How To Fuel Brand Growth And Boost Alcohol Sales
You can accelerate growth in online alcohol sales by forging authentic customer connections and working with vendors who support your company’s vision.
Social media platforms may seem like a straightforward way for alcohol brands to expand their audience and connect with customers, but promoting alcohol products on social media is anything but simple. The rules are so contradictory that many in the drinks industry decide to steer clear entirely.
TikTok, Gen Z's favorite social media platform, outlines strict rules for alcohol brands that post alcohol-related content on their social media accounts. And due to recent updates in TikTok's branded content policies, using TikTok to promote alcoholic products is less straightforward than ever.
But if you're careful (and creative!), you can implement a successful alcohol advertising campaign while staying within TikTok's guidelines. Here's what we recommend.
Unsurprisingly, TikTok bans any posts depicting minors drinking alcoholic beverages. Facebook and Instagram also ban posts in which minors consume alcohol. So when you create posts that promote your alcohol brand on TikTok, make it clear that your post is for audiences within the legal drinking age, and remember that the legal age may vary from country to county.
Because the water's a bit muddy regarding alcohol advertising on TikTok, it's best to rely on user-generated content rather than content created by alcohol companies. One way to encourage user-generated content that highlights your brand is to work with an influencer.
Influencers are social media personalities with a large following of admirers. Influencers become known by their fans for their style, humour, or advice (or all three!).
Brands work with influencers by identifying a TikTok influencer who complements their brand personality. They then reach out to the influencer to ask them (or pay them) to promote their product in one of their videos, images, or posts.
Drink influencers are popular TikTok accounts from which audiences learn drinks recipes, hear reviews of up-and-coming alcohol companies, or explore craft alcohol products. There are several influencers on TikTok whose videos focus on creating cocktails or new drinks products.
Research drinks influencers on TikTok who command large audiences in the countries where your product is available. Reach out to each influencer to see if they'd be interested in showcasing your product in a TikTok video for their channel.
You can be proactive and creative by supplying recipes or serving suggestions for your beverage. If the influencer is interested in sampling your product, send them a complimentary bottle, along with any appropriate SWAG, like an attractive glass or alcohol-making kits, that will enhance the tasting experience.
While TikTok’s alcohol-related guidelines are tricky around encouraging alcohol consumption, your brand can promote events it sponsors. When you've identified a drinks influencer you'd like to work with, inviting them to a local event sponsored by your brand is a great way to get more event attendees and a wider audience online.
Using a local events company to organise your soiree will also help you gain traction with the company's real-life and online audiences.
Working with a drinks influencer is a savvy tactic in your TikTok alcohol advertising, but you'll need content you can post on your brand's TikTok channel. And post rules on TikTok discourage alcohol companies from posting alcohol related content.
But that doesn't mean your TikTok channel should be sparse!
Your brand is more than your alcohol product, so your TikTok channel can be the place in which you showcase your brand's personality and create content that appeals to your target audience.
A great example of a brand personality that is bigger than its product is Red Bull. Red Bull's brand is arguably more famous for its clever, engaging advertising than for its caffeinated beverages. Much of its online content is geared towards connecting with its thrill-seeking, high-octane audience rather than extolling the virtues of its drinks.
For alcohol companies who want to connect with users on TikTok but are barred from posting alcohol related content, Red Bull's example is compelling.
To create TikTok content that displays your brand's personality, follow these steps:
Create a description of your ideal customer - a buyer persona - to help you think about who you want to buy your product and what motivates them to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Be as specific as possible, and remember that no product is for "everyone." If "everyone" is your audience, you'll attract no one.
Identify the features of your alcohol product that would appeal to your ideal customer. These may include its taste or texture (sweet, bubbly, rich, deep, etc.); its calorie count; its price point, or its cultural associations (or how your brand is upending cultural associations!).
Post content that speaks to the personality traits that you and your ideal customer have in common. If you're a low-calorie beer made by craft brewers, your audience may be interested in
Your TikTok account could become a source for promoting local makers or telling stories of how you source ingredients. Or maybe your brand is an effervescent white wine in a medium-high price range that appeals to middle-aged women. In that case, you'll want to post content that resonates in their lives, like balancing work-life commitments.
In the Venn diagram of your brand personality and your ideal customers' interests, your TikTok content is the overlapping bit in the middle. If you can create content that strikes a nerve with your audience, you won't need to mention alcohol consumption on your TikTok channel while still promoting your products.
If you’re ready to put your TikTok marketing plan in action, here are your next steps:
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