We love to keep up with the beverage industry and over the past few years the growth in this category has been undeniable. From the seltzer boom in the alcohol category to major growth in the ready-to-drink (RTD) functional beverage category, this industry is changing quickly and social media and influencer marketing are propelling new brands to the forefront every day.
Consumer demand has caused the majority of the shifts in the industry and we’re now seeing shelves full of kombucha, hydration drinks, probiotic drinks, herbal teas, healthy alternatives to soda, seltzers, non-alcoholic drink alternatives, and much more. Today we’re going to dive into who is using social media and influencer marketing in pivotal ways and why this strategy is working so well for them. So grab a cup of coffee and dig in.
Why is Social Media Important?
Not only is a strong social media presence a necessity for brands these days but it’s without a doubt the best way to reach your consumers where they’re at, on their phones! Most of the shifts in the beverage industry are coming out of changes in consumer wants and needs, like the desire for healthier beverage options and convenience across products in the industry. Using social media and influencer campaigns to get this message to your consumers is one of the most powerful tools you have.
Consumers often look to your social media and influencer partnerships for more information on who your brand is, what your brand stands for, and how it aligns with what they are looking for. This makes it extra important that your social media presence and influencer partnerships are well thought out and speak to your consumers wants and needs. This looks different for each brand but we wanted to share a few that stand out to us.
Who is Doing it Well?
Poppi, a prebiotic soda, serves as a great example of a convenient and better-for-you drink that has grown a cult-like following in the year since it’s launch in 2020. The brand was created by Allison and Stephen Ellsworth, a husband and wife duo, who set out to create a drink that would help chronic health issues with Apple Cider Vinegar. The brand which initially took off after appearing on Shark Tank in 2018 has established themselves in the market with a strong social media presence and influencer marketing strategy.
The brand’s main social media presences are on Instagram (77.1K followers) and TikTok (90.7K followers), where they share content regularly. With the millennial woman as their focus the brand works with macro and mega influencers who are true drinkers of the soda and act as affiliates for Poppi. With 60% of their digital ad spend being allocated to influencer marketing you can see the brand on Instagram being promoted by Actors, fitness bloggers, mommy bloggers, and celebrities who are all excited about the colorful brand and its health benefits. Some of the influencers the brand has worked with include Addison Rae (38.4M), Hannah Ann Sluss (1.2M), Hilary Duff (17.4M), Whitney Port (1.5M) , Alyssa Lynch (682K), Hannah Bronfman (749K) and Sterling Monett (116K) to name a few.
Ryan Tedder, lead singer of OneRepublic, founded the hottest hemp extract sparkling water on the market today! MAD TASTY, backed by investment company First Bev, was born thanks to Ryan’s curiosity in the benefits of hemp extract after experiencing personal struggles of anxiety and panic attacks. In addition to the brand being founded by an influencer (yes, musicians are influencers) MAD TASTY also works with a slew of athletes and fitness enthusiasts on Instagram. Specifically the brand chooses to work with micro and mid-tier influencers who are passionate about wellness and living a healthy lifestyle. Some of their partnerships include Sky Cowans (23.5K), Brian Mazza (314K), Dimitri Tzoytzoyrakos (1,066) and Katrina Rosita (23.1K).
Born in Los Angeles, the canned wine brand BEV can now be found in many states across the US. Alix Peabody created the brand after experiencing unexpected medical bills that would not be covered by insurance. After throwing parties for profit and realizing she was onto something, she began making her own wine in 2017 and paid for it’s very first production batch with the funds from a retirement account from a previous job. Since its launch, Bev has been backed by Catharine Dockery and venture capital firm, Founders Fund. This led to the brand’s seed round of $7 million in 2019. More recently, Peabody signed a deal with Gallo to scale and expand Bev across more shelves.
The zero sugar canned wine is proudly run by an all female crew and continues to break down the barriers of a male-dominated industry. Empowering slogans such as “Break the Glass” and “Made by Chicks” can be found on their cans and groovy social media accounts. BEV constantly works with both micro and macro influencers that act as ambassadors and offer personalized discount codes to their followers. Some of these names include Aubrey Befierce (3.1K), Jemima (4.9K), Livy Jeanne (12.7K), and Lauryn Bosstick (1M).
Kombucha is both tasty and extremely trendy at the moment, not to mention all of the health properties it is packed with. One of the most prominent brands you see today in this category is June Shine. The hard Kombucha brand which was born in 2018 out of a garage, recently closed a Series A funding round with investments from celebrities and natural fans of June Shine such as Diplo and Whitney Cummings. However, you can find other celebrities who are also fans of the brand on their instagram such as Isaiah Rashad who was seen enjoying his birthday celebration at one of their tasting rooms.
The ambassadors who represent June Shine are unique and include plant experts, musicians, surfers, photographers and more. Some of the faces you have probably seen promoting the brand are Mark Wystrach (93.2K), Alden Steimle (87.7K), and Bruna Zaun (113K). Additionally, they are making an effort to be present throughout the entire country this summer with a packed social calendar full of experiential events that you can also find on their Instagram.
High Noon hard seltzer made a quick and strong media presence as their unique seltzers are some of the top sellers in the market. The drinks are made with real vodka and fruit juice, no added sugar or gluten, and only contain 100 calories. In summer 2020 as the brand announced two new flavors, Peach and Lime, they simultaneously launched the partnership with Barstool Sports, a sports media platform and brand with over 66 million monthly unique users. Their dedicated fan base are extremely loyal, so it comes as no shock that High Noon’s sales significantly increased 64% with the media partnership.
Founder and mega-influencer Dave Portnoy hyped up the brand by saying “What initially caught my eye was the can, and when I tasted it, I knew I wanted to partner with High Noon. It’s so refreshing, and I love that it’s made with real vodka. I’m excited to get behind the brand and share High Noon with our fans.”
How other brands + industries can replicate this
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the brands that are changing the game and working hard to propel their social media presence, let’s talk about how this can be replicated across brands and industries.
The obvious constant here is that many of these brands have youthful, fun, and instagramable packaging, which make their shareability skyrocket. Brands who are marketing to the millennial and Gen Z consumers need to consider this when branding their products. The digitally native consumers look for products that not only align with their values but also their desired aesthetic.
In order to have a successful social media presence and influencer marketing strategy brands need to strongly consider WHO they are choosing to work with. It’s not enough these days to simply pick influencers to promote your product, you have to be intentional about if their values and lifestyles align with that of your brand’s. The new age consumer can sniff out inauthentic content in a second so ensuring that your partnerships are meaningful and authentic to your brand AND the talent is key.
We can help
As an agency we’ve worked with brands across many verticals and pride ourselves on setting the standard in the influencer marketing industry. We’re masters at partnering brands with the right talent for their goals and can help your brand create powerful and meaningful influencer relationships.
Working toward meaningful partnerships is important, if you want to talk strategy hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org