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5 mistakes Beverage Businesses Make on Instagram and How to Fix Them

5 mistakes Beverage Businesses Make on Instagram and How to Fix ThemWith more than 1 billion users on Instagram – 500 million of whom log in every day – it’s an ideal social media channel to use photos, videos, gifs and other imagery to share your products and interact with an audience of current or future customers.

Whether you’re a national brewery, natural beverage producer, or local coffee shop, Instagram gives you a platform to showcase your beverage products and customers who drink them. However, it’s not as simple as just posting photos.

Here are five mistakes beverage companies make on Instagram, and how to avoid them.

1. Mistake: Not taking advantage of hashtags

#Coffee has been used in more than 90 million posts – that’s nearly 25,000 photos per day. #Craftbeer has been used in more than 11 million Instagram posts.

Hashtags make your brand and content more searchable and discoverable. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag receive 12.5% more engagement, and the sweet spot for number of hashtags is between 7-11.

You can use hashtags to get your audience involved through branded and user-generated content, and drive actions and participation, such as encouraging users to use the same hashtags as you to win a contest or be featured on your page.

70% of hashtags are branded – so make them specific to your company or a marketing campaign. Also use community hashtags, like #drinksofig, #drinkoftheday, #happyhour or #coffeetime. These help you remain relevant in the beverage industry. Users can search for community hasthags, so if your photos show up in the search results, you can gain greater exposure to the audience.

You can also use trending hashtags to help give you more targeted results. Keep in mind your hashtag should be relevant to the photo you’re posting. Don’t just use hashtags for the sake of using them!

2. Mistake: Only posting pictures of your products

Social media posts should follow the general marketing 80/20 rule: 80% of content should inform, educate and entertain your audience, and only 20% should directly promote your business.

While pictures of your coffee or craft brew cans should be a part of your strategy, it shouldn’t be the only part. Have a user-generated content strategy, use product hashtags, and search for customers who are posting about your drinks.

Perhaps they are drinking a Red Bull while hiking through a National Park, or sipping an iced Arizona Tea on a beach. By sharing these posts, you are making your Instagram about more than just your product, you are making it about the customers and the experience of your drink.

If you have a physical location, like a brewery or coffee shop, post pictures of your customers or employees. Share behind-the-scenes photos of making your products, post videos of a band playing live music over the weekend, and share photos of events happening in your location’s neighborhood.

When you do post about your product, mix it up. Instead of posting a picture of a pint glass, post a group of friends having a drink together. Be creative and your audience will forget you are actually promoting your products.

3. Mistake: Not engaging with your customers

There are 8 million companies using Instagram to communicate to, and with, their customers. One of the great things about social media is the ability for two-way communication with your audience. Not only can they talk to and about you, you can talk back.

One mistake companies make is not engaging with their audience. If your customers are taking time to talk to you, you should take time to talk back. Here are some tips:

  • Comment on their comments. Thank them, answer questions, and if they have a negative experience, apologize and make it right. Show them you are listening and care about what they have to say.

There are a number of ways you can interact with your audience just based on their comments on your posts.

  • Give them free stuff. People love free stuff. Social media is a great opportunity to run contests to help drive traffic to your locations or increase product sales. You can even gather customer information by asking them to enter their email or phone number in order to enter into the contest.

Offer a free 6-pack of your new brew, $5 off their next visit to your coffee shop, a free t-shirt or water bottle. You can even go bigger, like a free brewery or winery tour, or a 4-day vacation sponsored by your company.

The opportunities are endless – and they don’t need to be expensive or complicated to work.

  • Invite them to your locations. If you’re hosting a new product launch party, having live music at your location, or participating in the local holiday parade, invite your customers to join you. Make it personal – we want you to join us, we want to celebrate with you, or come hang out with us.

Don’t be afraid to tell your audience exactly what you want, and by inviting them to share your product with you, you’re making yourself seem human and more than just a beverage company.

  • Share their posts. Again, take advantage of user-generated content. Run a contest asking your audience to share photos of them with your beverage and share the winner on your own page. Post an image of a customer in your brewery and tag them. Thank them when they post about you and offer them an exclusive offer.

There are a number of ways you can make your audience feel special and engaged. Your customers are already posting about you, so use their images and videos to not only engage with them, but also make your brand more human and exciting.

4. Mistake: Not having a goal-oriented content strategy

Don’t be on Instagram – or any social media channel – just to say you’re on there. Solely posting pictures to your profile isn’t enough. You need to have a strategy and reason you are posting.

What are your goals for your Instagram profile? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your locations or website? Build your email subscriber list? Your posts should reflect your goals. Your Instagram won’t be successful if you’re only posting pictures of your products. You must engage, have a variety of content, and tell a story about your brand.

You should also have a way to measure success and prove ROI. Tracking your metrics, like impressions, clicks, hashtag use and engagement can tell a story about whether your strategy is working – or not. Continually optimize your strategy to grow followers and engagement with your brand.

5. Mistake: Not using influencers

Social media influencers are people on social media who have established credibility and a following in a specific industry. They could be in food and drink, fashion, music or marketing. They have access to a large audience, and can persuade that audience to follow or purchase a product through their posts via authenticity and reach.

While some common influencers are celebrities, like Kylie Jenner or Beyoncé, others are regular people who have built a following through their social channels, like Huda Kattan (beauty blogger) or Michelle Lewin (fitness guru).

Your influencers don’t have to have a following of millions, or even thousands. By working with people who have authority in your industry or community, you can increase your reach and product authenticity. Do a search of influencers in your industry, or talk to local “celebrities” about working together to promote your product. 

Beverage Brands Killing It On Instagram

Here are a few examples of beverage businesses that are successful on Instagram. Learn about what they are doing well, and how you can emulate them in your own strategy.


Starbucks has long been a big player in the social media game. With more than 17.3 million Instagram followers, they use their profile to share photos of their products in visually appealing ways, announce product launches (like the infamous pumpkin spice latte), and engage with their customers.

5 mistakes Beverage Businesses Make on Instagram and How to Fix ThemTheir profile is about more than just coffee – it’s about a lifestyle. They use hashtags to create excitement among users and share a standard for their products. More than 10 million people post #Starbucks. Their images are compelling, visually appealing, and interesting. For Starbucks, coffee is about an experience.

Red Bull

When it comes to integrating your overall marketing strategy into your social media, Red Bull has succeeded. With 10.6 million followers, their Instagram reflects the lifestyle and focus on the customers they are trying to attract.

5 mistakes Beverage Businesses Make on Instagram and How to Fix ThemIf you scroll through their Instagram, you won’t see a lot of photos featuring actual products. Instead, their feed embodies the lifestyle they represent through powerful branding.

Califia Farms

Califia Farms is a natural beverage company who recently won top honors in the global packaging design category from Beverage World Magazine. Instagram is a perfect platform to show off their attractive packaging to their more than 211k followers.

5 mistakes Beverage Businesses Make on Instagram and How to Fix ThemThey have a variety of products, and their posts show them off in different ways, whether the main subject of the photo, or something in the background. Their imagery is crisp and clean, and represents their overall brand.

Titos Handmade Vodka

In addition to their Titos Instagram, this brand also runs Vodka for Dog People – sending a brand statement of ending homelessness for pets to more than 26.2k followers. This profile taps into our love of dogs and engages customers to be influencers.

5 mistakes Beverage Businesses Make on Instagram and How to Fix ThemThey post photos of pets that need to be adopted, or were previously adopted, shared by brand loyalists. They are not only creating awareness for pet adoption, but they are also promoting their brand ambassadors and customers.

This is a great example of extending your brand on social media to be more than your product, but something people care about and engage with.

Dogfish Head Brewery

Dogfish Head Brewery uses stunning photography, fun captions and various hashtags to promote their beers to more than 360k followers. They also share up-to-date happenings, new product releases and fun events at their breweries to engage and build a relationship with their audience.

5 mistakes Beverage Businesses Make on Instagram and How to Fix ThemNot only do they post their own products, they share user-generated content promoting their brews. They also give behind-the-scenes looks at their brewery, which is a great way to engage with audiences.

For more information visit Dragonfly Digital Marketing website.

About Caitlyn Callahan

Caitlyn Callahan is a digital marketing writer for Dragonfly Digital Marketing. She has more than 10 years of experience in the journalism and communication fields and has worked for newspapers, magazines, and marketing teams for both large and small companies. Caitlyn lives in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and loves traveling, reading, being outdoors and her family, including her dog, Coco.

View all posts by Caitlyn Callahan →

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