Organic vs. Spending: Tips to Boost Social Media Traction​

Cracking the code in creating a strong social media presence seems to alter almost daily and some breweries shared with Brewer how they look to stay on top of things.

“While the landscape of social media continuously evolves, it appears, through our limited lens, that some fundamentals have remained the same, regardless of platform,” explained Topa Topa‘s Jack Dyer.

Based in Ventura, California, the brewery recently shifted its focus and generation of social media content to be 100% community/employee-driven.

“We felt strongly that our voice should reflect the diversity of our team at Topa Topa, rather than being a singular company’ voice,” Dyer said. “The results have been overwhelmingly positive and provide our followers and fans an authentic look at what makes our brand unique and we hope attractive … our people!”

Cincinnati’s Urban Artifact has grown its social media following very organically, explained the brewery’s Scott Hand.

“While we currently have one person on the marketing team, it’s never been anyone’s full-time (or even part-time) responsibility to manage social media,” he said. “We always shared our releases, and immediately found out that the social posts are great places to show off the unique color and fruit characteristics of our beers.

“So we’ve spent some time honing the voice we use and trying to curate the photography to match our brand aesthetic and keep it engaging on different platforms.”

READ MORE: Is Your Social Media as Strong as Your Branding?

Over the past year, Dust Bowl Brewing has invested more in quality video and animation than using paid boosts.

“For our day-to-day posts, our audience likes to see more authentic content so our general spend is quite low since we create almost all posts in-house,” said Marketing Specialist Randi Fernandes.

Dust Bowl’s posts typically have an above-average reach on its main accounts.

“Our Facebook audience is local to our brewery and our Instagram demographic reflects our area of distribution, so we can reach a wide audience by utilizing a variety of platforms,” Fernandes said. “With the addition of Instagram Reels, we have a satisfying 38% view rate which is encouraging since this is a completely different type of content we have put time and money into.”

Where to Spend?

Honolulu ​Beerworks boost​s its post​ to locals on Oahu and Charmayne ​M​alloy ​points out that they​ hit ​the ​outer islands when it works with the campaign ​the brewery is doing.

​”​We had to cut ​[our budget] by 77% because of COVID​,” ​M​alloy said, including a staff reduction for in-house content. Right now, the brewery is outsourcing its social media presence. “We are just now starting to build it back up.

​”​We need to boost ads because we see the analytics that shows how much further that will get you as opposed to organic. We only boost certain campaigns that we run. Not the day​-to-​day.​”​

​Dust Bowl’s paid content primarily goes to growing followers in a new area of distribution or new taproom locations.

“Most of our followers are located in California, so this is definitely a focus when we emerge in new states,” Fernandes said.

While Urban Artifact doesn’t do a lot of specific demographic targeting, Hand said they do location-based targeting to keep visibility to where the brewery’s products are available.

“Urban Artifact is very conscious about the gender bias in typical beer advertising, and we work pretty hard to keep the branding, visuals, copy, and general visibility as gender-neutral as possible,” he said. “Our Facebook audience is almost exactly 50/50.”

UA will boost posts on Facebook and Instagram routinely, but the monthly budget is only around the $2,000 mark. Hand said instead they have been developing a more refined strategy for this outreach, and expect to have to put more money behind it as the platforms continue to evolve.

“We’re also reluctantly looking at other outlets to put our message into,” he said.

How to Spend?

The largest cost Topa Topa has for social media is on the human side, Dyer said.

“Essentially we have a small team to help collect posts from our employees and clean them up and shoot the accompanying photos,” he explained. “The strategy is working very well and the engagement we are getting both internally from our employees creating the posts and our customers and fans has been impressive.

“We spend very little money on sponsored posts of any kind and rely entirely on our team to help cross-promote these organic posts.”

When ​the brewery talks about the people behind the beer, that always seems to hit.

​”​Whether it’s a packaging line operator talking about his/her job, a warehouse manager talking about his/her passion for BBQ, or the ​founder talking about the causes the company supports, if people are involved in the post, they always perform better​,” he said.​

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