Simon Pilkington
July 7, 2017

Social Media Marketing for Alcohol Brands

Social media marketing for alcohol brands is a great way to get your product story out, reach new customers and get more from events. Read our top tips here.

“Hello Social create great social media campaigns for alcohol brands. As a way of targeting engaged consumers, encouraging brand loyalty and ongoing conversation, social media is a key tool in alcohol brands’ marketing strategy. But with a wide variety of different platforms, strong regulation on communications and a competitive market, it can be difficult to approach this important element of your marketing strategy.”

At Hello Social our clients often ask us – ‘can you sell alcohol on Facebook’, ‘what alcohol hashtags should I use on Twitter’ and ‘how can I promote my drinks brand on Instagram’. So whether you are a craft brewer, startup spirit producer or global drinks company, we’ve put together our top tips for alcohol social media marketing.

Define (and stick to) an engagement strategy

It’s important to define a core strategy for your alcohol brands’ social media communications. At Hello Social we always think about who our clients want to reach, where their fans are most active and how consumers interact with content. Your strategy should be consistent across all channels and the narrative should be easy to follow. You’ll need to strike a balance between product content, campaign content and brand content to be most effective when advertising drinks and alcohol on social media.

It would be an understatement, particularly in Australia, to say that alcohol has broad appeal. Therefore, it’s crucial that you narrow your audience to target the particular segment that you want to reach on all social media channels.

While your market segments will inform your content pillars and overall strategy, you should also leverage Facebook’s demographic and interest targeting to serve paid ads, or promote existing posts to the right audience.

For example, as a new beer brand looking to tap into the market of thirsty sports fans, you might create a targeting option like the one below. While the audience still has mass appeal, you can tailor your creatives to fit the sports demographic, using shots of fans enjoying a cold brew as their team storms to a crushing victory.

Alternatively, if you are launching a high-end spirits brand, with Australia’s most renowned socialites in your sights, you would take a different tack, aiming to reach those with an affinity to designer brands and complex, crafted drinks. In this case, aiming for the top percentile of earners not only captures the Real Housewives of Melbourne crowd, but also those aspiring towards a more lavish life.

or a great example of well targeted content, check out Jose Cuervo USA’s strategy to reach millennials with their ‘Tomorrow Is Overrated’ campaign. It features cleverly shot brand content, relevant collaborations, and inventive recipes across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is one of the best and most comprehensive around. We can’t get enough of their Cuervo Sangria Popsicles!

Choose your platforms wisely

Understanding which social media platforms your alcohol brand should be active on can be tricky. Listing your brand on Instagram, and Facebook should be a no brainer – but consider other channels for alcohol social media like Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube as well. Consider how you can tell your brand story by using new features from platforms – for example, tell the story of your production process on Instagram using the ‘Stories’ feature. Remember content should be aspirational, but should also be relevant to your audience.

Check out Heineken’s viral ad ‘World’s Apart’. Launched on Facebook and YouTube, the video received over 13 million hits.

Use clever alcohol Hashtags

Using clever alcohol related hashtags can help get your brand trending online or inspire a sense of community with your customers. Using consistent alcohol hashtags across all platforms will help build a body of interaction and is easier for consumers to understand. However, you shouldn’t be afraid of creating a ‘flashtag’ as reactive marketing to important news or events. Consider whether your goal is to create general brand awareness, or whether you’re marketing one particular product to a more specific audience.

Max Doyle, founder of Hello Social commented: “Define your hashtags, include them on packaging and don’t change them too often to make sure fans can talk about you easily when they want to. “

Bud Light have struck a perfect balance with #famousamongstfriends. They use the hashtag to post reactive content to international events like the NBA finals, or just to check in and remind their fans to celebrate National Friends Day.

Check out their feed here

Here are some more examples of brands using consistent hashtags to engage consumers.

4 Pines Brewery, Manly rely on the strength of their product, with a separate hashtag for each of the beers on sale.

Absolut ran with #absolutnights in 2016, taking their vodka brand around the globe for a series of unique parties. 29K posts on Instagram

Scotch brand Jura celebrated their heritage with the #juratastival, a three day party for Island residents. They achieved 433 posts on instagram. Not bad – considering only 180 people live on the Island!

Inspire real world engagement

A great way to inspire your fans is to use social media to inspire real world engagement. Use your product to engage fans at events – either through sponsorship of existing events or by organising your own proprietary events. These events can be used to create great content – both by commissioning brand content and also by giving people something really awesome to Instagram!

One of the most successful Sydney startups over the past few years has been Mr. Black, a specialist cold brew coffee liquor company. To solidify brand awareness in Sydney they planned a two day Espresso Martini Fest which saw over 2,000 attendees across the weekend and #MrBlack

Follow the rules

Regulation of digital marketing for alcohol brands should be a key consideration in your communication planning. Make sure you understand the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code. The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau website can help to provide guidance on what alcohol advertising for social media is allowed. Further to this, the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code website offers guidance on the regulatory system and practices in Australia.

Or you can ask the experts here at Hello Social for guidance specifically for your brand.

Take part in social occasions

Most people drink alcohol in social situations. As such, it’s important to be part of the conversation around social events which will resonate with your market – both in terms of pre-planned campaigns and via reactive content. Whether you’re sponsoring a national event, or you can be reactive to regional or national news, providing up-to-date content and being part of the conversation will help to keep your brand relevant and reactive.

Campari and Imbibe recently teamed up to celebrate Negroni Week. They promoted Negroni drinking across the globe and gave a portion of the money back to charity, raising $350,000 dollars in the process and receiving coverage from magazines like Vogue. To date there have been 64K instagram posts to #negroniweek, making Campari one of this years’ best alcohol brands on instagram.

Care for your community

Delivering new and exciting content will help grow your alcohol brands social media audience, but it’s important to remember to look after your existing fans as well. Rewarding fans with competitions, running merchandise giveaways and inspiring them to share how they have used your spirit creatively in cocktail recipes are all great ways of showing you care for the consumer.

Here is a great example of Stoli Vodka rewarding their fans with a branded Mosco Mule kit giveaway on Instagram.

Launching your drinks campaign!

Armed with this information you should be pretty well set to kick off your drinks’ brand social media campaign. Of course all of the generic tips on social media competitionschoosing the right influencers, and finding the perfect mix of channels apply, so put the ice into the freezer, get out your shaker and smartphone, and get to work!

For more information or help to grow your alcohol brand using social media – whether it’s help creating targeted ads, bespoke content and sponsored stories for instagram, or via influencer outreach – contact us for a detailed, fully costed proposal.

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