Real followers. Not fake ones.
Let’s face it; at the end of the day, all social media marketers, brands, influencers and public figures are putting in all this work for growth. Amplification of your brand, expansion of awareness, and an increase in sales leads are some of the most common goals, and really it all starts from your numbers. Of course, the pure volume of followers doesn’t necessarily equate to success - in a world of bot accounts, farmed profiles and fake Likes, the motto remains “quality over quantity”.
Lost Craft is a Toronto based brewery who have only been in business for a year and their growth has been staggering, both on and offline. Their flagship beer, Revivale, is a Kolsch (German-style lagered ale) and is now available in over 200 LCBOs (Ontario’s government controlled liquor store), all Sobey’s locations and over 80 bars and restaurants across Ontario.
When we took over the marketing strategy of Lost Craft’s Instagram account in the beginning of June 2016, they had 1577 followers. By the end of the summer, they’d hit well over 11,000. Here’s how we did it.
We narrowed in on Lost Craft’s target audience, which wasn’t the typical craft beer drinker. We were going after those newer to craft beer, who may enjoy macro lagers (Budweiser, Canadian, Coors Light, etc.) but would be open to a newer, tastier experience with their Kolsch ale. We hand-selected a variety of competitors and partners whose followers would likely be interested in the beer (ranging from craft breweries, restaurants, bars, influencers, clothing brands and sports franchises), and implemented a strategy to engage with those accounts and their followers, being potential customers, by following, liking and commenting on their images.
Following and liking images from relevant, targeted accounts is essentially akin to that old ‘Poke’ function that Facebook used to have (or perhaps it still has). It’s kind of like saying ‘Hey, what’s up?’ and will potentially spur them to come to your profile and take a look. Liking a few of their photos sweetens the deal and often sparks enough interest that they’ll hit that Follow button. If you feel the urge, throw in a few nice comments (emojis work fine, too) as a bit of a final engagement. Top Marketers like Neil Patel, have seen significant results from this tactic, generating over 21 likes and 7 followers per 100 interactions.
Important Note: It is critical that you have a feed people actually want to follow. It's all well and good for them to notice you, but in order to turn that white follow button green, you have to craft an engaging, beautiful and consistent feed worth following.
We researched and loaded up with a ton of relevant hashtags for Lost Craft to use. Hashtags are a great way to expose your content to a large audience, and on Instagram you can use as many as 30 per post - so we maxed out on them every time. This allowed Lost Craft to get in front of its target market by inserting itself into a larger conversation made solely for discovery. If you need to brush up on the value of Hashtags, this is a great resource.
User Generated Content (UGC)
We noticed that Lost Craft was getting tagged in a ton of photos by users consuming their beer. This is the ultimate goal of any social media marketer - passively generating UGC and have it brought to you on a platter is what it’s all about. UGC consistently yields higher engagement across all platforms of social media. Lost Craft are exceptional in that their packaging is extremely attractive, and it looks super slick in even the most unflattering of photographs so this certainly contributed to their UGC.
Whenever Lost Craft were tagged in a fantastic photo, we encouraged them to save and repost those images with a photo credit to the original poster (don’t use those Repost apps - they cheapen your brand, your image and your profile), which also could potentially be the user's goal for the post in the first place. What this does for the brand is provide social proof in that others are purchasing, consuming and posting about the product, so it must be something worth considering for new customers.
Another quirk we noticed was users were tagging Lost Craft in photos with captions stating that they were followed by the brand which then prompted them to find the beer, purchase and post about it. For companies who don’t have an online sales funnel, it’s very difficult to ascertain whether social media promotion actually results in a purchase of the product, and these posts were physical proof that it was in fact working.
Great targeting + great content = sales.
As with anything in life, consistency is key. We made sure there were daily posts at the minimum on Instagram to keep the brand in users feeds, and Lost Craft were fortunate enough to have received so much User Generated Content that posting so often was never an issue. The moment you stop posting is when people forget about you - we now apparently have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish so staying top of mind by posting regularly is key.
Lost Craft works with a lot of other brands, companies, venues and public people, so on top of the UGC they receive, they’re also tagged in a lot of promotional posts. This demonstrates a strong measure of community and collaboration, and the co-sign from other brands in turn drives traffic to their profile. Although High Season had no part in this side of their growth, we’d definitely advise brands to work and collaborate with as many people as possible to maximize reach and to tap into other brands communities and followers. You never know what opportunities can arise from a little bit of collaboration.
"As soon as we partnered with High Season to push our brand to a wider audience, we saw immediate results. We've seen a huge increase in traffic and substantially increased our brand awareness while securing new customers who turn into brand advocates via social media. The High Season team are extremely creative and constantly taking the initiative to develop impactful social media campaigns to increase Lost Craft's profile both on and offline." - Shehan De Silva, CEO and Founder of Lost Craft Beer
Having trouble gaining traction on Instagram? Talk to us about developing a strategy to connect you with the customers you want.