Why craft brewers need to up their game on Instagram

Unless you’ve been hiding inside an empty mash tun for the past few years, I’m sure you’ll have caught wind of the marketing heat that’s developing around Instagram.  This is especially the case for drinks brands and particularly craft beer which is seeing a surge of interest with Instagrammers in the past year. 

As an additional indicator of the rise of beer on Instagram, I recently read that Heineken is going to build its mobile marketing strategy around Instagram as it plans to double its digital marketing spend on that platform by 2020.

So why the shift of focus to Instagram?  Practically, brewers are finding it easier to stand out on Instagram in comparison to Facebook, which actively and vigorously downgrades business content in users newsfeeds via its content display algorithms.  This makes it very hard to gain visibility unless you’re a content marketing super-wiz.  Twitter is all about the latest news, so anything that appears promotional gets a lot less traction. You may not have heard, but Instagram also has twice as many followers as Twitter now.  In addition, the visual nature of Instagram is a very good fit for design and lifestyle-focused brands such as craft brewers who have the potential to share rich visual stories with their followers.

Show Me The Numbers

Last week I did a quick survey of UK craft brewers who are making an impact on the channel.  One of the top ranking independents, Beavertown Brewery (@beavertownbeer) has racked up more than 45,000 fans and is currently averaging 433 likes and 8 comments per post.  58% of their fans are male, 53% live in London and 66% are aged 18 – 34 years old. (These stats were generated on my social media monitoring account at Klear.com).  When you consider that in the first 4 months of this year Instagram gained another 100M users worldwide and that more than 50% of Instagram users are reported as being active daily users, you can see how the channel is fast becoming an essential element of any lifestyle-focused brand.

Other top UK craft beer brands that are already making their mark on Instagram include:

It’s clear that beer fan numbers are building and engagement can potentially be very high with hundreds of likes per post a regular occurrence for even smaller beer brands.  But what other benefits are on offer when you decide to get gramming with your craft beer brand?

Unleash The Marketing Power OF Instagram Influencers

Instagram is proving to be an excellent place for drinkers to hear about breweries and beers for the first time and then to keep up with their news, events and latest beers.  Of equal importance, the channel is also home to a fast growing army of craft beer drinkers and retailers who actively share photos of and talk about their favourite brews and brewers.  Some of these influencers are highly popular craft beer channels or bloggers such as @beer_farts, YouTube vloggers and beer reviewers @realalecraftbeer and @londoncraftbeer.  Then you have pub cos, bottle shops and online beer shops such as @HonestBrew who will promote their latest releases.  You also have a wider pool of high profile lifestyle food and drink bloggers who like to share what they’re imbibing in amongst the Michelin starred starters and latest trend lattes.  Last, but not least, you have what are known as ‘long tail influencers’, people who have a relatively small followings of fans who are niche in their interests, but typically very loyal and engaged.  This group is very careful about what they post, they only promote products they really rate and as a result their recommendations are considered as highly authentic by their followers.  I would argue that this group is a particularly important one for you to engage with.  If you actively regram (share followers posts via a regram app) their content and engage with these loyal beer advocates, you are igniting an incredibly strong seam of genuine recommendation for your beers and your business.

If you are interested in more social media advice and training for your beer brand, please send us a message for Susanne Currid and she’ll be happy to explain how we can you fully grasp the Instagram opportunity.