How Social Media and Millennials Impact the Alcohol Industry
For businesses and brands today, social media is a necessary and important aspect of a marketing strategy. Certain industries adopted social media as a platform to reach customers in the early stages while others are still testing the waters.
For marketers in the alcohol industry, one of the biggest challenges they face is age restriction. Early versions of social networks made it difficult for social media marketers to determine which users were above the legal drinking age. When considering how large the Millennial demographic is, it is understandable that this is a pitfall for alcohol companies.
Luckily, social networks have begun catching up with these issues and are taking steps that will not only help the alcohol industry, but should be very helpful for social media marketers in general. Twitter and Buddy Media recently joined forces to create a free tool designed to verify age.
As reported by AdWeek, "when users attempt to follow a liquor, beer or wine brand on the social site, they will automatically receive a direct message on Twitter from the company, directing them to an age screening page. If they give an age that meets the requirement of their local drinking law, the consumers will be able to follow alcohol brands."
When Facebook rolled out Timeline, they also included age gating features in their new layout. Brands and businesses can now designate their content inappropriate for certain age groups. These improvements will open up huge possibilities for the alcohol industry.
Andrea Javor, a digital executive for Jim Beam explained, "We have been overly cautious on Twitter. We've done probably what I consider to be a very minimal emphasis in terms of funding and focus because they didn't have that age gate in place. We are really excited that we have this greater level of confidence that we are reaching [of-age] consumers."
According to a recent study, Millennials make up about 20% of the US population. The Millennial generation varies in definition, people born somewhere between the late 70s early 80s and through the mid 90s. About 72% of this group drinks alcoholic beverages and they are the largest generation since the Baby Boomers. The members of this generation are also more likely to try a new drink more so than those of any other age group.
Based on the new technology and age restrictions that are being developed for social networks, marketers will now have an easier time reaching this target market and engaging with the Millennial generation. Furthermore, if this technology becomes available for all brands and businesses, marketers will be able to strategically interact with audiences based on age and preferences. It will be interesting to see what other "-gate" restrictions and technology will be developed as well as how the alcohol industry will use this new technology to its advantage.
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