World Class Beverages Indiana

January 26, 2010

Beer & Social Media

I’m spending a lot of time on airplanes this week. Normally, that means I’m out of touch and behind on my work, but lately I’m starting to take advantage of my “air time” to listen to podcasts on social media. After listening to many stories of social media becoming a successful business tool for many people, it became obvious to me that social media and craft beer are a match made in heaven!

In particular, I was listening to an interview on Twitter Talk Radio with @aaswartz (Angie Swartz on Twitter) as she interviews @ines (Ines Hegedes Garcia), a Miami real estate agent who happens to love tweeting about mojitos. Ines built a pretty strong following based on her tweets about new mojito recipes and the restaurants that serve them. The payoff? Today, Ines says that 75% of her real estate transactions occur with people she met on Twitter talking about mojitos!

Mojitos and real estate? What’s the connection? How does the electronic connection of Twitter become so important to Ines’ real estate business?

With the mojitos, Ines has a “social object.” Like a campfire, Ines’ social object attracted attention and drew people to her. People interested in mojitos started to follow Ines on Twitter and eventually Ines was able to build relationships with those people. In the end, those people felt personally comfortable with Ines and came to her when they decided that they wanted to buy real estate in Miami.

Being in the beer business I don’t have to look very far to find the perfect social object. I work with it every day. Beer! (It’s a poorly kept secret that a lot of people are interested in beer!)

Beyond that, I don’t have to look very far to see that there are some terrific brewery success stories built around social media. @sunkingbrewing is a perfect example. They self distribute around central Indiana successfully without any of the traditional media like radio, television or print ads. They’re pretty much a Twitter driven, one man (Clay!) sales force .

Another great local example is Barley Island. Yes, they’ve been in the market a good while and working hard, but I think it’s obvious by the number of people I see tweeting at their new Broad Ripple location that social media is clearly having an impact on their bottom line. Owner Jeff Eaton has even started providing free wi-fi to his patrons to facilitate their tweets and Facebook postings!

All in all, it’s easy to see why smart, discerning, savvy consumers are turning to social media for product information and opinions. It’s a virtually limitless resource for people wanting to know what’s happening, when and where.

My advice to all: don’t be afraid of social media. It doesn’t bite. Get plugged in to your favorite interests on Twitter or Facebook. You’ll be amazed at how many people likely share your interests and at how much you can learn about your favorite products. Especially if your favorite product happens to be beer.

Cheers!

Follow us on Twitter: @worldclass

Check out Ines on the Twitter Talk Radio podcast on iTunes at http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=308388699 or visit the Twitter Talk Radio website at http://www.twittertalkradio.com/.

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3 Comments »

  1. Social media in the beverage industry really intrigues me. I think there is promising opportunities available within social media for breweries. I have done some work with a Eugene local craft brewery, Ninkasi Brewing Company. Check out their website: http://www.ninkasibrewing.com/

    Any social media strategies you would suggest for small local breweries?

    Comment by nonstoppr — January 30, 2010 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

    • Liza,

      Thanks for commenting. You raise a great question, but my answer is something of a work in progress. Like so many of us who are interested in social media, I’m just starting to figure it out. However, there are a few things that I think are really important.

      1) Always the most important rule: content is king. Stay on topic and focused on your message. New beer releases, tappings, consumer feedback, brewer comments, media stories related to craft beer, etc. are all good content. What I ate for breakfast is NOT good content, unless breakfast consisted of a particularly good beer.

      2) I’m a strong believer in maintaining several lines of communication all the time including Twitter, Facebook and a Blog. All 3 have benefits and while it is tough to maintain all 3, there are a lot of great tools out there that can help tie them together. However, content needs to be strong on all 3, which means that simply “automating” one or two of them is a mistake. For example, I used to do nothing more on Facebook than pull my Twitter feed via RSS. My content suffered and my page was dull and pretty lifeless. By the way, Blogs are a great way to keep local media in the loop, because they are often a nice way to issue “press releases” of a sort.

      3) It’s important to put a “personal” touch on your content. Let people see the “face” of the brewery. At Ninkasi, you’re fortunate to have a great face in Jamie!

      4) “Push the envelope” with your technology. I believe that trying new things helps my media stand out in an increasingly crowded social media world. For example, yesterday I tried to stream live from an event via UStream from a webcam and while things started off nicely, the wi-fi that I was feeding through shrunk dramatically as people started flooding into the event using Twitter and the Internet from their phones. Eventually, my live video was impossible to stream. But I learned a lot and next time, I’ll be prepared for that problem.

      5) Last thought for now is a lesson from Guy Kawasaki that is especially important for Twitter. Don’t be afraid to tweet important messages multiple times, and tweet them at times when your followers are liable to be active. For example, I’ll sometimes tweet an event posting mid-afternoon and again about 5 hours later, so I can maximize the number of followers who will see that tweet. I don’t tweet everything multiple times and I pick the ones I do more than once carefully.

      Beyond that, I’m a huge fan of Ninkasi. In fact, I just met with some of the Ninkasi crew a few weeks ago in Portland and we had a great conversation (part of which I filmed) about Ninkasi. We talked extensively about why they think Ninkasi is such a hot brewery right now and plenty of different opinions got thrown out, but I personally believe that Ninkasi has done a fantastic job of tapping into the “alternative” media and social media. The beers are fantastic, no doubt, but I’d lay a lot of credit on social media.

      I’d be thrilled to hear more about what you’ve done with Ninkasi and what your thoughts are on social media.

      Bob Mack
      bmack@worldclassbeverages.com

      Comment by worldclassbev — January 31, 2010 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  2. Bob,

    Thanks for the great social media tips. I think it is a great way to connect with people outside of your immediate community. It is also so cost-effective, if done correctly. I just read about a sake brewery in Minneapolis that solely used a social media marketing approach to spread the word. It was a great success. It is an interesting case study, check it out: http://digital.mn-meetings.com/mn-meetings/2010winter#pg40

    I hooked up with Ninkasi because of the magazine I work for at the University of Oregon, Ethos Magazine. We host a lot of events around Eugene related to music and art, which Ninkasi is all about, so we have formed a good relationship with them. The brewery is extremely loyal to its local community and takes every opportunity to get involved. Ninkasi definitely utilizes social media in an effective way. I am Facebook friends with Ninkasi and follow them on Twitter and I find out about all sorts of great events. Ninkasi’s status today was announcing that ‘Devour’ sandwiches would be cooking bacon grilled cheese sandwiches in their tasting room all day. Beer and sandwiches..sounds good to me!

    Comment by nonstoppr — February 5, 2010 @ 9:14 pm | Reply


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