(An example of it in action)

Let’s dive in.

The current DTC social media landscape

DTC brands understand the importance of consumer connection. Customers want to feel like they know the brand. It goes beyond transactions and should incorporate all online activity.

57% of consumer brand manufacturers embrace DTC. This is good for industry expansion, but as a result, it increases competition.

In the current landscape, having a product is not enough. Use your resources to cultivate and tell a compelling story. Content needs to resonate with consumers if you want a chance to compete for attention.

Shoppable Instagram feeds, Facebook, and now TikTok allows brands to sell within the platform. It’s a smart move to ensure users stay within the app. Brands that opt for this strategy generate an additional revenue stream.

Successful brands accept the limitations of DTC social media when used in silos just for sales. Social channels are effective in driving revenue but coming across too salesy alienates customers. Consumers want to learn what the brand stands for, not just what they sell.

Estimated US Social Commerce Sales

As social and commerce become one-and-the-same, there’s an opportunity for brands to build loyal followings and utilize this with the social commerce tools available. Brands should be mindful of using their social channels to ensure there’s enough balance between valuable and promotional content.

Overlooked tools could be the key to success

For many, the obvious step is to join the most popular social channels. After all, the more people who use the channel, the better chance of success, right?


In 2020, 85% of brands invested in channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. These Investments encourage growth and expansion but- it’s not always necessary when resources are scarce.

With less competition and higher-audience affinity, less-popular social networks present a lucrative offering.

Gymshark is an outstanding example of this strategy in action. The sports and wellness brand utilizes Spotify playlists to connect with its audience.

gymshark spotify social media strategy
DTC social media: Spotify

They understand their audiences’ active interest in exercise, and music extends that.

By creating playlists, Gymshark stays in front of the mind. They’re not selling or luring customers back to their website; they’re offering value across the entire social ecosystem. The more people who subscribe to a Spotify playlist, the more it’s shown on others suggested feeds.

Not only does it offer value for existing customers, but it’s also a set-and-play system for attracting new audiences too. In a recent survey, 34.6% of consumers find out about new brands online through social.

The opposite of the status quo

gymshark traffic strategy
Gymshark’s traffic source

It’s worthwhile noting that despite Gymshark’s huge social success - their strategy is not to use their channels to drive people to their website but instead to build a household name. Their traffic comes from direct or search, meaning people already know about Gymshark before landing on their site. Gymshark goes against the grain with their social strategy. Their focus is on providing value and building their brand-consumer relationship more than sending people to their website.

Gymshark’s Instagram account5.2m followers

By providing nothing but value on their social channels, they’ve amassed 5.2M followers and a loyal customer base.

DTC social media partnerships - working with influencers

Social, organic reach is declining while CPMs are rising. It’s harder and more expensive to get the attention of your potential customers.

Combat this by using influencers across the entire buyer’s funnel. Whether you’re looking to use social media to improve your customer acquisition or drive more revenue, apply the influencer model at any stage.

Shreddy and sister brand, TALA, is the work of influencer Grace Beverly.

Before starting her brand, she worked with brands as an influencer. This experience means she understands what both consumers and brands consider great content.

shreddy social media strategy
Shreddy - influencer owned brand

Two-thirds of consumers expect to connect with brands. Grace has a personal connection with her follower - many of whom are customers. Showing vulnerability creates fewer barriers to connection. Her content often talks about her products and her life with the trials of running multi-million dollar businesses.

Consumers want to feel like they’re buying from actual people. Work out the heart of your business story and use social media to tell the message.

tala social media strategy
Sportswear sustainable DTC

Diversifying dtc social media content across channels

52% of DTC brands experienced surges in demand since the start of the pandemic.

Sweaty Betty, a forward-thinking fitness brand, leveraged this by diversifying the content they create for social media. The expansion of the type of content they produce led to impressive growth during the global pandemic in 2020.

Pandemic social media strategy
Sweaty Betty’s growth during the pandemic

They have a 360degree approach to influencer marketing, integrating their brand into influencers’ world.

They run ‘traditional’ paid campaigns with micro and mid-tier influencers. However, they branched out to other content formats such as sponsored YouTube videos and podcasts and hosted events inviting experts in their relative fields (nutrition, wellness, exercise, yoga).

It’s not all content, though; they share discount codes to track where sales originate. Building long-term advocacy is crucial for measuring performance.

One size does not fit all for DTC social media

The saying holds. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. You cannot follow a template for what posts to write and hope to gain real traction. We’ve outlined some strategies within this post, but it doesn’t mean every brand would benefit from creating a branded Spotify account. Although niche platforms perform well for some brands, they won’t work for all.

Often brands join every new social channel as soon as they trend online. While so may find success with this strategy, most end up doing a lot, not well. Don’t spread your resources too thinly. Focus on developing existing DTC social media channels before moving on to the next.

As a DTC brand, standing out from the competition is imperative. Could your brand benefit from utilizing lesser-known social networks? Consider your audience: look at your data to see who they are and where they hang out online.

Making an assessment

Answer the following questions within your team to see where you could make adjustments to your social strategy. We’ve answered for the brands mentioned above to help you get started.

Right now, what benefits, if any, does social offer your brand?

  • Gymshark: social media allows them to solidify their brand recognition.
  • Shreddy: social media allows them to build a stronger connection with their customers
  • Sweaty Betty: social media allows them to experiment with content types and attract new audiences.

What resources (money/time) do you have for social media growth?
Without inside knowledge of the companies’ structure, it’s impossible to answer this accurately. However, we can assess each company's considerations to ensure their strategies align with their own goals and brand image.

Qualitative questions
When making any assessment, a mixture of qualitative and quantitive data can help build a realistic view of the current state. Answer these questions within your team to build a bigger picture of where your social bottlenecks are:

  1. Have you set goals and KPIs for your social channels?
  2. Are you hitting your social media KPIs right now? If yes, can you push it further? If not, why?
  3. What brands online (competitors or not) do you admire? What is it about their approach that resonates with you?
  4. Without seeing your logo on your website or social channels - could a consumer match your social channel with your website?
  5. What types of content perform best for you right now?

Final thoughts DTC social media

It’s no surprise brands with a solid social presence in line with the rest of their business thrive in the direct-to-consumer landscape.

Build your social presence and consider what social means for your brand, what platforms your audience uses, and where you can add value - through education, entertaining, or efficiency.

To succeed in the social-first, digital world, consider utilizing strategies such as lesser-known social channels, widening reach with influencer partnerships, and leverage social channel’s capabilities to maximize your impact.

Diversifying the way you do social media helps you stand out in a growing market that’s becoming saturated across all niches.

What successful social strategies have you utilized or seen?