Content Strategy
Social Media

How the Nelk Boys Utilized Their Fan Base to Build a Media Business Empire with Social Media Marketing

The Tribe
December 16, 2022

Who Are the Nelk Boys?

Ok, you are probably wondering who the hell the Nelk Boys are and how they have taken their social media marketing to the next level.

The Nelk Boys are a group of content creators in their 20s on YouTube that have dominated the target audience of Males between 16 and 25 years old with their social media marketing. They create YouTube videos about pranks, parties, vacations, fitness, crude humor, and an all-around fun chaotic lifestyle.

Their YouTube audience has allowed the Nelk Boys to branch into apparel, alcoholic beverages, non-fungible tokens, a podcast featuring prominent stars, and brand deals with colossal companies such as the UFC. From their start in 2010, the Nelk Boys have come a long way accumulating 7.6 million followers on their YouTube channel, as of November 2022, with views reaching as much as 49 million per video.

Now that is a massive following, but the real reason they succeeded is that they were able to generate $50 million in revenue from their apparel company Full Send in 2020 with this audience. They didn’t stop there though…

View this post on Instagram A post shared by NELK (@nelkboys)

What Makes the Nelk Boys Social Media Marketing Stand Out?

So, how were these guys in their 20s able to generate $50 million from a clothing brand off YouTube?

First, we have to identify the characteristics of the content they create. The Nelk Boys pride themselves on their authenticity. As the leader Kyle Forgeard has said “We were always real, we didn’t want to be fake for the camera.” This authenticity has not only attracted a huge fan base but has also helped protect them from the backlash of their edgy content.

On top of being authentic, the Nelk Boys also push the limits by creating shocking content that sometimes ends up with members being arrested in certain cases. They have become the “Bad Boys” of YouTube by creating pranks or skits that others are too afraid to attempt. By keeping the audience on the edge of their seats with thrilling content, the Nelk Boys can retain their audience's attention in an increasingly distracted world.

Scarcity is a characteristic that has helped generate the demand for Nelk Boys products like the Full Send clothing brand or their Happy Dad seltzers. Each release or “drop” emphasizes exclusivity and limited quantity, creating a sense of urgency that has led to their “drops” selling out in minutes.

Another characteristic that has led to their success was focusing on long-term plays. In 2020, YouTube demonetized their channel but the Nelk Boys didn’t seem to care. They abandoned YouTube monetization to keep creating the exciting content that helped build their brand. Instead of relying on advertisement income, they leaned on their apparel brand Full Send to generate income. Then things started to pick up.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by NELK (@nelkboys)

How Did the Nelk Boys Build a Business Empire?

With the cult-like fan base the Nelk Boys have created, they have been able to break into multiple markets. Instead of buying Lamborghinis or Yachts, the Nelk Boys used their earnings to open up long-term cash cow businesses. Without YouTube Ad Income, they needed a way to turn a profit.

So, they launched their clothing line Full Send with unorthodox designs that some would say are inappropriate. Their fan base couldn’t get enough of it. After the success of their clothing line, the Nelk Boys felt they could tackle an even bigger industry, so they launched their seltzer Happy Dad. With fan meet-ups and an emphasis on exclusivity, the Nelk Boys were able to sell out of every store that carried Happy Dad seltzers. Which led to more stores ordering Happy Dad seltzers with how fast they were flying off the shelves.

As the Nelk Boys grew Full Send and Happy Dad, they also launched the Full Send podcast featuring interviews of stars that talk shows couldn’t even land interviews with. Again, they kept promoting the exclusivity of the interviews they were filming. They also decided to launch a supplement brand as well called Full Send Supplements.

Each of these businesses used its cult-like fanbase to promote the brands and to sell out quickly at the launch to create that sense of urgency. By creating their ecosystem of products and subscriptions, the Nelk Boys are not only able to sell videos, seltzers, or clothes, but they can sell their target audience a lifestyle they all yearn for. Don’t sell your audience a product or a service, sell them a lifestyle that they want to be a part of!

View this post on Instagram A post shared by NELK (@nelkboys)

So, keep in mind as you plan out your social media marketing efforts for 2023, be authentic, challenge the status quo, create a sense of urgency with your product/service, create a lifestyle for your audience, and focus on the long-term plays. Here at Tribu, we believe in social media marketing that doesn’t pollute the internet and in nurturing brands that truly resonate with the human heart. To learn how we can help elevate your brand, schedule a free consultation! Plus read our latest blog to learn how to advertise in the post-pandemic era.


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