The shifting focus of Alcohol brands on social

Consumer moods change with the seasons and this influences which topics drive engagement on Social Media. The arrival of Spring has led to increased usage of alcohol-related hashtags – making #dryjanuary a distant memory. The implication: the time has now come for Alcohol-brands to step up and focus on organic engagement.

Despite the huge potential to generate organic engagement on Instagram (#cocktails, and #drinks were both top performing hashtags associated with #spring), on the whole alcohol brands remain focused on paid-media channels like Facebook.

The chart above is interactive – click on any content item to see top and bottom posts

However, the last few weeks have seen a positive change – brands are increasingly branching out and using more than just category specific hashtags. The chart below shows the hashtags used most frequently in the alcohol category – our Trend Pulse indicators highlight that the traditionally popular category hashtags such as #cocktails and #beer, have been knocked off the top spots as brands play on events like St Patricks Day, and on the season.

Hovering over the indicator on the left of the hashtag reveals how it’s position in the chart has changed compared to the previous period.

This relatively new approach of using non-alcohol specific tags has helped to boost engagement of brands willing to use them. The chart below shows the most engaging hashtags used by alcohol brands and its clear that events, seasonally relevant tags and daily rhythms were all driving engagement.

The explanation for this is simple – incorporating trending cross-category and consumer hashtags helps branded content to reach new consumers – so why isn’t everyone doing it? The simple answer, is up until now the majority of brands have remained preoccupied with paid engagement.

The prominence of the lighting bolt indicator (showing that the hashtag is a new entrant to the chart), shows that this category is still in the very early stages of exploring which topics drive engagement. Contrastingly, socially advanced categories such as Cosmetics show a large number of red and green arrows, as proven ER boosting hashtags jostle for top position.

Potentially the increased use of non-category specific hashtags marks a turning point for the category. One thing’s for sure – the opportunity to boost sales by generating organic engagement is undeniably there for the taking and it will be interesting to see which brand moves first!

To access our Trend Pulse charts, or trial our news feeds contact Tips on how to optimise Spring visuals can be found in our recent post.