Recently, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that its various platforms were all coming under one umbrella brand: Meta.
In a video that was a bizarre hybrid of Tron and the Tweenies, Zuckaberg cast his vision for a more ‘embodied internet’ using augmented reality, artificial intelligence and other future technologies that, hopefully, won’t result in a Terminator-style scenario.
Already, you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking, ‘Great! Not another platform to get our heads around.’
If brewing beer and being ‘on it’ with current social media trends wasn’t enough, the thought of having to adapt yet again to the relentless onslaught of new mediums may send many brewers TikToking over the edge.
But, by developing a social media strategy, even the most under-resourced breweries can build their brand and community while saving time and energy in the process.
Many breweries – or businesses for that – post to social media with no rhyme or reason. You only have to scroll through Instagram to see Hazy IPA after Hazy IPA looking, well… hazy! It’s hardly stand-out content in a world full of digital noise.
Having a good strategy in place will ensure you to build a strong online presence, save you time through planning and scheduling content in advance, make sure you’re in line with your wider business goals, target your customers more effectively, leave room for creativity, and stay ahead of the competition.
‘But I don’t have time for all that!’ I hear you lament, ‘I’m too busy mashing in!’. Whether your mash tun is 5HL or 50HL, a strategy will help you focus your online activity more concisely and should free up time rather than cost it.
What your strategy will look like will depend on who you are. Either way, whether you’re a single brewer slaving away over a hot kettle or you’re a SME with 40 employees and a marketing manager whose job is to post on social media, if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit nothing.
A simple strategy will enable you to hit something.
Social media strategies can range from a one sheet document that you stick to the brewery office whiteboard through to a fully branded slidedeck with specific KPIs for each platform.
A simple strategy should cover the following:
There’s no point posting anything unless it fits in with your brewery’s mission statement: the statement which should answer those questions at the heart of any business. Why do we exist? Who do we exist for? How do we go about our existence?
Your whole brand should hinge on your mission statement, and this will be the first guideline that will direct any social media activity; the compass that will point you in the right direction. If your brewery’s mission statement is to introduce new drinkers to an exciting world of crazy flavours, then everything you post has to look exciting and innovative; photographing a keg clip just isn’t going to cut it.
Goals should be S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
“We want to grow our social media” is not a smart goal. “We want to improve brand awareness on Instagram by increasing our follower count to from 4.5K to 5K by the year end’ is a smart goal.
Goals don’t necessarily have to be numerically driven; to increase the visual quality of your brand by hiring a freelance photographer to capture some stunning shots of the brewhouse and taproom for regular content is equally as valuable a target as numeral growth.
You may have noticed LinkedIn is vastly different from Instagram, as is TikTok from Untapped. Your defined target audience and how you choose to communicate with them should be platform specific. There’s no point crafting TikTok videos if you’re making traditional cask ales drunk mainly by people over 45; choose your content based on your defined audience.
Managing content is time-consuming and needs resourcing. Whether you employ a marketing manager, hire a freelancer, outsource your social media, or take on the role yourself, by having a solid plan in place of who will manage socials, how they’ll do it and when posts will be scheduled will help focus your efforts and create much-needed consistency.
This requires some creative thinking and the possibilities and mediums are truly endless. Posts should do one of four things: Educate, Empower, Entertain and Engage your customers.
Don’t forget, the primary goal here isn’t sell, sell, sell! You’re creating mental real estate with your brand so every time consumers scroll through their feed and see your posts, they’re more likely to engage with you on both a digital and, more importantly, real-life level.
Ultimately, you need to measure your efforts with some cold hard data. There are lots of ways to do this: start simply by looking at which posts outperformed which others, and then identify why.
There’s no one magic bullet to make your brewery go viral – your social media strategy is just one part of a wider marketing plan.
With a clear plan, you can surf the social media wave, rather than sink into the quagmire of the metaverse. And, if the whole thing is enough to make you want to drown yourself in hazy IPA, you can always call in the experts.