Alcohol Brands, Consumers Connect on Social Media

Beverage alcohol is woven into the fabric of human socialization. And drinkers have taken that propensity online, where they are active on social media, according to a new eMarketer report, “Beer, Wine & Spirits: Engaging Millennials (and Drinkers of All Ages) via Social Channels.”

A February survey of regular wine consumers in the US by the Wine Market Council found 73% were Facebook users. By comparison, the overall percentage of US consumers who are Facebook users is considerably lower, at 47.2% in 2012, eMarketer estimates. But social media users are not engaging with beverage alcohol brands uniformly.

US Wine Consumers Who Use Select Social Media Sites, by Generation, June 2011 (% of respondents in each group)

Millennials’ heavy use of social media reflects an apparent trust and comfort with the information they are finding and sharing on social sites. A Q2 2012 study of digital influences on brand selection by SymphonyIRI found that millennial shoppers were more than three times as likely as the overall panel to be influenced by blogs and social sites.

Digital Influences on Brand Selection According to US Millennial Shoppers, Q2 2012 (index*)

For brands that would appeal to millennial consumers, then, social presence makes sense. Constellation Brands, for instance, markets more than 100 beverage brands, and while it has invested heavily in developing a social profile for many of those labels, not every brand necessarily has a social presence.

As for discounts, an April 2011 study by ROI Research found that only 26% of social network users followed alcoholic beverage brands because they wanted discounts or coupons. Followers of food, personal care and healthcare brands were much more likely to be looking for discounts and coupons.

In part, this reflects the fact that consumers tend to stick with the same alcohol brand even if they cannot find a discount.

Reasons US Social Network Users* “Like”/Follow Brands on Social Networks, by Product Category, April 2011 (% of respondents)

Ultimately, the goal of any online engagement is to persuade consumers to buy products. The study also found that 15% of social network users purchased beverage alcohol as a result of content encountered on a social network. Constellation Brands, with more than 1.3 million Facebook fans, says 36% of its social network fans have increased their purchasing of the company’s products.

“Our fans have accounted for incremental retail/on-premise brand revenue of an estimated $16.1 million over the past 12 months,” said Constellation Brands’ Karena Breslin, director of digital marketing. “This keeps growing. Facebook is a key driver.”

Source:eMarketer

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