Whisky brands in digital and social – Speyburn

During the day when I’m not fighting crime and helping old ladies cross the road, I have the pleasure of working on marketing and advertising a whisky brand and I recently read an article on single malt whisky brands and how they perform in the digital space. With this being a subject close to my (professional) heart, I wanted to follow up on the article with a look at one of the brands mentioned in the article and explore some of the opportunities that digital and in particular social media have to offer.

The brand that I chose to look at is Speyburn and taking a quick glance at their website, you can buy whisky from the site (they use shopify for their ecommerce) but overall, there’s not really a huge amount going on. The most interesting thing you can do is sign up to ‘Clan Speyburn’ and in return for giving them your preciously guarded personal details, you will  receive a welcome pack, pin badge, and a regular newsletter.

Venturing off their website and onto Facebook, there is a Speyburn page which has 2,650+ followers but again not a huge amount going on (for the record the Swedish Speyburn page has 2900+ likes and more activity going on). Intermittent bursts of activity are about as good as it gets here.

Further afield on Twitter they don’t have actually an account and don’t tell them, but people are actually talking about Speyburn on Twitter… OK so they aren’t exactly a trending topic, but there is enough conversations mentioning them specifically  and  DEFINITELY enough conversations going on about whisky in general for them to want to try and grab a piece of the action!

Overall they really should try harder with their presence in digital as currently it’s a bit of a token effort at best.

What Speyburn should do:

(This is based on the twin assumptions that they would like to make more people aware of their brand and ultimately sell more whisky!)

  1. They should listen in on the social conversations which mention them, their industry and their competitors.
  2. Analyse the conversations that they have listened to; what are people saying, who is saying it, where are they saying it and what drives people to engage?
  3. Based on this analysis, they should create a plan around providing content that whisky and Speyburn fans will be interested in to try and grow their social presence and to build more awareness of the brand. The content they create should be housed on their website to encourage traffic and so that they can work to capture information and drive e-commerce. Looking at what works for other brands they should consider behind the scenes news and pics as well as consider activities like photo driven competitions to try and increase fan and follower involvement. A potential source of existing content is YouTube where there are already videos of people tasting and reviewing their whisky. Other activities they could try are tweet tastings and blogger outreach in an attempt to tap into existing whisky communities.
  4. In terms of trying to sell more whisky, there are plenty of B2B conversations to tap into; pubs and bars talking about brands, tasting events happening and retailers mentioning the whisky they sell – all of these conversations represent potential customers who can be engaged with on or offline.

Overall I think that Speyburn’s digital/social presence is symptomatic of a wider trend, where most companies, brands and organisations feel that they should do more in digital and social in particular but after a short time lose interest. As with anything in marketing, their activities should be linked to the overall  strategy for the brand with a plan put in place for how they are going to achieve their objectives They then they need to stick to the plan.

All easier said than done and certainly easy to say from the comfort of home!

Social Media and Tourism – is there anybody out there?!

I’m not long back from a little ‘stay-cation’ down in the South West of England and ahead of my trip I sent out a few tweets about the area hoping for some advice on places to go, things to see and good places to eat but I got NOTHING back in reply. I felt like the Twitterverse had abandoned me! Undeterred, I continued to try and find out if anyone was out there but I was further dismayed to find a general lack of use of social media and general lack of interaction. The campsite we stayed at had a Twitter account but hadn’t been active for a LONG time, I went paddle boarding and had a great time but the place we got a lesson from doesn’t have a twitter account, I went to the River Cottage Axminster Deli, Tweeted about them AND checked in on Foursquare and got no response (despite the fact that they are seemingly pretty active on Twitter with over 1,000 tweets and over 2,600 followers).

All of this left me feeling that businesses are missing out by not getting more involved in social media, especially in the tourism sector as people love to talk about what they have planned and what they do/did on holiday. Travel and tourism depends on word of mouth to spread recommendations and opinions, and social media allows people to quickly share these thoughts.

Tips for Social Media and Tourism

  • If you operate a business in tourism, have a presence in Social Media! For most this will be a Facebook and/or a Twitter account, but find out where relevant conversations are happening and explore other platforms.
  • Do some basic monitoring. Use something like hootsuite to have some searches set up. These could be based on your geographical location, your specific business, your competitors etc. basically to pick up on conversations that could result in new customers or find out what people are saying about you.
  • Engage with people. If someone has taken the effort to follow you, like your page, tweet about you or post about you at least acknowledge them!
Social Media and tourism info.
  • Check out the social media in travel and tourism awards, this is what the big players have been up to. You might not have their budget but that doesn’t mean you can’t take inspiration from their ideas!
  • Imagery can be so powerful in marketing in general so have a look at this tnooz article on why imagery is dominating social media in travel in 2012.
  • On a more local level, check out #scotlandhour on their website and on twitter, a great initiative giving tourists a place to find out more about Scotland and businesses a platform to promote themselves.
What are your experiences of social media in tourism? Maybe you are a business making social media work for you or maybe you don’t know where to start!? Would love to know your thoughts!