Social Media Marketing Interview with Richard Myers, Meantime Brewing
Here's the full transcript of an interview I did in July 2014 with Richard Myers, Marketing Director at Meantime Brewing (@RichMyers), who also happen to be the makers of my favourite beer of the moment Yakima Red. This Greenwich based brewery has been at the forefront of the new brewing revolution in the UK and they are also exemplary in the innovative ways that they use social media to market their brand. When I spoke to Richard, I was really impressed by the way that he approaches social media management, both practically and creatively, and as such I hope you'll find the interview an insightful read.
How did you first get involved in marketing and social media management?
I’ve always worked in the alcohol business. I started out working with Bacardi, then Jack Daniels and Miller Brand - Genuine Draft. About that time I got more into social media. At the start there was a lot of focus on FourSquare checkins and pre-checkins. Then after working with these bigger brands I moved to my current role at Meantime.
What social media channels do you use currently?
Facebook and Twitter are definitely our biggest channels. But we also use Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Our Facebook audience tends to be in the 25+ age group.
Which channel or channels are working out best for you so far?
Facebook and Twitter both work very well for us. We’re using Facebook advertising a lot more these days and the pre-roll option that’s now available on Facebook videos gives them much more impact as the video plays automatically when the newsfeed loads. Our Beer Hero videos have been very successful. Most beer producers seem to forget about the product and it’s all about the gloss around the brand. We’re really big on taking the message back to being all about the beer. Our ‘virtual sommelier’ videos and ‘Hops in A Box’ video promotions also go down really well.
How do you use your social media accounts? For marketing, research, recruitment or other purposes?
Certainly, we use it for marketing, but we use it regularly in a number of other ways. For example, we have asked our fans and followers to help us crowd source names for new beers or there was one occasion where we asked our social media followers to name a robotic arm we had installed in the brewery. We also talk about our brewery tours or the online store, and it’s a great medium for planting ideas for unusual gifts. For example, giving a brewery tour as a Father’s Day present.
We regularly look at how well we engage with our customers. For example, I monitor how quickly we respond to our customers messages across the channels. To keep our customers satisfied, I think it’s crucial to respond in the fastest possible time. We also keep a close eye on what our competitors are doing. I think there is always an opportunity to look and learn from what we see.
How important would you say social media is for Meantime?
I would say social media is hugely important for us. When I worked with the larger drinks brands in the past I have a substantially larger budget. Having less to play with forces you to be very targeted. Social media is great in that it enables you to be very focused, to quickly seed messages and you can attribute results more easily.
Have you had any particular successes with your social media in the past year?
Our ‘Hops in a Box’ campaign has been enormously successful over the past two years. In the first year, we gave away 15,000 boxes and last year that jumped to 25,000. We’ve mainly promoted this campaign on social media and in venue. Customers either picked up the boxes in venue or registered for them online. The campaign also resulted in a 25% increase in engagement both on our website and on our Facebook page. At one point we almost had to stop as we had 1,000 registrations in just six and half hours.
How do you manage your social media week to week?
We currently manage all our social media in house. We have one member of the marketing team focused on Facebook and another on Twitter. By keeping it in house, we believe we have much better access to information. It may come to a point where we have a full time social media manager who concentrates solely on these channels. I think it’s just going to get more important over time.
What’s your biggest issue using social media?
Always having something interesting to say.
Keeping the tone and personality consistent when you have a number of different people working on sending out posts.
What are your top tips for using social media within the drinks business?
Know who you want to talk to. Then find a way to talk the way they talk, you are going into their world. If you don’t communicate well, they’ll just switch off. Whatever you do, respect their environment!
You can follow Meantime Brewing on Twitter @MeantimeBrewing or on Facebook at facebook.com/meantimebrewing I also recommend you check out their fantastic video content on YouTube at: youtube.com/user/MeantimeBrewing
Richard Myers can be found on Twitter @RichMyers