5 Innovative Startups Who Are Owning Their Social Space

For small-medium business owners who are just dipping their toe into the murky waters of marketing, getting to grips with social media management can feel like an overwhelming task.

If you’re struggling to understand how to use social media in a way that grows your audience, boosts engagement and drives traffic to your website, you’re not alone.

5 Innovative Startups Who Are Owning Their Social Space

One of the best ways to get better at something is to learn from those who are already doing it correctly. Of course, with social media there are few hard and fast rules about ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ but there are certain approaches that generally prove effective (and others less so).

Use the following examples to inspire your own social media plan for better business growth and engagement.

Cards Against Humanity

The irreverent card game Cards Against Humanity (CAH) is also known as the ‘party game for horrible people.’ Its image is one of silliness, notoriety and bold political incorrectness.

On Black Friday a year or so back, CAH did something rather unusual. They offered their customers nothing for something. The worst possible Black Friday deal, you’d think.

More than 14,000 people bought the game. That is, they bought nothing in exchange for $5.

Cards Against Humanity Marketing

The campaign launched on social media and was a massive success for the company. CAH’s customers found the whole thing hilarious.

News outlets were baffled and intrigued. All the attention and publicity made the company a considerable amount of money.

Finding a funny, innovative idea that matches the tone of your brand can work wonders for exposure.

In a separate campaign, Cards Against Humanity raised over $100,000 to dig a giant, pointless hole.


Action camera company, GoPro, is possibly one of the most successful non-celebrity brands currently doing the rounds on Instagram. As I write, GoPro has 12.1 million followers and receives hundreds of thousands of interactions on every post.


Because its content is some of the most exciting you will find.

GoPro Instagram Marketing

GoPro’s many photos and videos are, much of the time, user generated.

User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to show off your products without being directly promotional, and without investing the time or money into content development. Engaging content has a lot to do with how successful you can hope to be on social media, and if viewers can put themselves into the shoes of your existing customers, then all the better.

Sometimes, a product is so popular that it speaks for itself. But it doesn’t hurt to throw a skateboarding cat into the mix.


This clever subscription-based photo book service sold more than 1 million subscriptions in its first month alone.

How did it get so popular, so quickly? The answer is social media — video marketing, in particular.

In its 4-minute video first released back in October, a relatable ‘busy mom’ character voices the needs and desires of its primary customer persona, taking us through how the service works. At the same time, the humor of the writing and the delivery makes us forget we’re being sold to.

The video has amassed over 10 million views on YouTube and received countless shares on Facebook. The dedicated Facebook page currently has more than 200,000 likes. With its creative marketing, Chatbooks exploded onto the social media scene and did very well as a result, particularly on Facebook.


Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is a non-profit that offers free summer programs and after-school clubs for teen girls, with the aim of teaching them to code in a fun and supportive environment.

Their mantra goes: “Teach a girl to code & she’ll change the world.”

Girls Who Code does an excellent job of mixing up and experimenting with its social media posts (particularly on Facebook and Twitter) to keep its fans up-to-date and let supporters know what’s happening.

Girls Who Code Social Media Marketing

As well as keeping its followers in the loop, Girls Who Code also provides value in the form of events, job ads, discounts, games, videos and inspiration. It’s worth remembering that a lot of the time, people scroll through their social feeds looking for fun as well as fact.

Why not try coming up with a fun game or motivational strategy related to your niche to increase engagement?


BeardBrand is a good example of a small eCommerce business that has formed a distinctive and relatable tone of voice.

A niche beard oil store created with Shopify, BeardBrand is the best friend of the modern bearded man. It recently compiled a lengthy ‘100% biased’ article about why their beard oil is categorically the best there is.

BeardBrand Social Media Marketing

Beardband doesn’t shy away from the fact that this tweet is promotional. They own it.

Many companies will try to conceal their promotional marketing through some kind of creative veneer, but it’s important to remember that people will always see through it.

With so many brands striving to be the next big deal, sometimes all you need is to be real with your customers, and they will respect you for it.

Wrap Up

A good social media marketing campaign has the potential to reach millions of people, all across the globe.

The impact of your campaign depends heavily on the idea, its visual impact, and how it’s delivered – as well as timing, of course.

The best advice is to keep it simple. Know your audience back to front, understand what resonates with them and how best to make that all-important connection.

Selling with social media is a subtle art that is as much about providing interesting content as it is directly promoting your products or services. Take these examples as your inspiration, and ask yourself how you can stand out from the crowd today.

Need a hand? Join today for three free social media lessons that walk you through the process of establishing a practical social media strategy for your small business.


About the Author

Patrick Foster

Patrick Foster is a freelance eCommerce consultant at EcommerceTips.org, where he shares regular insight into the nuts and bolts of running an online business. Connect with Patrick on Twitter.

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