Mixing The Perfect Promotional Cocktail: Alcohol Brands and Influencers

Tuesday Apr 21st, 2020

Alcohol Brands and Micro Influencers Feature Image

Imagine this photo: There is a sliver of sky in the background; it’s a perfect shade of forget-me-not blue. In the bottom third, you see a beach with sand so fine and white that it belongs in an hourglass.

The entire picture is framed in by two palm trees, fused together by a hammock, in which a smiling-adorning woman reclines, swinging in the light breeze. In her hand, she holds a bottle that shimmers with condensation but is still clear enough to showcase a thin line of effervescence. On the label, that’s just visible through her fingers, reads [insert your brand name here].

It’s not an ad we’re describing: It’s lifestyle content. At ApexDrop, we see posts like this created every day by real people who genuinely love the products they post about.

Between the authenticity of user-generated content and the incredible outcome of influencer campaigns, alcohol brands are excitedly tapping into the massive potential of influencer marketing. To figure out if it’s the right promotional strategy for you, we’re serving up a concoction of incredible insights and recommendations to position your beer, wine, or liquor brand for success.

Micro-Influencer Smiling with a Cocktail

Photo Cred: Everyday.Holly

Handpick Your Influencers

Alcohol brands need to be more selective about their influencers for one main reason: Everyone involved in the campaign must be 21 years or older. However, there are some additional reasons why alcohol brands need to vet their influencer carefully.

Firstly, it's essential to inspect each influencer's profiles for fake likes, comments, and followers. It's disconcertingly easy for fraudsters to fabricate a decent looking profile and trick brands into paying for a post. However, it's not just straight-up fakers you want to be on the lookout for. It's insincere celebs and money-motivated influencers who push out dispassionate posts about products.

Alcohol brands such as Sky Vodka and Smirnoff have already launched campaigns that celebrate equality and diversity, and the research shows that you should too. As a bonus, you'll probably discover a significant number of untapped markets.

While you can do influencer outreach yourself, it's an arduous process that takes a lot of time, money, and a team of keen-eyed curators to spot frauds. To make the process easier, we recommend that brands find an influencer marketing agency that vets and hand-selects influencers for their clients' campaigns.

Micro-Influencers hanging out with drinks

Photo Cred: AthenAsangulo

At ApexDrop, we have meticulously curated a network of lifestyle content creators that help brands steer clear of fakers and the pitfalls of "influencer marketplaces." Further, to help alcohol brands position themselves for success, we're able to analyze our influencers' followers to gain in-depth demographic information. This vetting process is vital when it comes to following digital marketing guidelines for alcohol brands.

Another reason we hand select our influencers is to ensure they're a contextual match for brands. While we always argue that variety is the spice of success, we do examine profiles and previous content to determine if a content creator is a good fit for a given campaign. Further, if an influencer has a history of promoting over-consumption, illegal action, or self-injurious behavior, we will not include them as they're breaking both Instagram and FTC guidelines.

Diversify Your Influencers & Shatter Stereotypes

Like we just mentioned, variety is vital to a successful campaign, but it's also a sign of an inclusive, equitable brand. So while it's critical to be meticulous about your selection process, you also want to capture a variety of people (and potentially pets) to showcase your brand.

Male and Female Micro-Influencers Hanging out By Pool

Photo Cred: AlyssaCastillo1

Historically, alcohol brands have used gender and race stereotypes in their advertising. It became (and continues to be) such a significant problem that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) added a new harm and offense principle that warns marketers about creating content that includes "gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offense." This rule also prohibits offensive content on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age.

Even in the absence of regulations, offensiveness does not win fans. Why not use your influencer campaigns to shatter stereotypes? Fruity flavors aren't just for the female palate, and whiskey isn’t just a man's drink. We recommend being bold with your variety and collaborating with influencers from different 21+ age groups, genders, sexual identities, education levels, and backgrounds.

Not only is this inclusive approach a great thing to do, but consumers want to see it. In a Cone Communications study, researchers found that:

  • 87% of consumers purchased a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about;
  • 88% are more loyal to companies that support social and environmental issues;
  • 89% of consumers would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause.

Alcohol brands such as Sky Vodka and Smirnoff have already launched campaigns that celebrate equality and diversity, and the research shows that you should too. As a bonus, you'll probably discover a significant number of untapped markets.

Understand Your KPIs

No one can seem to agree on a standard formula for measuring influencer-marketing ROI. One of the most significant problems that exacerbates this issue is that marketers and brand executives are unsure of what they should be measuring. To shed some light on ROI, here are the six key performance indicators that ApexDrop recommends brands look at:

  • Distribution (follower reach)
  • Engagement (number of likes/comments)
  • Insights (feedback to improve business process)
  • Return on Relationship (ROR)
  • Sales Lift (increase in sales)
  • User-Generated Content (UGC)

Mistakenly, brand executives and marketers often attempt to measure influencers campaigns exactly like they would a pay-per-click campaign. Point blank: This approach won't work. It's like calculating ROI from every conversation at a networking meeting. It's impossible. Further, you'll disregard the long-term value of building relationships, creating connections, and fostering trust.

Instead of thinking about ROI analogously to a cost-per-click campaign, we recommend thinking about it more like you're buying content and the distribution of that content. For the savvy marketer who wants more insights, we recommend implementing branded hashtags. Once established, hashtags will help you track your brand’s content.

Micro-Influencer drinking at party

Photo Cred: Dakota.Blaze.Rader

If you're interested in receiving even more in-depth insights, we've built an ROI calculator that drills down into the volumes of data that come from influencer campaigns. If you're interested in learning more about influencer marketing and how to measure the success of your campaigns, schedule a quick call.

Follow Guidelines

Influencer marketing agencies aren't in a position to offer legal advice. However, we do highly recommend that brands follow all applicable digital marketing guidelines for their particular products. To help you do that, we want to provide a couple of resources for your consumption:

Although influencer marketing agencies do their best to target with precision and guide age-appropriate influencers to produce FTC & FDA compliant content, it is ultimately up the alcohol brands to monitor what influencers are posting. Should there be an issue, it's up to marketers and brand executives to reach out to the creator directly or let their influencer agency know if corrective steps need to be taken to meet industry standards.

Pet Influencer for Alcohol Brands

Photo Cred: Tundra_theheeler

Find the Right Agency

Trying to manage an influencer marketing campaign in-house can be a sobering experience for brands. Between influencer outreach, recording data, and leveraging content, there is simply too much to handle. So, here’s what we suggest: find an agency that has a vetted network of influencers and will manage the entire campaign.

At ApexDrop, we drive high-quality traffic to websites, amplify brand awareness, build brand trust, and provide the lifestyle content you can use to increase conversion rates (ask about our lift metrics!). From Starbucks to Foster Grant, we've worked with many of the biggest retail brands to ramp up sales and generate volumes of professional-grade lifestyle content. If you're interested in learning more about ApexDrop, schedule a time to talk.