Okay, so it’s the first Monday of SF Beer Week, and what better time to talk craft breweries and social media. As a lead in, Advertising Age just posted a great article about how New Belgium Brewing is using Facebook to boost sales.
Sure, everyone understands that businesses should be using social media to reach new prospects and keep in touch with current customers, but what’s the best way to do this when you’re a craft brewery? For starters, take notes on what New Belgium is doing. New Belgium Brewing, guided by their social media agency, Backbone Media, is using Facebook as not only a top-level, national brand channel, but also a regional/local channel to promote their beer directly to consumers where they live. I love this idea! I know how my friends and I love it when brewery reps or brewers themselves get out into our community and talk beer with us, and more often than not, those conversations begin online and end at a brewery or bar (with delicious beer of course!).
New Belgium has created brand reps, or “Rangers” as they call them (a nod to their Ranger India Pale Ale) that manage regional Facebook pages that speak directly to fans in the regions they supply. These Rangers talk about local events and work and live in the communities in which they serve. This local outreach creates an instant connection for those who love New Belgium beer and want to share that love with others nearby.
It’s been said a thousand times, but it’s true that social media is all about building relationships. Create relevant content and conversations that people want to be part of, and over time, they will WANT to become brand ambassadors for you. There’s no need to force marketing or sales in social media, just build relationships. It just makes sense. You’d certainly be more willing to promote or purchase a product from someone you’re friendly with versus a total stranger, right? I know I would. New Belgium gets that point, and you should too.
So, to all the craft brewers out there working on social media, keep it up. Keep an eye on New Belgium and what they’re doing, and use some of their ideas to help boost your own beer businesses. As far as I’m concerned, the more delicious craft beer choices we can have across this nation, the better.
Now, I know New Belgium isn’t the only one having success using social media to sell craft beer. Do you have another craft beer social media success story you’d like to share? Give a shout and let me know. I’d love to hear it!