~ The importance of letting your thumbs get social. ~
Is social media right for me? To post, or not to post? When and what to post? Owners of beverage companies, whether producer, or on-premise drinking hole, battle with this all the time. Like any industry there are owners who stay on top of technology and marketing, and others who are a few decades behind. There are companies that have built mini empires from the quality of their liquid and suave abilities with social media.
The LAB's very first tweet prior to the company getting started, which is part of the story in the handle's name.
The LAB has been hired to create real and engaging content on social media platforms from our very first day in late 2009. That doesn’t sound like a long time ago to many, but in the world of Twitter (founded in 2006) and Instagram (founded in October, 2010) it was light years ago. And personally I didn’t walk into it blind in ‘09. My previous beverage work life encompassed the very early days of Twitter and Facebook as a marketing tool.
Is it a toy, or a tool? A bit of both, right? We feel like it is absolutely necessary for a company to have an active social media presence no matter how boring their own perception of their product is. That means Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, at least. We encourage as close as you can get to daily posts. I can’t tell you how many owners I’ve spoken to in the last 5 years that have said that they have no time to keep up with these media outlets. That is perfectly fine, and a busy entrepreneur will face that obstacle, but someone on your team needs to be engaged daily. Plus, it is important for you to see what people are saying about your products or services daily. What might seem routine to you sounds like a dream job to many sitting behind a desk all day coding under tight deadlines.
9 to 5? Will there be a client, consumer, or other interested party interacting with what you create on Thanksgiving, Christmas, weekends, and other times outside the traditional 9 to 5? You could be closed, and on holiday break, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a decent size audience drinking your product, or at the very least telling their friends about it. Are they going to share that information on your website? Hell no! They are going straight to their mobiles (or laptops) to write, research, and share on social media. We often pre-program content on holidays, or when we want to unplug for a bit. As an owner, and for what I do for a living, it’s important to our livelihood that I peek-in daily even if for a minute. Preprogramming and not checking on it can be detrimental.
Infographic from Adparlor
Simple advice. It should be fun though. Let’s be honest, we are in the craft beverage business. What’s not fun about that? Can you imagine having to do something daily that you don’t enjoy? That’s why we were all silly enough to get into this profession, right? I don’t care if you are making bolts for espresso machines, or growing hops, you are part of the circle. Find the person, or people, on your team that can reflect the image and voice you want. Sadie and I tag team in a very organized fashion for our social media accounts. Be wise in that choice. Don’t base it on convenience. Invest either time or money, or both, into your strategy and execution. Seriously! Remember, posting is free unless you choose to go the advertising, or boost, route. Back when I was a young graphic designer the only thing free was using the company’s nice color printer after hours.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Quantity can be a good thing, but quality is always better. I see so many accounts that have thousands of followers, but don’t engage back, don’t follow anyone else, or follow a few thousand others instantly to build their own following. That works for some, but take the time to build it organically, and stay true to your vision. The followers will come, and those that take the time to follow you first found you somehow. Don’t get caught up in just numbers. Make sure those numbers matter, and invest in what you are doing.
What if you are that guy or girl? You know, a listener, and not the overly talkative type (pointing to myself). These platforms still can work in your favor. Share your stories visually. Let the audience have a taste of what the image is, but feel free to keep it short.
2014 infographic from McKinsey Development.
Final words. It’s a new year. Time to get behind a resolution that will help your business connect. Avoid too many selfies of your beard, new ink, or pourover game. That was so 2015. Carry on, and embrace your inner hashtag. - Jason