On December 14, 2023
You’ve been concentrating on crafting your rums, vodkas, gins and whiskeys for the next year. As a result, you’re probably not paying a ton of attention to social media updates. That’s what we’re here for!
As a liquor marketing company, we’ve had our finger on the pulse of social media platforms, trends and upcoming changes. It’s our job to help build alcohol marketing plans across the internet – especially on spaces like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. So we have some tips.
Scroll on to learn more about what we predict will happen across the social verse in 2024 and what it means for marketing your distillery, your beverages and your brand.
Social Media as Search Engine
The search tab on Instagram is a hot destination these days. For more than a year, we’ve known that Gen Z prefers searching TikTok or Instagram for information over Google Maps or Google Search. That means SEO isn’t just for your website anymore – your social media content needs to be rich with the search terms and keywords your audience may be using.
Take advantage by crafting captions on Instagram that fully represent the content you’re serving up. If it features craft spirits, cocktails or unique ingredients, incorporate those words into the copy. Additionally, use the alt text field to describe your images – this will contribute to how Instagram surfaces your content for a relevant search. (Find the alt text field by tapping “Advanced Settings” while adding a new post and then tap “Write Alt Text” at the bottom of the screen.)
Hashtags? Those are effective too but Instagram seems to be moving more toward dynamic search and away from the hashtag game so you may want to back away from long hashtag lists moving forward.
Stop Wasting Resources on X, Formerly Known as Twitter
Brands are abandoning the recently renamed text-based platform in droves. The audience still active on X wants to argue about a very specific topic and they’re likely out to pick a fight. This isn’t a place where you can effectively market your products in a broadly appealing way.
If you’re thinking of stepping away but worried about leaving audience behind, create an image that lists out where else your customers can find you. It can include the distillery’s Instagram handle, Facebook URL and website. Add any other relevant online locations too. Tweet the image and pin it to the top of your profile.
If you still see value on the platform, focus more on connecting with individuals directly. Respond to comments – good and bad. Take conversations to the DMs as much as possible.
Drop a Bunch of Photos in Instagram Carousels
The youngsters call it photo dumps. It allows you to create a single post with a wide range of visuals for your customers. As an added benefit, every time your post appears in someone’s feed, they’ll see a different image. It keeps the posts shared by your distillery fresh on the site. It also extends your reach to new users.
To make this work, incorporate multiple images of your distillery, products, cocktails and your team. When releasing a new spirit, showcase the behind-the-scenes with a photo dump: the distillation process, bottling and any other action shots that might catch your customers’ eyes.
Open Up Your DMs to Customers
The best conversations take place in quiet spaces where you can give someone your full attention. In the case of brands on social media, that might translate to direct or private messages. That’s why brands need to allow customers to contact them via DM – but also reply to them there.
While carrying on conversations out of the public view might seem counterintuitive when marketing products, this act instills trust in your customer relationships. It puts those users at ease, knowing that they are sharing information with the human being behind the brand handle. It’s no longer an anonymous interaction.
Stay on top of your DMs, Facebook messages and private messages on all platforms where your brand has a presence. This may be a full-time job for someone on your team! The effort shows you care and adds a human touch to marketing efforts.
Encourage Fans to Share and Save Your Content
When it comes to getting a higher ranking in the algorithm, engagement matters. Platforms look at how users interact with content and some combination of metrics and calculations determine how much reach your post gets. While many platforms don’t tell us what math they’re using, it’s easy to see some engagements matter more than others.
Lately, experts have noticed that shares and saves on Instagram lead to better reach. The weight of these actions factors in more and more. So as social media marketers move into 2024, they’re counting more on those shares and saves.
How do you get more shares and saves? Give your audience a reason to do one or both of those things. Drop valuable information that your audience will want to share or save for later. This could be cocktail recipes, home bar hacks or bartending tips. You could also just ask them to share or save your content. After all, you never get what you don’t ask for!
Back to Business on LinkedIn
During the pandemic, LinkedIn turned into a much more personal platform. Your colleagues started sharing stories about their families, hobbies and life outside the office. In fact, TMI stories became a kind of trend on the career-focused website. But that’s changing – or at least it seems like it may be.
There have been signs that the career-themed social media channel is reprioritizing professional content. We predict that you’ll be seeing fewer posts about your former coworkers’ weekend trip and more about job-related accomplishments.
Why is this relevant for your distillery? Because you can still reach an important audience on LinkedIn but you need to tailor the content for the platform. This is the place to showcase content you’d share with retailers, distributors, the sales force and any other business leaders you want to reach. Speak to them – not to your individual customers – on LinkedIn.
Be Honest About Partnerships with Influencers
Anyone who’s been using social media for more than 15 minutes can tell pretty easily when content is posted by a brand versus a recognizable human. That same audience tends to trust people more than businesses so they’re far more likely to follow an individual and take their advice.
That’s why influencer marketing is so effective. You essentially get one of those humans to advocate on behalf of your brand. It comes off as more genuine and organic than if you posted the same messaging on your brand account. But you also can’t be tricky about it.
Recent updates from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a renewed interest from the agency to enforce those rules means you have to disclose relationships with influencers. When you pay an influencer to post about your content, they have to identify themselves as a partner of yours – both in text and verbally – to properly follow the rules. The same goes for when you repost that influencer’s content.
Create Something New with AI
ChatGPT isn’t going away. But it’s also not going to replace distillery marketers any time soon. However, AI can be a powerful tool in creating content that excites your customers.
Develop images that feature your products and labels in a unique way using AI photo generators and you could find yourself participating in a popular social media trend.
Don’t Count Out Longer Video
For a long time, social media video needed to be short and sweet. But that may not be the case any longer. Reels run up to 15 minutes now (if you upload an existing video) and TikTok may extend its video run time soon too. Those platforms see value in longer content so that may mean you need to start rethinking your strategy too.
Of course, longer video isn’t an invitation for you to film paint drying. You need to keep long video interesting. And, no matter how long, make sure you intro what’s coming in the next 15 minutes within the first three to five seconds. The audience wants to know what they’re investing this much time to watch before they make the commitment.
Additionally, tell a story for the whole run time. Have a beginning, middle and end, share interesting twists and turns, and just make it a goal to keep things exciting. If it’s not entertaining or informative, cut it down.
Proactively Engage with Other Posts
No matter how well you’ve gamed the algorithm, not everyone will see your distillery’s social posts. You can ensure that your account reaches more people by going to the places where conversation is already happening. Comment on relevant posts where lively discussion is in progress.
When you join a conversation, you get in front of more people. If you can bring value to that conversation (maybe it’s insights or hacks or news), you’re more likely to draw a crowd to your account and build on your audience. And anyone who interacts with your comments may be more likely to see your posts in their feed later.