Does size matter? Social media in the drinks sector

Does size matter? Social media in the drinks sector

Here at Clarity, we spend a lot of time thinking about social media for our clients and crucially, their engagement with loyal and potential consumers.

Having acquired a detailed knowledge of the beer and cider sector, devising campaigns for amongst others, Kingstone Press Cider and Hobgoblin beer, we feel we know what’s possible. However, a question that we get asked repeatedly is, does size matter on social? Do bigger brands with access to bigger budgets fare better or worse?

Social media & alcohol brands

We’ve taken a close look at this, widening our net to encompass the cider, lager, premium-bottled ale and spirits categories to see how each fared across the ever growing social mediums. Our hypothesis was that size was less important in driving consumer engagement and conversations. We took published data on the top 10 brands per category, studying which channels they used, the size of their audiences and ultimately, the engagement they produced.

Unsurprisingly, the results show that reach and audience numbers are determined by the brand’s size and scale. However, social isn’t about raw numbers, it involves creating engagement with consumers and conversations around a brand.

Social media has levelled the playing field for alcohol brands to connect with audiences. Engagement, rather than pure numbers, surely has to be the aim of all social activity, and it looks like small and medium-sized brands are doing a far better job of this.

You only have to look at how younger brewing companies such as BrewDog and Meantime are aggressively using social, to see how social can help startups punch above their weight. Hobgoblin, Adnams and Bombardier also generate very high levels of consumer engagement through social all without parent company clout.

Engagement is an issue that brand owners need to get to grips with especially now Facebook is changing its news feed. It seems likely that organic post reach for brands is soon to be a thing of the past.

Brands with poor engagement will not have their posts viewed by followers without investing in promoted posts or advertising. This will force many to rethink their social strategies. Brands who ‘get it’ and engage with audiences have less to worry about. Great posts that instantly resonate with fans will continue to be seen and engagement will continue to grow…. And we’ll drink to that.

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