By Genevieve Brown  This talk looked at the impact of social media on the drinks industry and how the different players are respondi...

The Impact of Social Media on the Drinks Industry @ Social Media Week #LikeMinds


By Genevieve Brown 

This talk looked at the impact of social media on the drinks industry and how the different players are responding and adjusting to the ‘social’ opportunity. There focus was on examples of drinks brands in social media, showing both the advantages and disadvantages of being so public with a brand.

All speakers agreed that for B2B  Twitter works better, ‘for those in bubble, as it gets to the influencers, however for consumers FB works best.  For consumers they also agreed that Instagram was important especially in drinks to show the process – put something real behind the liquid and make it personal.  All speakers also agreed that for Spirits brands it was not about building numbers but on quality of interactions that the aim was to ‘connect not collect’.  This is important as 97% of people that like a page never go back to it, so these people must be engaged with to ensure they return and for the like to be worth anything.

To be able to engage effectively you must know your audience and who you are speaking to. It’s not hard to work out your Twitter audiences age, salary, location etc.

The 5 W’s are said to be key to a social media strategy’s success:

Who are your audience?
What are they saying?
Why did they say this thing?
Where platforms?
When did they say those things?

Brands doing well in social media – 

Veuve Clicquot – Champagne brands have in general shied away from social media, but Veuve Cliquot is said to have done a great job using it to promote its events

Redbull: Redbull’s strategy is that it will spend 10% of time building content, 90% engaging community – they only do a few small tactical content pieces.

Naked wines – Naked Wines created an interactive social website where customers talk to wine makers on their individual wines and see the wines being made in the vineyards.

Heineken – Heineken created an augmented reality based on the James Bond Skyfall movie.  This caught on on twitter, and the ad had over 1.5 million views. 

Innocent – anywhere their customers are, they will be, they will make the time and resource

Bollinger – good social media campaign for champagne brand mixed with Rugby (considered to be a public school sport) therefore attracting premium 

PG Tips – PG Tips created an app allowing consumers to speak to farmers through the app, you could see them picking the tea leaves

Budweiser – Budweiser have a beach club in Ibiza on a remote part of the island.  They draw people in using social media 

Harviestoun – Harviestoun’s competitions on Social media focus on data capture.  The content is genuine, interesting and authentic.

App that allows beer drinkers to share reviews, photos and have personalized recommendations to new beers and the pubs and bars that sell them.

Disadvantages of being transparent in social media

Naked Wines:
A Batch of wine from one of the Vineyards had unknowingly had gone wrong, leading to large social media backlash for Naked Wines, which could have ruined the business, especially when the company is so young.  Naked Wines reacted with a Good Will email campaign and gave a lot of wine away to show how sincere their apologies were and how keen they were that it wouldn’t happen again.  It turned into the most successful campaign they have ever had with excellent social media feedback from consumers.

The Experimental Cocktail Club: 
Social Media is a great promotion tool, but if your selling expensive cocktails and some one complains over social media over something (even if is a personal taste) it is damaging to the brand.  Each negative comment must be dealt with, in the case of The Experimental Cocktail Club the person is invited in to discuss what happened and to find a cocktail that would suit them better.  This then tends to 

Overall my take out was that keeping the consumer involved in the process through social media appeared to be the strategy adopted by most of the brands, and it looked to be the most successful.  Consumers wanted to see the process behind the product/brand they were buying into, and wanted to interact with this process.

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