Just as it has been for the Hotel and Hair Care & Color industries, Instagram has also proven to be Beer brands’ favorite emerging social network. Now with 100 million monthly active users (and growing), Instagram is young, mobile-friendly, constantly creative, and just the kind of interactive social media platform on which mega beer brands and niche craft brands alike can build and engage with their loyal fan-bases. Though just 61 percent of the 50 beer brands assessed in our Digital IQ Index: Beer study are active on Instagram, that number will assuredly grow over the next 12 months. The average size of these communities and which brands lead the pack are very different from what they are on traditional platforms like Facebook, where the top 3 are: 1. Heineken (11.8M) 2. Bud Light (5.6M) 3. Budweiser (3.9M). As you can see from the graphic below (click for more detail), Instagram is a much more “intimate” social setting.
The most popular brand, Pabst Blue Ribbon, has a following of 27K (as of today)–less than 10 percent of its Facebook community and less than half its Twitter community. Compared to other verticals, Instagram communities across beer remain particularly small, with an average follower count of about 2,000. Following PBR is social standout New Belgium, whose Twitter community (among individual, not aggregated brand pages) is by far the industry’s largest at 148K. Something both these brands have done successfully is to capture their brands’ playful spirits through humorous images (that’s one of New Belgium’s above right), regular commenting and getting fans inspired to join their conversations through hashtags and “regrams.” Pabst Blue Ribbon, in particular, because of its pop-art brand image and ironic “lowbrow” reputation, has been able to connect with Instagram’s young audience. And speaking of young, Instagram, like Twitter, has no age-gate, eliminating one of the industry’s bigger hurdles in building large communities online.
Given the much smaller community sizes, many brands may hesitate as to whether Instagram is worth the same devotion as say, Facebook or Twitter. The answer is unequivocally it is. Instagram is where the young people are, and they are on there in droves–recent data shows that upwards of 40M photos are uploaded each day with the mobile app. And as the saying goes, young people really like beer.