With the growing movement of supporting “local” and/or “organic” from everything to businesses to groceries, it’s also spilled over to a personal favourite industry of mine.
In Ontario alone there are now over 50 microbreweries, or what they’re more affectionately known as “craft” breweries (because everyone loves something made by hand and with love. Oh yeah, and it’s pretty much an art). You can imagine that a lot of these small breweries are usually small businesses and are still learning the craft of social media. As part of this blog assignment, I’m highlighting two Ontario breweries. One that is on the path of brewing some social media goodness, and one brew crew who I feel they can improve their social media recipe or alas, they’ll become flat and bland.
Let’s take a look at our first company:
Name: HOP CITY BREWING
From: Brampton, ON
As much as I love HOP CITY products, they can definitely improve their social media efforts. Although they post on both Twitter and Facebook consistently, their posts don’t really showcase any type of brand personality or essence. They usually consist of pictures of their products in one of the many pubs they distribute to. Here are my suggestions to improve their social media presence, and increase their audience reach.
- Fully establish the brand – Although they do have a consistent visual look (but an easily forgettable logo), their online “voice” is pretty flat. They need to establish a personality (deadpan & cheeky? friendly?) This would help determine the tone of their posts, the visual looks of these posts as well as how they will engage their audience on their social media platforms., and more so what platforms to really utilize.
- Find stories to tell – It’s definitely not enough to post pictures of their product. They need to examine the history of the company and it’s mission to help draw out storylines that can be told overtime. My suggestions for company stories: What drove the owners to create the company, The relationships they’ve made with restaurants, bars, pubs, etc. Their process in finding new flavours and brewing techniques.
As people understand the “why” the “who,” and the “how” of the company, they can have an emotional attachment to the brand, and become brand advocates.
- Be visually engaging – Establishing a presence on Pinterest to show what inspires the company. Be it places in the world, places they want to visit, art and design, etc can show a different side of the company. I’d also suggest Instagram and YouTube or Vimeo to give an insider’s look into the day to day operations of the company. Take pictures/videos of the brewing process, events they go to and highlight employees of the company ) just to name a few.
- Interact and connect with other like-minded brands – Reaching out to brands they admire and who share similar values would be a great step to grow their audience. When relationships are established, they can do cross-promotion contests on Facebook or Twitter, or even drive more traffic to their website.
- Redesign website with social media in mind – Hop City’s website, looks great but doesn’t really give its viewers to do or to learn more about the brand. They should integrate their social media posts somewhere on the frontpage, to show that they’re “active” and not stagnant.
I think this would be a great place to start for HOP CITY and hopefully make their social media presence as tasty and flavourful as their product.
Name: BEAU’S ALL NATURAL BREWING COMPANY
From: Vankleek Hill, Ontario
This company prides itself in brewing its entire lineup organically and naturally, and it looks like that’s how they’ve been able to get so many Facebook Fans and a more than a pitcher’s worth of followers on Twitter. Here’s a short list of the things they’re doing great at.
- Personality! – These guys have it, flaunt it and it’s easy to pick up their vibe after reading a few of their posts. I love that they have a monthly mixtape on their website. It gives a good reason for people to come to their site and explore on top of showing people their musical tastes. And we all know that music is one of the greatest connectors of people.
- Visually Driven – You can tell they have a good grasp of their brand. Their posts are always linked to a video or a photo, which tells its own story of course. They also have a Tumblr page which showcase the designs they pump out for events they take part of, or just to promote their lineup of beers. As a graphic designer, this is something I totally eat up.
- Focused and Steady – BEAU’s has chosen to just focus their efforts on 3 social media platforms. This definitely prevents a small company like them from spreading themselves too thinly across all the social media platforms that are available. They’ve really just chosen 2 strong platforms in Facebook and Twitter, to promote their product, their events and the heart and mission of the company. Tumblr is just a bonus site for those who appreciate good design, and it’s easy for them to post these, as their creative team is always create marketing and branding collateral anyways.
Just like a fine batch of beer, creating a social media strategy must be handled with care and consistency to wield great results. In the case of these two breweries, you can see that having a good grasp of your brand (which is the key ingredient) is always a great start when moving with social media. CHEERS!