If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s just one place you need to go — online.

And if that’s not a space you know how to sell in, try turning your attention to a group that’s mastered life online: millennials. This generation — comprised of people born between 1981 and 1996 — may not have spent their whole lives in a social-media world, but coming of age alongside tech giants like Facebook and Twitter sure has given them an edge.

The millennial women entrepreneurs featured below — some of them famous, and all of them successful — have turned to their digital upbringings for growth strategies. Read on to find out how the founders of these four photo-ready businesses use social media to expand their empires, and what some of them learned about their customers along the way.

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1. Emily Weiss
Founder, Glossier
Glossier began in 2010 as a lifestyle blog managed by Emily Weiss. Today, the makeup company has nearly 2 million Instagram followers. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Glossier began in 2010 as a lifestyle blog managed by Emily Weiss. Today, the makeup company has nearly 2 million Instagram followers. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The company began in 2010 as a lifestyle blog managed by Weiss. In 2014, she launched her makeup line. Today, the company has nearly 2 million Instagram followers (as well as 318,000 on Facebook and 101,000 on Twitter). It grew quickly by directly targeting social-media-savvy millennials and reaching them through aesthetically pleasing advertisements. Weiss also credits her attention to personal needs by both making products based on customers’ comments, then responding to each direct message the company gets.

2.  Elizabeth Rees
Founder, Chasing Paper

Rees’ business, which makes and sells removable wallpaper, benefits from having a product that’s all about aesthetics. The company Instagram account now boasts over 152,000 followers, while on Facebook, it has 23,000 fans. In a 2018 interview, Rees attributed this to her employees’ knack for sharing “polished and aspirational” content that gets customers thinking about how to craft their dream homes. In addition to gaining customers, she says online interactions have also opened her eyes to the myriad ways in which her products are used.

3. Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss
Co-founders, Rent the Runway
Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman said the company is rushing to fix problems with orders and deliveries. (TechCrunch/Flickr)

Social media has always played a key part in Rent the Runway’s outreach strategy — the company itself, has scores of followers (52,000 on Twitter, 354,000 on Instagram and 767,000 on Facebook, to be specific). But Rent the Runway also heavily encourages its customers to share photos of themselves rocking their rented party best on their own social media accounts, which in turn helps spread the word about who Rent the Runway is and what it does.

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4. Melody McCloskey
Founder, StyleSeat

Today, over 219,000 Facebook fans, 32,000 Instagram followers and 14,000 Twitter followers interact with this beauty appointment booking site’s healthy mix of salon shots and memes. But this company’s social media presence is about more than engaging customers in fun and interactive ways — StyleSeat is directly growing the business by giving stylists an online forum to share their work, and customers a chance to easily preview the services they seek.

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