The Social Media Gambit: The Top 3 platforms you should be using
Social media…love it or hate it, it’s here to stay and it is an incredibly powerful tool for alcohol marketing when integrated properly into your overall programme.
Consumers choose to connect with you on social media because they identify with your brand on some level. Maybe they’ve been to your tap room or cellar door, maybe they drank your product on their honeymoon, or perhaps they just like your label. Either way, they want a piece of the action - to take a peek behind the curtain and get the inside scoop. Social media is an awesome way to bring your consumers into the fold and show them some love. When consumers feel connected to a brand they buy it, they drink it, they recommend it to others….fact.
If you’re new to running social media for your business it can feel rather daunting. Social media is a low cost marketing tool but it is high maintenance, and there are literally hundreds of platforms to choose from. The constant dialogue drains time and takes up headspace for those who manage it. You can’t be everywhere at once, so you have to make a choice about which platforms will deliver your brand story and messaging to its full potential. I get asked all the time which platforms alcohol brands should be on so I thought I’d make this the topic of my first article.
When it comes to alcohol marketing in New Zealand and Australia, I’d suggest three platforms - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It is worth noting that in different countries other platforms are worth considering. For example, if you were exporting to USA I’d probably ask you to think about Pinterest and YouTube; and if you were exporting to China you might consider WeChat. But let’s not get bogged down in export just yet, if you are starting out, it’ll just give you a sore head.
I know my friends will laugh at me if they read this because on my personal Facebook profile, I post maybe once a year if I’m lucky. However, when I’ve managed social media for businesses, I’ve posted twice a week on average on this platform. Why is Facebook so important? Well, for starters there are a whopping 1,871 million active users on Facebook as of January 2017 (SmartInsights.com). If you create connections with only 0.0001% of them that’s over 1800 people. Its actually not that difficult to build a community of 1800 people and if you are actively engaging with just 10% of them, that’s 180 consumers who you are turning into lovers and advocates for your brand worldwide. Its win win. Love it or hate it, Facebook remains the number one platform for your business. It’s simple to use, advertising (or boosting) is effective and can be targeted at a basic level. You can promote events and run brand promotions. It also works well to drive traffic to your website. Essentially, it’s a low cost way to extend your reach and increase the size of your community quickly and effectively.
Personally, I love Instagram. It’s very visual, you can be a bit more creative with content and it’s super easy to use. Facebook now owns Instagram and many of the features and advertising tools are shared with Facebook which makes Instagram a great platform for connecting and engaging with a larger audience. It is also a great way to easily connect with businesses, trade and industry people in an informal way. The drinks industry is very collaborative and I believe that consumers like to see and be a part of this collaboration. They love feeling they are part of the ‘team’ and why not – without them our brands wouldn’t exist. With 600 million active users and growing, you can’t go wrong with Instagram to promote your brand. Because of the way your Instagram page is laid out, its very important to ensure that your images are consistent with a similar look and feel. The imagery we choose tells the brand story in a visual way so if your Instagram page looks higgledy-piggledy, or looks unappealing, that’s the message our consumers receive about your brand as well. Subconsciously, if consumers find your brand messaging to be inconsistent, this feeds into how they think about your product. But on the flip side, if it is too 'same-same' people will get bored and disengaged with your feed so think about that too! The key out-take….Instagram is fun and engaging, you’re allowed to mix it up with content but ensure your images and content reflect the brand.
Twitter has been overtaken by Instagram in recent years in terms of active users (313 Million). I contemplated not including twitter as a must-have platform because I think in a few years I’ll be telling people not to worry about it and to focus your efforts on Instagram and Facebook. My gut also tells me that Pinterest might start to be a better tool for businesses so watch this space. But for the time being, Twitter remains a useful platform when it comes to marketing alcohol. Twitter is a great way to quickly share articles that you are interested in, have conversations with a group of like-minded people and create industry collaboration. In my opinion, Twitter works best in alcohol marketing if the person behind the tweets is someone ‘in the field’ rather than in an office (like the winemaker or brewer, or someone in the taproom or cellar door). It’s more authentic when tweets are attributed to an actual person rather than the brand as a whole – but sometimes this isn’t possible. The good thing with Twitter is that you can be a passive bystander rather than actually post or contribute. It’s completely acceptable to retweet interesting articles (which are posted on your feed) and not be bogged down with trying to tweet yourself. You won’t build a community as quickly if you are passive on Twitter but it’s a step in the right direction.
#4 LINKED IN
OK, I know I said there are only 3 platforms you need to be on but even if you don’t post or share on Linked In, at least take 5 minutes to set up your business profile so that people can check out your brand – they might even click through into your website or give you a call. 5 minutes….job done.
HELP! I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ALL OF THIS!
Look, I get it. Sometimes you don’t have time to manage 3 platforms, especially if you have other pressing commitments in the business – so if you only have time for one, which should you choose? My professional advice would be to choose Facebook simply because statistically you get the biggest bang for your buck and it is simple to run low cost campaigns through this platform. However, my personal advice is to be on the platform that you like the best - you’ll be happier to spend more time on it, you’ll engage with your consumers in a more meaningful way and you will therefore build a better, more connected community.
BUT, and it’s a big but, I would strongly recommend that whether you use all three platforms you set up profiles in each, even if you are not an active user. You never know when you might want to scale up your social media and you don’t want your handle to be taken.
And if you get stuck or don't have time - give me a call!
021 874 519.