Social Media and Your Distillery
There is no question that having a strong social media presence is vital for any business today, and that goes for distilleries. However, managing social media is more complicated than creating a Facebook page and forgetting about it or hammering out a tweet every couple of months. It’s a real job.
That doesn’t mean that it has to be overly time consuming or difficult. There are several short cuts and handy tricks to use to create and maintain a strong social media presence. You just have to remember to use it. Do it long enough, and it will become second nature.
Now for some exciting tips.
Or at least start now, if you’ve already been in the biz for a while. Ideally, a business should start their social media campaign long before they open. That early presence can built up excitement and create a customer base before the first bottle goes up for sale. That’s not always an option though. Some distillers might be late getting on the twitter and Facebook train, but better late than never.
Make Your Social Media Handle Relevant and Memorable
The best way to do that is to use your company or brand name when making a Facebook page, Instagram account, or Twitter handle. This makes it easy for your customers to find you, which means more opportunities to reach them. Also, keep it simple. Don’t be too clever with a social media handle. People need to understand what it means. Think about all those indecipherable vanity plates on the road, and you’ll know what I mean.
If you can’t use your brand name as is, make it as close as possible, or add in official or brand whiskey, bourbon, fine spirits, etc. Sometimes someone the other side of the country might have the same brilliant idea for a brand name, in a totally unrelated industry, and already be using it.
Keep it Where It’s Needed
One of the great things about social media is that you can reach the whole world with your message. That said, reaching a million people in Bangladesh about your whiskey that’s only available within a hundred mile radius of your Washington State distillery won’t do you much good.
Many small distilleries should work to keep it local with good use of hashtags and keywords. Utilizing Google’s numerous tools like Maps and Google + can create a web presence tied to local searches. Other options to keep it local is to use third party apps like ChatterPing to boost your profile and link your brand to local events.
Reward the Loyal
Never forget your best and most involved customers. They play a more vital role in getting your brand out there than you might realize. At least send them a personal thankyou every so often, or even a free bottle or preview of your latest batch. Rewarding the most loyal customers helps cement that loyalty and lets other customers know how much you appreciate them all.
Respond to Everybody
If you are sent a question, compliment, or complaint, answer it. People take social media personally. Ignoring it is viewed the same way as if you ignored them while they were standing there speaking to you. It doesn’t take much time to type a thank you or a one or two sentence answer.
Believe it or not, complaints over social media are a golden opportunity. When a company successfully resolves a complaint that makes a customer happy, that customer becomes much more loyal. It also might alert you to a legitimate shortcoming in your distillery. That said, don’t feed the trolls or engage the nutjobs.
Share the News—All the News
Don’t just send out a tweet or Facebook post every few weeks saying, “This barrel’s done.” People who have followed your distillery want to know what you’re up to. Give them a quick look into the process, share trade secrets, and make them feel like they’re part of it.
And keep it interesting. Depending on how Facebook decides what their algorithms are doing this week, your posts will only reach half or less of your followers. The more audience interaction a post has, the more likely it will be seen and shared.
Not every post has to be about your booze either. Customers want to know you and your crew, as people. It’s not hard to build up someone’s personality, and make them virtual friends of all your followers. There are also all the cute things you can do, like adopt a stray can and have it become the unofficial mascot or place George the Drunk Garden Gnome all over the place, and caption the pics like he’s up to no good again.