Will Social Media Marketing Every Replace Traditional Media for Drinks Brands?

In the ongoing quest for authentic connections with consumers in the digital age, the rise of social media has been instrumental. However, these relatively-new social platforms come with a brand-new set of challenges. So, will social media ever replace traditional media?

By Cat Wellwood, 23 August 2019

In the ongoing quest for authentic connections with consumers in the digital age, the rise of social media has been instrumental.  Never before have drinks companies had so much data about what, where, when, how – and why – consumers choose to buy what they buy.  However, these relatively-new social platforms come with a brand-new set of challenges. So, will social media ever replace traditional media?

Can Social Media Replace Traditional Media for Big-Name Drinks Brands?

You may be surprised to hear this, but drinks companies often go quiet when asked to talk about their marketing spend split, often citing competitive sensitivity.  Whilst many of the world’s biggest brands may be keeping mum about their social media and traditional marketing spend, they are united in their belief that social media is now a large part of the marketing mix.

We can all agree that it is a good time to be a drinker. With the huge surge of interest in a wide array of beverages, it’s clear that people are keen to explore new and exciting types of drinks. The boom in gin, craft beer and whisky has changed the cultural make-up of the country and has led to an increasingly personal approach from big-name brands to connect to new customers through innovative social media strategies.

With household names like Pernod Ricard and Diageo both highlighting social media as a ‘fundamental pillar’ of their marketing strategy and with social media now playing an integral role in the daily lives of consumers, it’s vital that an updated social media strategy reflects this.

Why Social Media Interactions Are Here to Stay

As consumer habits change, social media platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram must evolve to keep customers and continue to entice new users. The latest advancements in social media means drinks brands are now able to connect with customers on a personal level and maintain an ongoing connection long after they purchase the product. Through social media, brands are able to ‘lift the lid’ on the inner workings that make their brand unique.

For many discerning consumers, social media can often help to create a more authentic and credible connection.  Through the power of testimonials and influencers, online interactions through social media are well and truly here to stay.

Measurement is Key

One of biggest challenges with traditional media is calculating the ROI. Whether you’re comparing the number of newspapers sold, difference in TV ratings or attaching a unique phone number to a billboard AD, it is difficult to attribute where a sale came from. There is also no way to view real time metrics.  However, with digital marketing everything is measurable and these statistics are also readily accessible. This means you can see what is working and optimise the resources available to maximise your available budget.

Why Businesses Are Shifting Towards Digital

Consumers use social media to seek out information, content and creativity. This is why many of the world’s biggest drinks brands are now using social media to connect to their target market worldwide, whilst also building a loyal customer base through emotive and conversational content. 

With social media marketing brands are able to use content to cultivate lasting trust over time.  Social media gives brands the opportunity to give your ideal customer the opportunity to learn everything they need to know about your product before they go and buy it. This also gives you the opportunity to foster relationships with customers by including them in special offers including limited runs, discounts and competitions.  Even better, social media marketing is also a two-way street. Your brand will enjoy the added bonus of hearing valuable feedback from customers in real time.  You can also leverage this two-way communication to gauge interest in your products in new markets as well.

Here’s some great examples of drinks brands using social media to create viral campaigns that raise brand awareness and brand engagement levels.

Bacardi: The Ultimate Lifestyle Brand

Fact: It’s true to say that alcohol and parties often go hand in hand. This is something that Bacardi have embedded into their social DNA and feeds into their overarching social media strategy.  This presents a great branding opportunity – especially when you’re marketing to millennials.

In their highly successful 2015 #BacardiHouse Party campaign, the rum makers bring the party lifestyle to the forefront of their campaign with exciting visual content geared towards their target market. At the time, Brandchannel called the scenario “the ultimate millennial fantasy” and it’s not difficult to see why.

This particular campaign from Bacardi even included special party events that took place throughout the US, where you could see the brand team up with new up-and-coming artists.  The overall concept of this campaign sends a very clear message – choose to party with Bacardi.

Jim Beam: Adding a Fun Visual Component

One of the key aspects of a strong social media marketing campaign is strong visuals.  The importance of high-quality visuals is easily showcased by the Jim Beam brand. Each social media post is informative, engaging and ultimately showcases their product to customers.  While it’s clear the main aim of the Jim Beam social strategy is sales, the content still keeps its friendly, Kentucky tone of voice throughout.

No two drinks brands are the same, but it’s clear that even global players can take advantage of social media marketing to build awareness and improve two-way communications with customers.


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