Thanks to beer’s enduring appeal in our culture, there’s also more competition than ever. USA Today reported that in the United States alone, the number of craft breweries has nearly doubled since 2014.
How can breweries stand out in an increasingly competitive market?
Quality products, first and foremost.
Great marketing, second.
For fledgling breweries, the good news is that stellar marketing doesn’t necessarily require a big budget.
Here’s a guide to leveraging social media, one of the few free tools, and simultaneously one of the most powerful.
Keep these social media tips in mind when crafting your social media strategy and your marketing plan and watch your follower count roll in and your engagement stats rise.
Social media marketing tip one: Tell your brand story
Social media is a fantastic outlet for creativity and a good place to weave your brand story through photos, copy, video, and voice.
This isn’t something that’s achieved by one post, but over time, and means connecting your product to something much wider than the beer itself.
Mexican brand Corona understands the appeal of their beverage isn’t just the beer itself: a corona and lime brings to mind relaxation, sun, vacation, letting go.
They’ve fully embraced this as their brand, tying the image of plunging a fresh lime into a cold Corona to diving headfirst into the waters of a blue ocean.
Canadian beer brand Kokanee knows that an overall brand look can be as compelling. Each post contributes a solid identity: distinctly Canadian and northern, their brand photos send a message and create a community aesthetic without saying a word: this is an outdoorsy beer for adventurous explorers.
Tips for telling your brand story
- Think about what separates your product from others in the market, and try to focus on that.
- Everything will contribute to your brand’s story: not just your images, but the voice you use, the way you reply to your customers, your posting schedule, etc. A brand story and brand personality are closely interlinked.
- Pay attention to the language and words your target audience uses, and weave that into your posts and copy. It’ll make your audience feel like you’re part of their community.
Social media marketing tip two: Showcase Your Company’s People
Getting to know the people behind the logo is now a marketing stable! Staff profiles and Q&A’s are simple to do, but important and let your audience know that your company is made of people like them.
However, if you’re looking for something more than a profile or a staff photo, there are a few things you can try.
Sierra Nevada Brewery company, one of the most successful beer brands, has made sharing their team’s story creatively into an art form.
In one poignant Instagram post, they give a glimpse at their original story, without getting too nostalgic, by taking a photo of a notebook with scribbled recipes.
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In another, more recent post, their founder posted a screenshot of an amusing text exchange he had with another entrepreneur. It showed an ability to make fun of himself, as well as their work ethic and friendliness.
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Once our founder Ken Grossman got @pinthousebeer Joe to save his phone number, we could truly start our hazy collab. ? Who This Be IPA is a 6-hop beauty, stuffed with the freshest whole cones from Yakima, exclusively for the Hop Harvest Festival we’re hosting in Chico, CA on Saturday, Oct. 19. Hit the profile link for tix! #whothisbe #beerandpizzaday
Tips for showcasing the people behind the brand
- Staff profiles aren’t the only way to let people get to know your team. If you want, you can give them glimpses into old notebooks, fun company emails, or casual texts like the one above — sometimes, these say volumes more about us.
- If you do have staff profiles, make sure your photos are high quality and on brand. They don’t have to all be done in-studio, but it may be jarring if some of your profiles are LinkedIn profile photos in business suits, and others are on a beach.
Social media marketing tip three: Engage with People
The key word in social media is “social”.
People don’t log on to be spoken ‘at’, they go for an interactive experience, and your brand will get the most out of social media by catering to that need.
Magic Hat Brewing has earned itself a place on must-follow lists for its irreverent tweets, not only about its products, but also asking followers about their opinions of Lord of the Rings movies and what they’re up to.
Reminiscing about being a kid and sneaking kraft singles into the movies wyd?
— Magic Hat Brewing (@magichat) October 1, 2019
They’re not the only brand to strike gold by using Twitter as a semi-personal account. Wendy’s has amassed a cult following for its sassy tweets, and Sunny D went viral for having a mini-existential crisis online.
Your brand voice may not be this casual (or emotional), but there’s still much to learn from Magic Hat, Wendy’s and Sunny D. Audiences have had their fill of being spoken at. People far prefer interactive, relatable brands.
Tips for Engaging with Your Audience
- Interact with other brands too, but don’t bring them down! It doesn’t make your brand look good to bully others.
- Bots are good for some things, but not great for establishing a real, fun, sharp voice on social media. For that, to really stand out, you may need a human team.
- Not everyone you meet on social media will be nice, and how you respond to hostile, angry or dissatisfied customers will say more about your brand than almost any other interaction. Establish a plan for handling angry customers online and train your social media team.
Social media marketing tip four: Connect to a Cause
Just as social media users don’t only care about likes and clicks, beer drinkers don’t care solely about beer.
More and more, consumers care about the ethics behind the products they’re buying.
It’s worth the investment, on multiple levels, to put some of your efforts into giving back.
New Belgium Brewing Co. put meaning behind their message with their #FindingCommonGround campaign, which not only connect their brand to a wider cause, but work to raise $250,000 for charity.
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Whether you’re a wheeler, a biker, or just a beer drinker, we can all stand on common ground and stand up for public lands together. Visit the link in the bio and share the videos to make a donation to 6 non-profits who help to protect our public lands. Let’s start #findingcommonground.
Tips for connecting to causes:
- Your cause should be a long term commitment.
- You should be willing to dedicate your brand to your cause in promotion, in action, through volunteering, or through donations.
- It’s best if your cause connects with your target market somehow.
- Choosing a charity partner to align with can make this much easier and your impact much more powerful.
Social media tip marketing five: Partner with other brands
A beer’s better with friends. Likewise, a brand’s better in a partnership.
Consider doubling up your power for promotions with a brand that can amplify your message and sweeten your offer.
Take Budweiser, for example. In 2016, Budweiser teamed up with ride service Uber for a seasonal campaign to stop people from driving drunk. With a code, they could get one ride free (encouraging safe drinking practices, as well as introducing people to Uber), and promoting Budweiser as the carrier of the promotion.
As well as the print ad, the campaign went a step further, running a video ad with Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren delivering a withering, no-holds-barred lecture to any potential drunk drivers (while having a Budweiser).
Tips for partnerships:
- Partnerships are especially good for giveaways, allowing you to expand your offer and reach two different audiences.
- Find a brand aligned with your goals, and of similar size to get maximum value from a partnership.
Breweries have a product that is in demand, but they are working in an increasingly competitive market. Luckily, digital marketing allows them to stay ahead of the game through creative branding and audience engagement.
As a recap, here are some social media tips for breweries:
- Don’t neglect visual brand storytelling
- Showcase your company’s people
- Engage with People
- Connect to a Cause
- Partner with other Brands
Interested in learning more? Here’s some recommended reading from around our blog:
- 50 Amazing Social Media Marketing Ideas, Strategies & Tips
- 20 Clever Social Media Giveaway Ideas You Can Use Today