Americans love beer. From sporting events to local hangouts to family get-togethers, beer accounts for about 85 percent of the volume of alcoholic beverages sold in the United States each year.

While a handful of brewing giants are responsible for the majority of beer sales – think Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and Pabst Brewing Company – craft beer is taking an ever-increasing chunk out of non-craft beer companies’ sales.

Despite the massive budgets of a select few behemoth brewers, mom-and-pop brewpubs and microbreweries are winning consumer mindshare and market share, in part to their savvy use of social media to engage their audiences. Consider stealing the following cost-effective social engagement tactics for your business that many craft brewers execute so well.

4 Ways Craft Brewers Dominate Using Social Media

1. They master the art of visual storytelling.
Anyone wanting to whet their palate with top-shelf beer porn need look no further than their favorite craft brewer’s Instagram account. From artfully crafted labels and cans to a frothy pours and natural ingredients, craft brewers inspire fans to run to the fridge, bar or liquor store without ever even asking for the sale.

harpoon brewery instagram

>> Check out @harpoonbrewery to see a visual homage to their beer.

Tip: Figure out what makes your product or service unique. Now try to tell the story of your brand without words.

2. They use social media to extend the brand’s guiding principles.

It is no secret that craft brewers love making beer, and the passion they have for their craft frequently goes beyond the beer itself. They care about their employees, their communities and the environment. And, they adhere to brand principles and values that shape their entire method of doing business.

>> View @newbelgium to see the causes that are important to them.

Tip: Don’t hide your company’s values and guiding principles on a poster in your break room or About Us page on the website – share them. Today’s consumers are quick to select products that make them feel good so take the time to remind your fans why you are in business and how the organization contributes to a better society overall.

3. They embrace authenticity by humanizing their voice online. If you’ve ever stopped by your favorite brewery and taken the time to talk to the employees – from the bartender to tour guide to brewer – they tend to talk about their beer the same way. Part training, part culture, the authenticity shines through. For so many craft brewers, this humanized voice extends to how the brand engages on social channels. In some cases, the brewer or founder might be posting to social channels, but as brands grow, the company probably has a team of people interacting with fans. Posts, however, feel consistent and as authentic as if you were talking to the person who is making the product.

Tip: Create formal voice and tone standards for the brand as if it were a real person. Next, consider using a social management platform to ensure your social publishing and engagement activities are managed consistently across the team. As your social team grows in size, the brand voice always shines through in a constant and human way because everyone knows how to use the same language.

4. They invite fans to go behind-the-scenes with them. Part of the allure of visiting a brewery is to be able to see where and how your favorite beer is manufactured and by whom. For many, a trip across the country is not always possible. To emulate the experience of a physical visit, craft brewers do an excellent job of introducing their employees and operational procedures to the public through their social media channels.

>> Check out @allagashbrewing to get an insider view into how they make their product.

Tip: Create a list of all the things your company does that the general public would not know about unless they came onsite with you. Next, determine how you can sprinkle these stories into your social activity, so your fans feel like insiders.

Final Thoughts

Your business may never have the budget to compete head-to-head with the giants in your industry, but don’t let your size fool you into thinking you cannot contend. By crafting a consistent and compelling social voice, you can cultivate your brand’s online personality in a way that enables you to stand out.

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