Social media channels like Instagram and Twitter are a great way to tell your brand's story, but they shouldn't just be used for businesses to market or promote themselves. Brands that strive to create authentic connections with their audience and customers on social media can see impressive results in engagement, as well as real growth in their communities.
For Tito's Handmade Vodka, engagement is an integral social media metric. Connecting with vodka lovers in an inclusive, authentic way is something Tito's takes very seriously, and the brand's social strategy is reflective of that vision.
Tito's uses Sprout Social to understand the industry atmosphere, develop a consistent social brand and create a dialog with its audience. As a result, Tito's was able to organically grow its Twitter and Instagram communities by 43.5% and 12.6%, respectively, within four months.
"We never viewed social media as another way to advertise," said Katy Gelhausen, Web & Social Media Coordinator. "We're on social so our customers can talk to us."
Here's how Tito's grew its social media engagement without the help of any ads - and how you can apply the same strategies to expand and strengthen your own social impact.
1. Apply Learnings From Social Monitoring to Larger Brand Initiatives
Keeping up with industry trends and social monitoring are both important when developing your brand's integrated marketing strategy. Being aware of the latest trends will lend your business insights into what people are looking for on social, and many of these trends can be identified by doing hashtag research.
Tito's quarterly cocktail program is a key to building its integrated marketing strategy - every quarter, a cocktail recipe is developed and distributed through Tito's online and offline marketing initiatives. Tito's needs to make sure each recipe is in line with both the brand's focus and larger industry direction.
To do this, Tito's uses Sprout's Brand Keywords to monitor industry trends and cocktail flavor profiles. The data is presented to the company's in-house mixology team and used to ensure the same quarterly recipe is disseminated to the brand's sales team and across marketing channels.
2. Encourage an Open Dialogue With Fans
Social monitoring is an important element in gathering insights for brand-building, but businesses should also aim to authentically connect with customers.
Tito's uses the Smart Inbox for this purpose, which displays Twitter and Instagram comments in a single, cohesive feed. This helps the brand manage inbound messages and quickly identify those which require a response.
On Twitter, Tito's approach is simple: engage in one-on-one, personal conversations with customers and fans. Dialog is a driving force for the company's brand, and using Twitter as an open line of communication between Tito's and its fans has resulted in a 162.2% increase in engagement and a 43.5% gain in followers. Tito's ended the quarter with 538,306 organic impressions - an 81% jump.
The brand applies a similar strategy to Instagram, which Tito's uses to foster and strengthen a relationship with fans by posting photos and videos of new recipe ideas, brand events and initiatives.
3. Give Your Audience What They Want
Your business' social media channels should use engaging content to tell your brand's story - and in order to do this well, businesses need to stay on top of what content customers are connecting with the most. In order to build your social platform, your brand must monitor what media is receiving the most engagement, analyze audience demographics and growth, delve into publishing patterns and quantify outbound hashtag performance.
On Instagram, Tito's mostly publishes lifestyle content and encourages followers to incorporate the brand into everyday occasions. Using their Instagram Profiles Report, Tito's has been able to measure the impact of its Instagram marketing strategy and alter its approach accordingly. By using the network as another way to engage with fans, the brand has steadily grown its organic audience.