Brewing Up Excitement for Events with Social Media Marketing | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Granville Island Brewing

Brewing Up Excitement for Events with Social Media Marketing

Granville Island Brewing is a craft beer company with a target market scattered across the country. The brewery celebrated its second annual BrewSki Tour campaign, a two-week tour of local craft breweries and ski hills throughout British Columbia, Canada in February.

The BrewSki Tour was a community-driven initiative aimed at connecting with Granville Island Brewing’s colleagues and customers, both locally and across the country. The business has seen double-digit growth in sales in the region, so the campaign provided a great opportunity to accelerate that trend.

From the good brews to the great views, this is what our #BrewSkiTour is all about. Captured with @hitcase ✌

A photo posted by Granville Island Brewing (@granvillebeer) on

“Over the last few years, we’ve gotten distracted from our core values and from what matters most: our community,” says Dave Nicholls, the general manager at Granville Island Brewing. “The BrewSki Tour was a way for us to live our brand values and shine a light on a few of the best things BC has to offer: skiing and craft beer.”

Reaching fans and driving traffic to events

Granville Island Brewing fans are dedicated to the brand, beer, and lifestyle it represents. As a way to give back and celebrate together, the BrewSki Tour campaign aimed to draw fans out of the woodwork to drink local craft beer, hit the slopes, and experience B.C.’s mountain culture.

Social media allowed the team to share that brand experience with drinkers from coast to coast. Whether on the slopes of Sun Peaks, B.C., or aprèsing on Marble Mountain in Newfoundland, it’s important for the brand to connect with customers over a shared passion for great moments and great beer.

We made it to #CypressMountain and are ready to take the first run of our #BrewSkiTour. Let’s do this! #ItsGoodToBeHere

A photo posted by Granville Island Brewing (@granvillebeer) on

“We believe in the endless pursuit of welcoming beer drinkers to the wonderful world of craft beer,” says Nicholls. “Our business continues to grow because more beer moments include craft beer, yet awareness and growth rates are very different as we move from coast to coast.”

For two weeks, the Granville Island Brewing team jumped from mountain to brewery, hosting après-ski parties every night, launching social media contests and giveaways, and sharing lifestyle content to engage fans everywhere. Every event on the BrewSki Tour was at maximum capacity within the first five minutes—and the only event marketing the team did was on social media. In order to draw fans to the events and encourage participation, the team had to make a clear connection between digital marketing efforts and the experiential events.

Finding influencers to help expand reach

Influencer marketing is when you rely on key people in certain communities to support and drive awareness to your brand, event, or campaign. For the BrewSki Tour, these influencers were small town heroes within various local ski communities. The marketing team used a 70/30 influencer outreach mix—70 percent on Twitter and 30 percent on Instagram.

Granville Island Brewing opted for this mix because the sharing-focused nature of Twitter made it easier for the platform’s plethora of influencers to easily show their public support for the brand or event through a quick reply or Retweet. That kind of boost goes a long way for brand reach. It’s harder, however, to get Instagram influencers to share content for you, as the platform is less geared toward that type of interaction.

Using Hootsuite, they conducted keyword searches on Instagram and Twitter to find locals who had a strong voice and an engaged following in rural communities. By reaching out, engaging with them, and letting them know about the #BrewSkiTour events, Granville Island Brewing encouraged key community members to attend the tour.

“The BrewSki Tour was a few months in the making, building momentum through guest bloggers, partnerships, consumer, and media outreach,” shares Brionne Holland, brand manager at Granville Island Brewing. “During the tour, we used Hootsuite to engage our fans by geographic area for each of the communities we were planning to visit. We were able to connect with our local communities, find out their hometown hidden gems, and keep them informed of planned events—days before we were going to visit.”

If a local influencer says that they’re attending an event, others are more likely to come too.

“When you’re dealing with tight-knit cultures like ski and après, it’s so important for people to hear about events from their own community members and peers,” says Holland. “Peer-to-peer recommendations always win over a brand’s self promotion.”

Beyond influencer marketing, they shared geo-targeted Facebook posts—both organic and paid social—to spread awareness about the BrewSki Tour and its events. They kept up with local conversations with the help of Hootsuite’s geo-targeted listening capabilities, and encouraged them to join the tour in person.

In a quick survey upon check-in at the après-ski events, about half of the people who attended said they had seen an Instagram ad.

Making a local campaign relevant to a larger audience

Granville Island Brewing wanted to showcase its brand and culture, while making the local campaign relevant to international audiences. Because the brand revolves around West Coast culture, any content created throughout the mountaintop tour would naturally be on-brand. A lot of social media engagement that happened during the campaign made sure national audiences felt involved. For example, they ran a nation-wide social media contest to win a Hitcase and ran a light hearted petition to create a national après ski day.

“We shared the broader story with our national audience in a clean and uncluttered way,” says Holland. “With our BrewSki Team scattered and exploring the mountains and villages during the tour, Hootsuite allowed a variety of people to post, engage, and plan, without missing a beat.”

Compared to January 2016, which represents data consistent with average channel health for Granville Island Brewing, February saw the following growth (month over month):

  • 101 percent increase in Twitter engagement
  • 513 percent increase in Instagram engagement
  • 54 percent increase in Facebook engagement
  • 43 percent average community growth among Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

With this one campaign, the Granville Island Brewing team brought the focus back to what really matters: their community. And what better way to bond with dedicated fans than by celebrating great beer and good times together?

Learn more about how other customers #WinWithSocial using Hootsuite.