Business

 

How to reach new audiences

Sarah Turner, brand manager at UK distributor Beyond Wines and Liquid Diamond Wine, discusses the value of social media marketing for selling wine…

 

How to reach new audiences
  • Sarah Turner
  • 2023-02-14
More than 93% of internet users have social media, with 90% of Instagrammers following businesses or brands (Hootsuite). Raising brand awareness through social media is not only valuable but essential for increased online visibility and, with 50% of Instagram users saying they’ve visited a brand’s website after viewing their profiles, it can also drive sales and business growth.
Social media platforms have an incredibly wide reach, enabling wine brands to target specific demographics and build brand awareness. Audiences are focused and engaged, allowing brands to interact directly with their customers, build brand loyalty and relationships and ultimately convert engagement into sales. User-generated content, influencer marketing and interactive campaigns create a strong connection with the audience to drive engagement. Additionally, using social media to showcase the story behind the wines and explain the ideas behind the brand and production processes humanises products and fosters more meaningful connections within your community.


Be Social

One of the biggest things brands forget when building social media activity is to be social. Users notice when brands have hired external agencies to run their platforms as, without a true understanding of the brand and a presence on-the-ground, there’s often no personality or brand continuity. Personal interactions with customers encourage conversation and raw behind-the-scenes content creates authenticity and transparency.
A trend currently dominating LinkedIn is personal branding and employee advocacy. Employees are embracing advocating for their brands; as a marketing strategy, it can broaden reach, give greater personality, and help individuals build stronger professional relationships. This can be especially effective for people in a sales or customer-facing role.

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Humanise your brand

Storytelling should be at the heart of social media content strategies, as, regardless of the product, consumers want to relate to accounts they follow on a human level. Overly filtered content and polished photoshoots are no longer an essential part of selling wine – or anything – to the social media generation. Audiences want the rawness and a degree of reality.
The success of BeReal, which has 21.6 million monthly active users (sharecreative.com) is testament to this trend. Users receive a notification at a random time once a day saying, “Time to BeReal”, indicating a two-minute time window to post a selfie and a photo of what they are doing at that exact moment as viewed through the front and back camera. The app was established to move away from heavily curated and airbrushed images that populate many social platforms, with the purpose being to capture authenticity. The app doesn’t offer paid ads (yet!) but nonetheless brands are jumping on this trending app. The chance to give followers an exclusive view of unfiltered reality and access to otherwise unseen moments rewards existing brand fans and fosters loyalty with new audiences.


Instagram v TikTok – it’s not an either-or situation

Compared to traditional methods, advertising on social media is a cost-effective way to reach and engage with customers. Social media platforms work differently for all brands, and different social media platforms should work together, not against each other.
To maximise resources, brands should target where their audiences are. Many brands go all or nothing dependant on the platform or too often they simply replicate posts across different accounts. However, not tailoring your approach to suit the different platforms’ objectives and serve audiences’ needs will diminish impact. The reach on TikTok is phenomenal and use isn’t slowing down anytime soon. TikTok has become a go-to content site and is almost considered a search engine for information and entertainment. 62.3% of users worldwide saying they use the platform to follow or research brands and products (Hootsuite), making it a valuable source for new customers.


Navigating promotional restrictions

Advertising alcohol on social media is challenging, and, rightly so, brands need to be drink aware and responsible as well as comply with stringent promotional rules. Wine influencing is challenging, there are regulations around paid and gifted campaigns, which makes TikTok almost impossible to penetrate. Restrictions also make it harder to jump on emerging trends, which is especially important for platforms such as TikTok, but there are still ways to cut through.
Consumers expect to see brands on social media providing informative and entertaining content which is high impact and serves the viewer first rather than the brand. Offering exclusive promotions and discounts will entice returning customers through posts or personal messaging. Furthermore, consumers expect brands to use their platforms as a voice to demonstrate their values and commitment to causes. Gen Z in particular shop to support causes they care about. This can be activated in several ways. At Liquid Diamond Wine we enable consumers to make a greater social contribution as with every bottle purchased, a percentage of profits is donated to Mental Health First Aid charities.
Mixed media and shareable content will rule content creation for 2023 so should be incorporated into any strategy. Equally, creativity and disruption will elevate the brands. For alcohol brands to succeed, they must think BIG to lead rather than follow.


Influential partnerships

The influencer world is changing as individuals are increasingly held to account over the ethics and values of the brands they recommend. Deinfluencing is currently sweeping hashtags across TikTok, where customers stop buying from brands due to their trust being broken following inauthentic campaigns. As a result, influencers are asking for more information from the brands they work with and seek autonomy over the collaborative content they produce.
Rather than one-off ad hoc influencing, brands need to focus on building long-term relationships with influencers who share similar values and demographics whilst also thinking creatively and commercially. The popularity of user generated content is also increasing, with 79% of people saying it highly impacts their purchasing decisions (Nosto), making it a cost-effective sales tactic. In terms of building an online community, sharing follower content goes a long way to boost engagement!

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Partnerships are incredibly effective for creating strong and meaningful relationships with consumers and influencers. Select activities, food or fashion brands that complement your brand’s look, price point, and target the same demographic. Last Christmas we partnered with Words with Wine, a fantastic book and wine subscription and both brands benefitted by expanding their reach across followers who share similar interests and purchasing habits.
Social media and the marketing landscape are constantly evolving, and undoubtedly selling wine to a social media generation is challenging. To thrive, wine brands need to tap into trends that are transferrable across all markets such as wellness and react to social discourses to reach new audiences as well as re-engaging with existing ones.


About Beyond Wines

Beyond Wines is a UK-based distributor founded by Alex Green and Matt Johnson. It is run by them as well as director Stuart Bond. They are three members of the senior team behind i heart wines and Freixenet and have over 60 years’ combined experience in the wine trade. Beyond Wines’ portfolio includes pillar brand Liquid Diamond, created to make wine more accessible to the social media generation, and they also act as the UK agent to several international wineries.

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