For the second round of social media highlights, we’re taking a look at Guinness. In case you missed the first one, check it out here.
How to evolve a brand with social media marketing
Guinness’ social media marketing strategy is fascinating for several reasons:
They’re an old brand
Founded in 1759, after Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000-year lease on the brewery, it’s been a staple around the world, including its home base in Ireland and here in the U.S. It’s not a brand that needs a ton of introductions — many people are familiar with it.
In fact, on St. Patrick’s Day alone, 13 million Guinnesses are consumed world-wide.
So what happened between 1759 and today?
The Guinness brand evolved around creating and perfecting a product — the stout. The company started investing in innovation as far back at 1893. Today Guinness stands for:
- Good beer – the kind you take the time to enjoy, not the kind you chug
- Responsible beer drinkers – a Guinness drinker does not over indulge or drive drunk
- Connecting with other people – Community is a huge part of the Guinness brand. Pints are meant to be shared with family and friends, accompanied by stories and great conversation. This is not the type of beer you drink staring at your smartphone or alone in your garage.
It’s beer. Just beer. How much could you really say about it on social media?
So Guinness’ social media squad took this challenge and delivered spectacular results.
Their secret ingredient?
Simple, yet compelling, visuals.
Of, yep, you guessed it: beer. And of course, visuals of the people who make it and the people who drink it.
None of those people are extraordinary, yet the tale told by Guinness links it all together so it seems extraordinary.
Here are a few reasons why Guinness is an excellent example of social media marketing done right:
The brand voice developed to be modern, yet true to the legacy of the brand
Guinness produces likeable photos of their beer and frequently reminds followers to drink responsibly. Their visuals and text content are deliberate in maintaining Guinness’ reputation of being drunk slowly, with friends, usually at a bar or a table and always accompanied by good conversation.
You can see this in their Facebook About section:
Guinness’s’ brand stays close to that, and far away from the beach party, bikini wearing, #squadgoals of the likes of Bud Light.
See the difference?
No one is sky diving with their Guinness. No one is achieving epic life goals and enjoying a Guinness afterward.
With their Instagram content in particular, most of the content only shows the product itself and let the viewer/user make up the rest of the story.
They break the fourth wall of social media
Guinness’s social media marketing experts sometimes break that fourth wall and give their name and the city they’re in.
Authentic BBQ in the concrete jungle of NYC? When you’ve got 15 pitmasters from all over the US for @BigAppleBBQ, yes! The Guinness is flowing (like Blonde American Lager, Irish Wheat and Draught) and the barbecue is tasting a-mazing. Check out my Instastory, but only if you’re ok with drooling a little. ^Heather, Guinness Correspondent
This effort gives the Guinness brand the opportunity to use social media for what it’s meant for – to be social.
To be human.
To be accessible.
By naming their social media managers, the gap between the viewer and the brand is bridged.
Guinness responds authentically – not with cookie-cutter templates
They are damn friendly with their social responses.
It’s like having a conversation with your friend – except it’s one of the world’s oldest beer brands. This friendliness transcends social media channels, too.
If you Tweet Guinness, expect a response like this:
If you can’t be in Ireland, we’ll bring Ireland to you. Sláinte, Charlie!
— Guinness US (@GuinnessUS) June 30, 2017
And if you comment on an Instagram post, Guinness sends positive vibes your way.
This major beer brand uses social media not just for marketing, but also for:
- Customer service
- Building a community that feels warm, inviting and inclusive
- Sales, especially since followers tend to comment about the availability of a certain type of beer – and the social media managers quickly guide them to find their closest distributor
So if an old brand, with a core product of a stout beer, can modernize and resonate with consumers through social media, what can your brand do with it?