By Clare Goggin Sivits On March 18, 2023

Social Media for Alcohol Brands 101

When it comes to distilling fine spirits, you know how to capture the heart of your distillate. However, capturing the hearts of your social media audience? That’s more difficult. It just requires a different set of skills and an understanding of the individual platforms.

Navigating Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn may seem like a waste of time when there’s work to do in the distillery but it can be an important way to draw new customers to your tasting room. Or send more consumers to the liquor store seeking your bottles.

Social media marketing may not be the only way to open up your marketing to new people but when paired with other tactics, like events, tastings and press, it’s an effective way to send home your message.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick overview of how to get your distillery started with a solid social media marketing plan.

Know Your Platforms

When you’re considering a social media strategy, it’s important to research the platforms and who uses them. For instance, 84 percent of millennials use Facebook but the 65-plus age group is the fastest-growing demographic there. Meanwhile, most of the people who use Instagram are aged between 18 and 34, reaching into that Gen Z age group but Gen X-ers are jumping on board at an accelerated rate.

If you’ve got a solid handle on who your audience is, you can use that information to decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your distillery. If you’re trending toward a younger drinking audience, Instagram may be a good place to focus your efforts. But distilleries with an older audience may look toward Facebook.

Once you choose your platform, determine the best type of content to create for it. Social media has evolved beyond just photos and captions. Reels perform very well on Instagram thanks to the way the platform serves up video content. On Twitter, you might want to ask questions that draw attention and engagement. To answer any questions you may have about TikTok, we’ve got you covered.

Show Them What They Want

It’s hard to know what your audience will respond to. Even if you did nothing but create Reels on Instagram, you might still not get the engagement you’re looking for. So try a few different things.

A few ideas to consider as you create content for social media: give followers a peek behind the scenes, offer a how-to for your most popular cocktail, walk viewers through a whiskey tasting or introduce your team to your audience. Find a strategy to create a wide range of Instagram-optimized videos. As you work through these ideas, note what resonates with your followers and what falls flat.

Meanwhile, keep tabs on what other brands are doing on the same platforms. As you see what is successful for those companies, whether they’re alcohol producers or not, apply that knowledge to the content you’re creating as well.

Activate Your Audience

Once you’ve caught your audience’s attention, it’s time to issue your call to action. This can be a tricky ask when you’re dealing with craft spirits. That’s because it’s hard to send social media users directly to a destination where they can buy your products. Of course, unless you’ve managed to jump through all the hoops of setting up an e-commerce website.

Instead, you need to encourage potential customers to either go to the liquor store and seek out your bottles or walk through your tasting room door. Whatever the case, you have to activate these users to a level that they’re ready to get off of social media and walk out their door. That call to action needs to be both clear and enticing.

Incorporate photos that clearly show your labels and products so consumers know what they’re looking for. Provide cocktail recipes that call for your spirits but also sound incredible making any cocktail lovers watching want to run out to get all of the ingredients. Tout the awards your spirits are winning to convince drinkers that they need to try these incredible beverages for themselves. There are plenty of other ways to activate your consumers. Just keep trying new tactics to get those fans to make a purchase.

Track Your Social Performance

How do you know if your social media marketing works? Measure it. This requires you and your team to collect social media metrics on a regular basis and compare numbers to gauge growth or progress. A good place to start is to select a set of metrics that you gather on a monthly basis for the purpose of reporting.

Through each platform, it’s possible to collect metrics that shed light on audience size, engagement, views and viewers, and much more. The most commonly used metrics include impressions, reach, engagements and followers or likes.

Impressions tell you the number of times your content was seen while reach gives you an estimate of the number of people who saw that content. Engagements total the number of likes, comments, shares and other interactions on your content. Finally, followers and likes tell you how many people have actively chosen to keep up with your brand on the platform.

Pivot When It Stops Working

Once you’ve got a monthly routine in place for collecting metrics and statistics, you’ll be able to determine how well your content is performing. If you notice a trend for a certain style of content, pay attention. For instance, if cocktail Reels never manage to net you as many likes as, say, the behind-the-scenes Reels, stop spending time on those cocktail posts.

On the other hand, if you see that a one-off post really resonates, find a way to build on that momentum. Create similar content and share it again. But always stay on top of those metrics so you know when it stops being successful for you and you can move on.

Bet On Those High-Performing Posts

Now that you’ve mastered tracking performance, you can pinpoint those posts that have potential. As you publish content, keep an eye on those high performers and put some money on them.

On Instagram and Facebook, you can easily boost posts that have a decent organic (meaning unpaid) performance. It’s important to jump on those opportunities fast. The lifespan of a social media post is very brief. For instance, on Instagram, a post will get the majority of its engagement in the first 48 hours. It’s important to boost a post within that time frame to get the most bang for your buck.

Before you start posting, make sure you get familiar with the social media laws you need to follow as a liquor company. And if you need more support with your social media planning, we can help. Set up a consultation with us and we’ll walk you through setting up a social media strategy that will excite and activate your customers every day.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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