Dispatches from Canadean International Beer Strategies, Amsterdam

Are you Twitter ready? Social media strategies must add value, says Twitter guru

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Are you Twitter ready? Social media strategies must add value, says Twitter guru

Related tags Value added Brand

Social media strategies need to refrain from insistently pushing brands; but instead add value for consumers, explains Ashley Vinson, head of brand strategy Benelux, Twitter. 

Speaking at the Canadean International Beer Strategies Conference in Amsterdam last week, Vinson says social media can help sell beer and drive sales – but tweets need to be relevant, authentic and timely.

Take, for example, Carlsberg’s recent tongue-in-cheek ‘Are you beer body ready’ ad and tweet, which responded to the backlash against Protein World’s ‘Are you beach body ready’ advert and added something to the conversation.

carlsberg are you beer body ready
Carlsberg's advert, alongside the original from Protein World

Crashing a party

Vinson said too many brands fall into the trap of pushing their products insistently: “Isn’t our beer great, it tastes amazing, it’s great to drink,” for example.  

“You think about it – it’s a narcissistic way to talk about your brand,”​ said Vinson. Instead, social media has to add something more.

“The analogy I use is the theory of crashing a party,” ​she said. “We, as advertisers, are not necessarily invited to the consumer’s party – we’re essentially crashing.

“Imagine yourself in the consumer’s shoes, having this party… some random person turns up… how welcome is he going to be?

“That depends on the guy that’s crashing. Is he showing up with a 12 pack of beer? Is he showing up with some funny jokes? Is he showing up to help clean, did he bring something to eat? Has he actually added value to the party?

“That’s the thing we think about with social: it’s not necessarily talking about yourself and how great you are, it’s talking about the value you can add.”

Beer trivia from Leffe's Twitter account

So how do we do social?

The good news, says Vinson, is that social media follows many existing principles.

“It’s actually not as hard as you might think, the old rules of marketing still apply. There’s the right audience, right content, right moment.”

Her three top tips are as follows:

1)      Know what people like.
Tweet information, interesting facts, help, and entertainment (see Leffe's '#Leffology' series, pictured right).

2)      Be authentic.
Earlier this year Protein World faced a backlash​ for its ‘Are you beach body ready’ ad, with critics saying the posters – which featured a slim woman in a bikini – were offensive, irresponsible, and harmful for promoting an unhealthy body image.
Carlsberg quickly responded with its ‘Are you beer body ready’ ad, which took to Twitter as well (see below).
“It was a very clever way of paying attention to what is going on now in society,”​ said Vinson. “It adds something to the conversation that is taking place, and builds brand love and affinity.”

3)      Show up at the right time.
“If you’re not showing up at the right time, you’re missing an opportunity to be relevant and connect with your consumer,”​ said Vinson. Coincide tweets with events, sporting leagues, themed days, etc, she suggests.

Are you beer body ready: the reaction from users on Twitter

carlsberg beer body insert

beer body response 1
beer body 2
beer body 3
beer body 4

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