If you have recently started or inherited a brewery, congratulations on being in the most awesome business ever. Seriously. But on top of producing beer and keeping happy customers coming back, you now also have to think about a solid, sustainable marketing strategy.
Where to start? By knowing your audience. In this case, a big chunk of your audience happens to the biggest user of social media today—adults 21-34. So, social media seems like a no-brainer. Best of all, social media is a two-way street. Unlike traditional advertising, you aren’t just selling, you’re engaging. You can connect with customers both existing and potential, and start an ongoing conversation— one you can “tap” into easily whenever you need to promote a new product, share some exciting news or even ask for feedback.
In fact, social media is an important tool that can help your business grow and thrive. But to really make it work, you need to be smart, consistent and focused. And you can start with your brand.
Know who you are (and who you aren’t.)
Craft beer fans place a lot of value on identity. Whether you call it branding or simply presenting yourself in a certain light, personality has a lot to do with the success of start-ups and long timers alike. That’s because the product can be very personal. Beer drinkers have their favorite beer, or their favorite style of beer. Some like to stick with what they know, others are always trying new things. Many are even educated about the brewing process itself and will be as discerning as wine connoisseurs in the 90s. They know a stout from a porter. Which is why it’s important that you always be authentic, and don’t try to be something you’re not. People will know. And it’s hard to make second impression.
Once you know who you are, take every opportunity to introduce yourselves.
Put a blog on your website. Use posts to show your personality, share expertise, explain the difference between a gooseneck and a grumbler … whatever you like. If you have a physical location for tours and tastings, talk about it. If you’re looking to get your product into more places, create a buzz. You can include keywords like your name, location and one of your labels to help searchers find you. Better yet, hire a Social media expert to optimize your blog and improve its reach.
Facebook is your friend.
Yes, your mom is on there, and she will probably like anything you post. But Facebook gives you the opportunity to share up-to-the minute brewery events and news, like special tastings or limited releases. Except for diehard fans and pub crawlers, people don’t always plan a visit ahead of time. Being active on Facebook lets you remind them you’re there, and they should be too. If you use Facebook Pay Per Click, which lets you target your messages geographically and by demographic, you get even better coverage.
Snapchat with the 21+ crowd.
Did you know over 100 million people use Snapchat every day to capture experiences in the moment? And with over 70% of those people under 34, Snapchat Ads will reach your target. Plus, sponsored geofilters are colorful, overlays that pop up when users snap from your location. You can create these with as little as a logo or your motto, a product name or even your address. Create a few fun options so users get a choice, and change them up often.
You can advertise on Instagram. But it remains a solid platform for generating organic buzz as well. Not to mention the new video feature. Here are few tips:
- Make your location Instagram-worthy. Photograph your product, as well as your brew space, décor, growler labels, menus, anything that’s sharable.
- Create a profile on Instagram with your hours and other information, while building a library of photos.
- Tag you’re it. Include hashtags in your posts to help users find you. And geotags to attract people who happen to be nearby.
- Post deals, giveaways or pop-up tastings just for your followers — which will build loyalty and encourage more followers.
- Like and share user content. Let’s face it, your product, or your business, may not ever look better than in a user generated photo on Instagram. Instagrammers pride themselves on capturing the experience for their own followers.
Do your community service.
Join your local beer communities. Craft brew amateurs and aficionados. These people can be your biggest fans, or your toughest critics. Get to know them by joining online groups and visiting sites and forums where they connect. You could also like and follow other brewers and brew pubs in the area. If there’s a “beer trail,” as there is in Connecticut, considering joining it. Many news outlets and local travel guides go there first for ideas about new spots to recommend. “Like” other breweries and stay positive about competition. While you’re at it, like pages for local restaurants, too, those that serve your beer and even those that don’t. You never know where a new customer will come from.
Finally, share and share alike.
Posts that invite engagement—votes for favorite beer, suggest a new name, ideas for outdoor activities like cornhole—make people want to be a part of your success. Making social media work for your brewery means staying active on as many channels as possible, which builds your brand … and your business.
And remember, a skilled social media team can optimize your exposure—and fit your budget.