If you’re reading this post, you’re likely already on the right track. To build engagement and interaction on your brewery’s social posts, you have to first have a social media presence. Seems obvious, right? More important than having multiple social profiles is knowing how to leverage each one to its fullest potential. There are a multitude of platforms out there for you to consider, but we’ll focus this article on making the most out of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Untappd, and BeerMaps. If you don’t have business profiles on those four channels, yet, that’s a great place to start. All offer benefits to you as the brewery owner, and all are incredibly user-friendly.
But once you have a presence on these social media platforms, how can you ensure your followers and fans engage with you? We’ll walk you through some tips and actionable steps you can take to increase your brewery check-ins and likes, and keep your followers coming back for more.
There are so many statistics out there about the importance of businesses using Instagram, and it’s an extremely powerful tool for you to use. The photo-sharing app is one of the most effective brand-building tools available today, and delivers more engagement per follower than Facebook and Twitter. More important than the why, though, is the how. How can you post photos and videos that maximize your potential? How do you increase your page and individual post likes?
For an app dedicated to imagery, step one is creating posts with high-quality photos and/or videos. Thankfully, being part of the brewing industry simplifies the type of content you need to post – you can focus on beers, brewery events, and all happenings tied to your brand. Your product is the focus. Be thoughtful about photo angles, filters, and styling, and remember, your followers love beer almost as much as you do. Keep that the focus, and you’ll create content that your fanbase cares to see, like and potentially regram.
Another popular technique to consider is the branded hashtag. Remember our discussion about The Alchemist and the #weeklyhose? That’s a perfect example of a brewery using a branded hashtag to maximize interaction and engagement. To begin, you can simplify it by creating a hashtag with your brewery name or a unique quality of your business. Just make sure you tag the appropriate photos with it. Watch for other posts that use it, too, and interact with them when you can. The more people who see it and become familiar with it the better. It’s all about building brand recognition, and that builds your likes and followers.
Also, don’t forget to consider cross-posting from Instagram directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. It saves you time logging into separate platforms and helps to grow your followers on other social networks by showing that you’re on Instagram. And that, of course, gives you a better chance to increase likes and extend your reach.
It likely comes as no surprise that Facebook remains the most popular social media channel. That Dave guy from high school, Aunt Sherry, Grandma Jane – they’re all on there. Businesses are there, too. In fact, according to a study by eMarketer, 41% of small businesses in the US use Facebook as part of their online marketing strategy. That also means you have other brands out there competing for followers and likes, just like you are. How do you stand out from the fray and optimize your Facebook page?
It helps to start by making it easy for your fans and customers to find you on Facebook. That’s where your Facebook page username, or vanity URL, comes into play. When you create an account, you’re given a random URL for your page. You can change your username to match your full business name so search engines and customers can find you in Google and Facebook search. To claim a vanity URL, all you need are 25 likes or more. Definitely worth it!
So now that they’ve found you, how do you keep your customers there and entice them to share your page with their friends? One way is to start from the top. Most users will rarely visit your brewery’s page wall. They’ll like your page, see your wall posts, and then interact with your posts that appear in their newsfeed. That’s why getting them to click the like button as quickly as possible is so important. Facebook allows page admins to pin one post to the top of their page. Take advantage of that by ensuring that the post is relevant, engaging, and contains a high-quality or unique image – so when people are on your page, they see one of your best posts first.
While we’re talking high-quality content, remember that Facebook rewards companies who consistently see lots of engagement on their posts. How do you ensure people will interact with your content? You give them variety. Try posting text-only content, then cool images. Add some unique and well-shot videos, and post open-ended questions or polls. By mixing your content types, you’ll engage with a wider range of followers and get rewarded by Facebook in the process.
Another good tip to try is encouraging social sharing through the use of Facebook buttons and plugins. Basically, you can make it easier for your website visitors to like and share your content on Facebook without leaving your webpage. Simply add a like and share button next to content on your site. You can add them manually, through a WordPress plugin, or by asking us. We’ll be glad to help.
How much can 140 characters do for you? Turns out, quite a lot. Using Twitter for business allows you to share text updates, videos, links, images, and more. The platform also has a substantial reach, averaging about 320 million active users worldwide. From an engagement standpoint, it’s one of the better apps, as users can easily interact with one another simply by mentioning usernames or retweeting posts. As the brewery owner, you can follow people who tag you in tweets, retweet or reply to your content, or follow similar accounts as you. That allows you to increase your engagement and reach, and help you connect with people who are hoping to learn more about you.
Twitter is also the birthplace of the hashtag, and that is one of the greatest tools at your disposal. Hashtags help boost posts, and if a user with a lot of followers retweets you, your content has the potential to grow exponentially, reaching a potentially unlimited number of users. Generally, hashtags make it easy to follow trending conversations. Think of something like #nationalbeerday, for example (yes, that’s a thing). If you didn’t know about the holiday ahead of time, you might have missed your chance to be part of the conversation. But by following trending topics, you could engage with potential customers and entice the ones you already have with a special offer for the day. That’s sure to lead to more likes for you and your page.
Keep in mind, though, Twitter is all about sharing content. Make sure you aren’t too focused on your own business and forget to share interesting, relevant content from other accounts, though Doing so enables you to keep your newsfeed fresh and versatile, and potentially reach even more people who are searching for new accounts to follow.
We’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth saying again: Untappd is an ideal platform for brewers and beer enthusiasts alike. The app is similar to Foursquare in that both are location-based services that allow users to “check in” to a physical place and then share that location with friends and followers. But why are check-ins so important?
Essentially, when a customer checks in, it’s like they’re alerting you to the fact that they’re drinking your beer and want other people to know it. Specifically, you. The ball is then in your court in terms of engagement and interaction. And let’s say they cross-post to Twitter or Facebook. You can find it and reply through the platform, which creates an opportunity to gain even more followers through other users who are watching the interaction.
Increasing your check-ins is important because it has the ability to boost your brand visibility overall. Think of it this way: When a customer visits your location and checks in through Untappd, they’re alerting both locals and travelers to your area and offering. Those people can then find out more about your brewery, see a list of your beer on tap, and find out who is drinking what. Plus, when users check in, they can both rate and comment on your beer lineup, providing invaluable feedback to you on what’s most popular and what could use some help.
And like we mentioned earlier, if a user cross-posts to other social channels, you could increase your likes or engagement on multiple platforms, thanks to one user. Multiply that a few times over, and you have a growing fan base of engaged customers.
We’ve covered a lot in this post, but the good news is that you have multiple channels at your disposal that can help you reach potential customers and engage with other beer enthusiasts. The easy part is deciding which platforms to use and creating your account. But it’s much more challenging (and, thereby, much more rewarding) to leverage those channels to target as many of your customers as possible. By thinking strategically about each social media platform, incorporating the tips above, and earnestly pursuing meaningful connections with other users, you will create a brand that is worthy of the interaction and fun to follow. That’s something worth raising a glass to.