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3 Proven Methods Brands Like Glossier Use to Grow Their Social Media Impact Webby Awards executive director Claire Graves recommends taking a page out of Gritty and Glossier's book to create a more powerful social media footprint.

By Nina Zipkin

entrepreneur daily
Courtesy of Claire Graves

As you grow your business you want to meet your customers where they are, and that means creating an online presence that is unmistakably you. When brands try to contort themselves into something they are not, the results can range from awkward to tone-deaf. So what can you learn from the brands that are doing something right?

Since 1996, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) has honored excellence on the internet with The Webby Awards. And this year, Claire Graves, the Executive Director of the awards and says that there was a 30 percent increase in the work entered into the social media category.

Graves shared some of the winners who were most effective on social media this year, and some of her biggest takeaways from their success.

The 23rd annual Webby Awards will take place on May 13th, hosted by Jenny Slate.

Build authentic relationships

Graves cited Emily Weiss, the 34-year-old founder and CEO of cosmetics company Glossier who won the Webby for "Entrepreneur of the Year" as a prime example of someone using their platform to develop a community and create an open line of communication.

"She uses social media as kind of like a powerful listening tool to hear customers feedback and they use that feedback for new product lines and product improvements as well," said Graves.

Related: How Glossier Hacked Social Media to Build A Cult-Like Following

Show people what is possible

The New York Public Library won a social award for the "Best Use of Stories" with their Insta Novel campaign, which aimed to give readers an "immersive" and unexpected reading experience with Instagram for iconic books like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Metamorphosis, and in doing so reframed how the platform can be utilized.

"They are just using stories in a totally different way. And being really smart about it, using the platform for people to see how they can use it as well. It's a showcase of the platform," explained Graves.

Lean into what makes you different

There really could only be one winner this year for the "Social: Athletes and Sports Persons" category -- the Philadelphia Flyers' orange, chaotic and lovably viral mascot Gritty. Created by Brian Allen and his company Flyland Designs with David Raymond, who was the first person to be the Phillie Phanatic, the mascot quickly established an attitude all its own that has resonated with fans.

"Everything he does is done with social media in mind. One of the things that he did when he came out for the first time was he took a huge spill on the ice which turned into a really big viral moment," said Graves. "He is designed for social media, he looks like he belongs on social media."

Related: 5 Smart Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business in 2019

Having spent the last eight years at the helm of the awards, Graves says looking ahead, she sees social media as the place where brands will be aiming to make an impact.

"We saw huge growth in social media this year. Brands are able to experiment with those platforms easily to see what their audience responds to and then continue to build a dialogue with their audience as well," said Graves. "I think that it's where brands are spending their budget. They used to create microsites and for the last few years, they were making a lot of videos for Youtube or for their own platforms. But now they are putting budget where their audiences are, and where their audiences are responding.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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