The Small Business Social Media Profiles is a series where BlogWorld talks with small businesses about how they’ve incorporated social media into their website, marketing, and promotion. We ask for their input and hopefully encourage you to further your social media reach!
This week we are talking with Deschutes Brewery, a brew pub founded in 1988 in downtown Bend, Oregon. They are very prominent in social media with over 15k followers on their Twitter and Facebook accounts. They’re also active on Flickr and have put together a Deschutes Brewery film that ties local landmarks to their beers.
When did you start integrating Twitter and Facebook into your business marketing and outreach?
We started a Facebook account in Mar. 2009 and Twitter in June 2008.
How did you begin promoting your account and encourage fans to follow you?
I would say, we post engaging information, facts, photos, and events that beer people want to see. We also have over 300 employees of which most follow us and get their friends to follow us too. We also have 2 pubs with information about how to follow us as well as an icon on our website and our e-newsletter.
Do you run any contests, or specials, or have other interesting activities in place for social media?
We have not run any contests but when we ask for suggestions and get some great ones, we’ll send off some swag as a thank you for the idea! EX: I was cooking dinner one night and asked fans to send me their recipes that use beer. I chose one that suggested Beer Cheese Soup and I made it. It was awesome so I send off a t-shirt for the idea.
Do you have a social media plan and/or policy in place?
Not written but we only have 2-3 administrators that can make posts on facebook & twitter and we’ve been to trainings about what to and what to not post.
Do you have social media goals for your business?
Our goals are primarily about interactions, not how many people follow or “like” us. We could have 1,000,000 followers but if there is no interaction…what’s the point? Some goals we’ve set for 2011 are 100 fan interactions per week on facebook, 50 retweets per week on twitter, 1-2 video posts per week, photos from around the brewery, and all upcoming events get posted as well.
Do you have a dedicated employee for social media or do you all interact?
We have 2 full time people dedicated to social media (Digital Marketing Director and Social Media Coordinator). We also have 1 staff at each pub that update beer, menu and pub happenings.
How important do you think social media is for a company, especially restaurants?
VERY, VERY, Mega Important! If there were no fans, there would be no Deschutes Brewery. We love keeping up with what people are saying about us and about other craft beer in the US and the world. Our fans are our “brand ambassadors”. Word of mouth spreads more quickly than any visual ads so when people have great things to say about us via social media, it quickly spreads and that’s the idea!
How do you deal with questions/concerns/complaints via social media? Do you ever fear being too accessible?
Our team has 2 different schedules: I work Sunday-Thurs and Jason Randles (Digital Marketing Manager) works Mon-Fri and we both check in on Saturdays or schedule tweets to go out on that day so every day of the week is covered via social media. If there is a question, comment, or complaint, we answer it right away. It may be as easy as a quick comment on twitter or facebook but if seems like a larger issue, I give out my e-mail address and ask them to tell me about their experience via e-mail & they always do. Then we figure out how we can help and defuse the situation right away so it doesn’t spread any further into cyberspace. Usually we make fans for life that way. I also answer all of the “contact us” e-mails that come in through our website (50-100 per week) and I get to everyone w/in 48 hours as long as I am not on vacation. If there is an issue, I again handle it right away and if a refund is required, I get that out right away with a hand written note and fans love it. We both love what we do so fear of being too accessible is not an issue right now but we do plan on expanding our distribution further east into the US (we are only distributing to 17 US states and BC now) so it may become an issue later on but maybe the staff in this department will grow with our distribution growth as well.
If you’d like to have your small business profiled, please shoot me an email with your name and website!