Melyssa Glassman, Creative Director at New Belgium Brewing will be sharing her local Facebook strategy at the ad:tech SF “Marketing Masters” series.
Here’s a Q&A between Melyssa and I as Marketing Master of the Social Media track covering her latest insights.
First, tell me a little about your role at New Belgium. What do you oversee?
As Creative Director, I oversee our seven-person in-house creative team which includes print, packaging and web designers, programmers, and media planning. I also work with our external agency on advertising campaigns. Partnering with sales internally, I help concept and create fully-integrated national sales programs. I also work closely on our social media efforts and write content for our online presence.
How do you pigeonhole social media marketing in your mind? For example, I think it has two basic buckets, Social Listening and Social Participation. From there would be eCRM, Lead Gen, other kinds of outcomes. How do you organize your thinking about the category?
Our plan in 2009 was to identify the social technology that New Belgium had bandwidth to engage and where we were seeing the most traction; this turned out to be Facebook. Also, we wanted to aggregate a critical mass of fans/followers, so that when we evolve our social media/networking efforts we had a significant audience. E-commerce is not a part of business, so the primary goal is to have a dialogue with our fans and to grow our tribe.
How would you typify your overarching social media strategy?
Engagement. As a brand we enjoy a constituency that in many ways cannot get enough of our brand – or us of them! So Facebook has become an invaluable two-way communications tool to share stories, images and films.
What are the laundry list of programs in which you are involved in social media, by corporate initiative and by brand?
Mainly Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We invest heavily in films, imagery and art across all programs/initiatives and having our content viewed/shared is critical to the success of our social efforts.
Localizing our message has been a social initiative for 2010. We have created a socially optimized facebook map in effort to share our brand message locally. As a brand our primary competition is local and variety, so using facebook to announce events and promotions locally helps us demonstrate we are locally engaged. Really our brand and the people that work for New Belgium have colorful and charismatic personalities and facebook is way to share the company message and things unrelated to work that make New Belgium competitively distinct.
What kind of "meta tools" or aggregation or syndication tools do you use to streamline your efforts in the social sphere?
With our local facebook efforts we oversee 28 different pages, some geo-targeted and some event specific. We occasionally syndicate content across all pages, but typically do not, as we do not want the content to be redundant and want to to keep the content fresh and relevant to each market.
How important are "influencers" in your overall social strategy? Do you target them? Try to identify them? Have special programs for them? Or is every follower a potential customer/prospect, all people created equal in your social operating plan?
Over the last 19 years our brand has been built by brand “evangelists” and continues to be so today, the social web enables us to scale the influence of those evangelists. We use social media monitoring tools to identify influential individuals and we engage them with a facebook comment, a retweet or a direct message. In 2009, we opened North Carolina as a new market and used SM2 to indentify influential individuals on the social web and reached out to them, this helped create a ground swell of buzz for our brand entering the market and North Carolina quickly emerged to be one of our top markets.
As a brand our three pillars are great beer, whimsy and sustainability. These attributes can mean many things and can be interpreted in a variety of ways, so there is an element of all people being equal with our social media efforts. With the depth of story to our brand, the more we are able to share with people the more quantity and quality of followers we will have. In many ways it is incumbent on us to convert the quantity into quality.
What's your position on measuring ROI in social media? What metrics do you track now and what do you hope to be able to track in the future?
Our tracking has been very subjective to date, but more quantifiable than many branding efforts. We have attained a strong following (primary metric) and now we are concerned with engagement. Recently on facebook we asked our fans at 5pm on a Friday – Who thinks it is beer :30) and we had 1,500 reactions in about an hour, this resulted in 197,000 peer endorsement impressions at the prime time for individuals making decisions about beer. We feel this level engagement is a success. So, engagement is a metric that is of critical importance.
Do you use social for leads, corporate reputation, SEO, engaging with existing clients... rank order your strategy goals.
- Brand relevance ( Deepening the brand story)
- SEO (facebook is now our #1 referrer to our website)
What will you be sharing on the ad:tech Social Media Masters Track in April?
The importance of facebook/Social Media as a communication tool and tactics we have used to grow our presence and engagement.