Spirits brands 'call time on Twitter'

Barely a week after pub giant Wetherspoons announced its departure from social media, new research suggests spirits brands have been abandoning Twitter in droves.

Auchentoshan is one of several spirits brands which appear to have deserted Twitter, says YesMore
Auchentoshan is one of several spirits brands which appear to have deserted Twitter, says YesMore

However, Twitter has disputed the study's findings, saying it does not reflect the investment made by brands on the social media platform (see comment below).

The study, carried out by specialist marketing agency YesMore, tracked the Twitter accounts for more than 80 spirit brands including Absolut, Sailor Jerry, Malibu, Laphroaig, Bombay Sapphire and Aperol.

The 111 accounts analysed had over two million followers combined, and more than 21 percent had over 20k followers individually.

However, despite this strong appetite from fans, several booze brands have decided to abandon the micropublishing platform.

For instance, Scotch whisky brand Auchentoshan hasn’t tweeted since October last year.

Before its departure from the platform it had built up almost 19k followers. And its fans remain vocal, using the Auchentoshan hashtag and tweeting at the brand.

Followers are starting the conversation, but if the whisky is listening - it’s not responding.

Meanwhile, whisky/bourbon brands that are engaged with Twitter tend to do well, making up half of the brands that rated as good or excellent for engagement. So, while Auchentoshan stays silent - its competitors are gaining ground.

And the whisky brand isn’t alone.

More than 40 per cent of the accounts tracked hadn’t posted in the past month and almost a third of brands have been quiet for three months. Over one in five hadn’t engaged on Twitter for over a year.

Other notable spirit brands to abandon Twitter include Beefeater gin and David Beckham’s Haig Club whisky.

Tom Harvey, new client director at YesMore Agency, said: "While some brands have migrated to other platforms, or focused efforts elsewhere, many have simply gone, without any notice or suggestion to followers that they might like to find the brand elsewhere."

This may be a missed opportunity for brands. Some 40 per cent of those that haven’t tweeted in over a month were rated as having good or excellent levels of engagement before they stopped.

YesMore says this shift away from Twitter may be a result of account fatigue.

Hardly surprising when you consider that many brands will operate in several regions, often owning a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account in each, and sometimes running up to as many as 20 social media accounts.

Harvey added: "[Brands] are simply getting overwhelmed with places which they are supposed to post content - and the days of ‘getting the intern to do it’ are long gone.

"It seems that some need to reinvent how they use social media to come up with a strategy that works across all platforms with whatever level of resource and investment the brand has."

Consolidation of accounts may be the way forward - something that seems to have worked for Makers Mark. The bourbon brand abandoned its UK account a year ago, but has renewed focus on its global account, which now boasts 126k followers.

Consequently, Makers Mark landed a spot in YesMore’s top five performing spirit Twitter accounts. The agency found that the best performing accounts had four features in common:

1) A high frequency of posts (20+ a week)

2) Recent posts (within the past month)

3) Have good or excellent engagement

4) Use community management to engage

Besides Makers Mark, just four brands achieved all these hallmarks of a good Twitter strategy, according to YesMore.

These were Sipsmith (@sipsmith), Bombay Sapphire’s distillery account (@homeofbombay), Absolut in the US (@ABSOLUTvodka_US) and Jameson in the US (@Jameson_us).

However, a Twitter spokesperson said: "This research only looks at a small sample of organic Tweets, which is not reflective of a brand's investment on Twitter and as such is wholly misleading. Spend is up 30 per cent for some of our top advertisers and there are more first time brands active than ever."

In a statement, Beefeater said: "Social media is an important part of our marketing strategy and we use a range of channels. Our priority is to connect with our audiences where they most want to hear from us and, because that can vary from country to country, each market will use social media differently."

Last week, Wetherspoons, which has 44k followers on Twitter, announced that the pub chain was leaving the social media platform.

This article was updated on Wednesday morning with comment from Twitter.

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