As more and more of our lives take place online, social media is becoming an increasingly important piece of the marketing equation for many companies. More traditional brewery teams may be tempted to put social media on the backburner — and it’s an understandable urge. Social media marketing can be confusing and overwhelming, and the benefits might not be immediately obvious. With the current staffing shortages making hiring new talent more challenging, it might not feel like the right time to invest in social media. But if you want to keep your brewery current, it’s vital that you have a coherent social media marketing strategy.
Benefits of Social Media for Breweries
Insight Into Your Customer Base
Social media is a great way to gain insight into your customer base. Which beers do they like the most? What type of branding do they find most appealing? Are they paying attention to your marketing? Social media can help you answer all these questions. Carlos Romero, who runs marketing for Royal Bliss Brewery, told us how he uses their Instagram to check out what resonates with their customers. One easy thing you can do is use the “Insights” tab within your Instagram Business profile to see how content is performing. From your profile (while logged in), tap the menu in the top-right corner then “Insights.”
Engagement is one of the most valuable yet elusive marketing concepts. Americans spend an average of two hours on social media every day, making it an effective way to get in front of customers. Engagement on social media, which means any way that a user interacts with your brand (a like, a comment, a share, etc.) can convert into sales via visits to a taproom or sales on an ecommerce site.
The information we remember best is that which we were most recently exposed to. If your customers notice frequent posts from your brewery on social media, it’s likely that you’ll be top-of-mind when they’re deciding where to grab a beer. For this reason, it’s a good idea to aim to post at least once per day on each platform. Posting more frequently boosts your visibility to followers.
Strengthen Brand Awareness
A consistent social media presence gives your brand a consistent presence across the internet. In today’s ever-virtual world, a brand without an online presence might as well not exist at all. If your social media presence is spotty or inconsistent, it may be working against you, especially when you’re competing for business with breweries that are more active online. Great Notion Brewery is a notable example of a brewery with a fantastic brand presence online; they sell 90% DTC through a fun app with hidden games and characters for each beer. Not all breweriesIf you don’t have the resources (or desire) to create an app or branded game, but consider revamping your online aesthetic and design style as a cost-effective alternative.
Improve Ecommerce Sales
If your brewery sells direct to consumer, your social media can drive leads to your ecommerce platform. Social media posts can prompt followers to leave social media and make a purchase. Great Notion promotes their character illustrations on their Instagram account, and those illustrations correspond to stories in their proprietary app. Convert engagement on social media to online sales by linking to your ecommerce site on your social platforms.
Trends change fast — faster than most brands can dream of keeping up. By the time something becomes popular and you’re working on engaging with it through your product, it’s probably already been replaced by the latest cool thing. Social media keeps your brewery’s finger on the pulse of what’s trendy, so you can keep innovating in ways that resonate with your customers. If you notice a certain TV show or movie blowing up online, you can tie that content in with your existing marketing to take advantage of public interest. Backcountry Brewing does this by naming beers after popular movies.
Make the Most of Limited Releases
Limited beer releases are a great way to boost sales and engage clients with your brand! Social media can help create hype and sell more limited release beers. Customers have a strong desire to take advantage of short-term deals like limited releases or discounts. Be sure to emphasize the time-sensitive nature of these deals in your posts to maximize effectiveness.
Influencers & Tourism
If you have a strong presence with your brewery social media, you’ll be well positioned to take advantage of a highly profitable form of marketing: influencer campaigns. Influencers are powerful because they connect with and sell to their audience based on pre-established trust. Breweries can run influencer marketing campaigns of any size and budget. Backcountry Brewing, for example, has had great success in working with micro-influencers — people with small but loyal followings who share photos and content in exchange for free branded swag or free beer. Their influencer program has helped drive sales by channeling local tourism to their brewery and promoting locally branded merchandise.
You might think you need a huge marketing budget or fantastic graphic design skills for your social media presence to connect with your audience. But that isn’t true. Brewery social media is already full of overly polished, manufactured corporate content. People like to see authenticity from the brands they care about. Ben Reeder, CMO of Backcountry Brewing, formerly owned and operated a media production company. In an interview, he stressed to us just how important authenticity is for their social media strategy. Even though they have the resources for high-quality video production and flawless graphics, some of their most popular content is video they shot on an iPhone. If you aren’t sure how to make your social media presence more authentic, try using simpler technology, doing less post-production, or passing the task off to a team member who is new at creating social content.
Super-Targeted Marketing Campaigns
We share so many details about our personal lives on social media. However ethically questionable it may be, that information is essentially for sale to any business that cares to advertise or promote content on social media. This means that you can run a very targeted advertising campaign on a shoestring budget, and it will still convert to clicks and sales. But in order to make quality promotional posts, you need an established, consistent brewery social media feed. Once you have a predictable social media feed, you can pay for small-scale advertisements on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. These ads can promote your beers to people who are likely to purchase them and drive traffic to your ecommerce site.
Stay in Touch With Your Community
Maybe you have relationships with distributors or individual customers, but do you understand your broader customer base? Do you know what they like about your brand, or why they choose your products? With social media, you can speak directly with your customers as a whole. That direct exposure is invaluable. You can stay engaged with your community on social media by running informal polls, creating Instagram stories, or setting up an informal competition to encourage your customers to post about your beers and tag you.
Understand Your Competition
Just as social media can give you insight into your consumer base, it can also help you scope out what other breweries are doing. It’s an easy way to see what kinds of beers other breweries are releasing, as well as the strategies they use to engage with their customers on social media. You can use this information to run targeted advertisements or experiment with your own social media strategy.
It’s challenging to run social media as a brewery. Current staffing shortages make matters worse, but you should try to find a dedicated marketing professional to amp up your social media efforts if you have room in your budget. If that’s not possible, it’s worth thinking outside of the box to find a solution. Make your social media collaborative — solicit ideas from every staff member on your team. Set a goal to post or share every single day and work on slowly building your following. Investing in your brewery’s social media can pay off in brand awareness and better sales!