If your craft beverage brand is experiencing less engagement from social posts in the past month, you’re not alone. Why the sudden decrease in likes, comments and shares, despite everyone’s best efforts to build momentum heading into winter? Basically, craft beverage drinkers are bored after 8 months of similar content. They don’t want to see the same-old beverage beauty shots and they miss seeing people in your posts (nearly as much as you miss them in your tasting room). But what’s a business to do when in-person customer photos aren’t an option? In this email we share 15+ ideas for making your social posts work harder for your business in the following critical areas:
|How does adapting your social strategy make your craft beverage brand more discoverable?|
The same social posting calendar used during the summer months won’t work when it’s cold. Sounds simple, but think about it: all of the forces are in place to keep you from selling craft beverages. Colder weather, restrictions on indoor seating, concerns about coronavirus transmission and financial uncertainties are all stacked up against you. The response is not to post more; it’s to post smarter, more strategic content. We’ll show you how.
We know customers want to minimize the risk when visiting a new tasting room. They rely on your website homepage and social channels to see how you’re operating during the pandemic. When they see indoor seating is reduced or eliminated, fewer guests will brave the cold weather, photos of customers enjoying a craft beverage in your tasting room will decrease, and social engagement will drop off. Which is the perfect time to double-down on giving guests a behind-the-scenes look at your brand:
- Highlight facility improvements: as you add equipment, make renovations and expand your operations, keep followers in-the-know with at least twice monthly updates on progress, including photos and snackable video content.
- Reveal big personalities: show what it’s like to work for you! Most people are envious of teams in the beverage business. Give them an idea of what they’re missing out on by showing the fun behind the brand. Photos and videos of team members enjoying their work all add color to the story beyond text.
- Interview an owner: what was behind the decision to open up a tasting room? Talking about the origin story gives your customers more to talk about. Into memes? Now might be the time to post a, “how it started, how it’s going” tweet, either from a historical/throwback perspective or sharing how you’ve adapted during the coronavirus.
- Go in-depth on process: for those interested in learning more, make it easy for them to get an insider’s perspective from your production team. Tips and watch outs for making a particular style go miles to feed enthusiast interest while providing more engaging content for the casual follower.
- Shout out to partners and suppliers: customers are taking more and more interest in what they consume and where it’s sourced. Tell a consumer-friendly story about selecting vendors for ingredients, especially if it’s local.
We’ve captured these and 60+ timely/topical content ideas for December in our guide titled, “Engaging your Social Channels.” Check it out!
Worried customers will stop following you on social because they haven’t visited your tasting room recently? While it’s certainly a possibility, craft beverage drinkers are far more likely to stop following a brand when the content is no longer relevant or interesting to them. It’s important to highlight how you’re making the best of the current situation, building confidence with customers:
- #MaskUp: show your team members in masks, whether required by your state or directed by management. Now is not the time to be cavalier or to make a political statement.
- Showcase your [heated] outdoor seating: with tightening restrictions on indoor seating, it might be all you have! Customers will appreciate the care you’ve taken to address their safety and provide some level of normalcy for their night out.
- Capture guests at take-out: with permission, take photos of guests picking up a call-ahead or online order. Take care to show where they enter and exit the tasting room, how lines are spaced and the team member handoff. The same is true for curbside or [local] delivery.
- Celebrate charities and volunteerism: show you stand for something by highlighting team member efforts to give back to the community or protect the environment. If there is a donation component, provide guests with a pathway to participate.
- Support local: this is one of those times where sharing the love with other craft producers is perfectly in-bounds. Post photos of visiting local tasting rooms other than your own and spread the spirit of craft with your followers. Using @handles in your posts will also organically expose your goodwill to a larger craft audience.
- Throw a contest: ask fans and followers to post photos enjoying your craft beverage as a part of their new-normal lives (at home, on a hike or elsewhere).
The craft community is resilient, and our goal is for your craft beverage brand to be first on the list when customers are comfortable drinking out again. Check out ways to work smarter, not harder, in our guide, available for purchase and immediate download.
Under normal conditions, your sales cycle and seasonal spikes or dips may have been more predictable. Not the case in 2020! You need heavy promotion to be top-of-mind for customers this December. Make it an easy decision for guests to choose you over your competitors by pushing sales opportunities via social channels. When sprinkled-in with your other awareness and engagement posts, this serves as a reminder that you’re still open for business (and welcome the local support):
- Announce new/seasonal releases: chances are you’ve altered the production schedule a number of times this year, but you’re still sitting on inventory that needs to move. Create mini “release events” that build buzz among your fans and followers and drive [to-go] sales.
- Highlight online ordering: where allowed, web pre-order provides a safe and virtually contactless form of buying craft beverage. Not yet selling online? Let’s talk!
- Display merchandise: using social channels to show [masked] team members wearing your t-shirts, hoodies and hats in a great way to move merchandise. Consider holiday gift bundles or discounts for extra punch.
- Identify new points of distribution: if you are able to share information about new retail shelf space you’ve secured, now is the time to do so. A product locator on your website could also help get craft beverage into customers’ hands.
- Share a responsible drinking message: always a best practice around the holidays to remind drinkers that it’s not worth it to drink alcohol and drive.
Be sure your operating hours are updated on scottkolbe.com, social channels, Google My Business, Yelp and other digital properties. And don’t forget your tasting room voicemail! Now would also be a good time to review and update your COVID-19 Procedures webpage.
engaging your social channels
Many craft beverage brands miss opportunities to convert followers to customers on social because posts are uninspired, inconsistent or irrelevant. To help your business and others, we’ve designed a guide with proven marketing tools to empower your team during COVID-19:
- Define your strategy
- Develop content worth sharing
- Design calendars
- Start listening!
- Build engagement
- Track performance
- And more!
Purchase the guide for $99 and get a one (1) hour review of your social media efforts with one of our storytelling experts. Sharpen your focus on customer needs and keep fans engaged during the pandemic.