Best practice for alcohol brands on social media

It’s back! The nation’s favourite. Drinking alcohol with friends in a sunny park is now a possibility once again as lockdown lifts. May it be tinned, bottled or plastic cupped, reaching your audience on social media before they hit the supermarket shelves is key in them purchasing your product in amongst a crowd of staple favourites. However, alcohol brands do have additional considerations when navigating the social media landscape, to stay responsible.

With this in mind, we take a look at what best practice for alcohol brands on social media platforms should look like.

Paid Social Media

In the UK, alcohol ads must not be directed at people under 18, or contain anything that is likely to appeal to them by reflecting youth culture. Any individuals that feature in alcohol ads must be 25 years of age or over and look it. When running advertising campaigns on social media, specific age ranges can be targeted to ensure your content is seen by the right audience. However, the internal advert approval process social media companies provide should not be seen as an overall green light. The Advertising Standards Authority can still remove adverts and fine you, if it is seen to be against the rules.

Some platforms such as Twitter also have age screening verification to ensure your organic content will not be seen by minors, but this is not a commonplace feature. We recommend including ‘18+’ or similar in your profile bio/header, to make this instantly obvious to prospective followers.

Influencer Content

We may feel like superheroes after a couple of drinks, but this is far from reality. UK rules state that any content, visual or written, should not be:

Linking the consumption of alcohol to increased popularity, sexual success, confidence, sporting achievements or mental performance; portraying drinking alcohol as a challenge or with tough or daring behaviour; encouraging people to adopt an unwise style of drinking such as binge drinking or showing it being served irresponsibly; suggesting alcohol has therapeutic qualities or can help you overcome your problems.

Whilst these qualities may already be in your mind when creating content, they may not be for influencers. Whilst it can be successful giving influencers full reign with your product to create content (as they know what their audience will like), for alcohol brands more of a conversation is needed. We recommended that both copy and imagery from influencers for alcohol brands needs to be vetted before posting.

Social Monitoring

Alcohol, ultimately, is a drug. It’s a serious thing to possess, and whilst many of us will post our antics online, alcohol brands do not want to be seen as condoning it. Unlike other brand verticals, alcohol brands will need to spend more time looking at user UGC, and making clear as to whether you want to directly attach yourself. Both Facebook and Instagram have ‘posting review’ features. Before a post appears on your page or tagged images, this can be reviewed, and accepted/deleted accordingly. It’s also exciting for anyone’s story to be ‘seen’ by a big brand, so even this may be seen as an acceptance of behaviour. In a similar fashion, brands can ‘delete’ story mentions, which never lets the user know if the brand saw the story or not.

Many alcohol brands on social media have been able to navigate these extra hurdles, creating spectacular content. Smirnoff’s use of influencers  is a great to engage new audiences and WKD partnering with Chloe Burrows is perfect timing for this year’s Love Island. Kylie Minogue Wine’s is another one to note with their Instagram Highlights for each individual product, providing an instantly swipeable catalogue.

Having worked with a wide number of alcohol brands, including Skinny Lager, Champagne PommeryKing of Soho Gin and Cult Wines to name just a few, our team are perfectly suited to advise you on how best to position you alcohol brand on social media. Get in touch today to find out more.

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