It's clear that craft beer is taking over America and other parts of the world. According to the Brewer's Association, in 2016, craft beer accounted for 21.8 percent of all American beer sales, which is up 6.2 percent from 2015.
With this meteoric increase in competition, many breweries have taken up social media marketing, particularly Instagram, in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors and create awareness for their brand.
Here are 5 Instagram marketing tactics you can learn from breweries in the craft beer capital of the world: Portland, Oregon.
1. Leverage trending events.
With the recent solar eclipse, it's only fitting that Ecliptic Brewing leveraged the event to their advantage. In addition to reposting loads of user-generated content and hosting a giveaway, the brewery also built anticipation for their eclipse viewing event weeks in advance to ensure there was adequate time for the hype.
By hopping on trending events and hashtags, you'll be a great position to increase awareness for your brand on Instagram as well.
2. Show your 'fun side'.
Every Tuesday, Cascade Brewing Barrel House holds what they've labeled 'Tap It Tuesday' where two customers must hammer the faucet into the barrel without letting too much beer spill out. As you can imagine, it doesn't always goes as planned, causing beer to spurt out like an opened dam.
This is exactly what makes it fun to watch, and the videos typically drive thousands of views. By holding fun events like this and showcasing them on Instagram, not only will your brand appear more authentic, but it'll also build audience excitement for that weekly event.
3. Have a variety of creative content.
On Instagram, it's always a great idea to shake things up a bit when it comes to your content. By having a wide variety of content, you won't be another boring brand on Instagram because your audience will never know what to expect.
A Portland brewery that embodies this tactic perfectly is 10 Barrel Brewing Company. By regularly posting high resolution product photography, reposting user-generated content, Boomerang videos, action shots, lifestyle photography, and more, this brewery keeps their Instagram following on their toes. They've even posted a recipe video for making a chili sauce using one of their IPA brews.
If you're active on Instagram, always be testing new styles of content and creative concepts. After a day or two pass by, compare the engagement on those posts relative to other styles. If they perform well, keep them going.
4. Step up your game with Instagram Stories.
If you haven't tried Instagram Stories yet, you're missing out on a vital feature 250 million other people are using on a daily basis. Instagram Stories allows your brand to show the behind-the-scenes footage and more spontaneous, unfiltered content relative to standard Instagram posts.
They're not quite located in Portland, but Buoy Beer Company is utilizing Instagram Stories to their full potential by consistently highlighting what's on the menu, linking up deals on T-shirts, upcoming events, and more.
Whether you're launching a new product at your company, have a blog post to share, or free items to give away, Instagram Stories could be a terrific medium to communicate this with your audience. Plus, you're able to add external links in Instagram Stories, making sharing easier than ever.
5. Use design to signal the style of your post.
By having specific branding (color, font, text size, etc.) for different styles of your Instagram posts, you'll prime the most engaged members of your audience to stop scrolling when they see this branding.
For example, if you have 'Helpful Tip Tuesdays' each week, consider using a certain color scheme, type of Instagram filter, and font to be used for every post in this series.
A brewery that does this beautifully is Old Town Brewing Company with their 'Weekly Beer Update' video series, which tells members of their audience what's on tap that week, upcoming events, what brews they're working on, and more.
For the members of Old Town's audience who want to stay updated on this information, every time they see this style of design, they'll know to stop thumbing through their feeds and tune into the video update.
Bonus Tip: Utilize Instagram Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the largest trends taking place in the marketing world right now, and it's a fantastic way to generate awareness for your business. In exchange for a post, you could give the influencers monetary compensation, freebies, free beer, or something different.
To discover influencers in your particular niche, use search tools like Klear.
Being present on Instagram can also allow you to gain the attention of influencers in your industry without having to reach out at all, resulting in additional exposure for your business. In fact, when asked how instrumental Instagram is in discovering new breweries, Portland beer influencer PDXBEERGIRL had this to say:
When it comes to how I discover new breweries, Instagram has become a part of my daily life...A business's personality online represents the people who run it (or who you might actually meet when you go there)...I appreciate seeing great photography, community interaction and silly posts that let me know a place doesn't take itself too seriously.
A very special thanks to PDXBeerGirl for providing insight and research on some of Portland's best breweries.