Growler Deliveries: How celebrating community on social media can elevate your brand

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There’s a small bit of kindness afoot in Regina’s social media scene that made me shout “YES!” at my phone the other day. I love stumbling upon little gems of awesomeness in my feed and it was a single post from Regina’s Rebellion Brewing Company that was responsible for my cheer.

Now, I have always been a fan of Rebellion’s social media presence (and their beer!). They get it. Their feed is interesting, consistent, funny and even educational. But this one post made me love them even more. Here it is:

Rebellion Brewing Country Corner Doughnuts

It’s a simple Facebook post celebrating another local business and business owner (they dropped off growlers of beer to Country Corner Donuts’ Vuong Pham) in Regina’s Warehouse District. So I went to their page and scrolled through and found a couple more posts I hadn’t seen yet. (They also dropped of Rebellion growlers at Comfort Mechanical and Love Plus, each time saluting the businesses and giving a bit of their history).

Now, Rebellion has always been known as a wonderful corporate citizen – they’ve donated thousands of dollars to local organizations and charities like the Regina Cat Rescue and the Regina Food Bank through their Community Tap Series. So what’s the big deal about this little post?

Image Source: Rebellion Brewing Co. Facebook Page

This is social media done right. And here’s why. Rebellion doesn’t need these businesses to sell its beer – it’s highly unlikely that Country Corner Donuts will ever have beer on tap (although if they did, I’m sure the wizards at Rebellion would come up with something appropriate!). Through the very nature of these posts, however, Rebellion Brewing is actively strengthening its community and celebrating its neighbours, all the while elevating its own brand.

Rebellion’s posts remind me of an amazing story I heard at the Politics ONLINE conference in Washington, DC in 2010. The event included presenters like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, FourSquare and other heavy hitters in the industry at the time.  I couldn’t wait to hear from these brand reps. What surprised me the most, however, was that it was a presentation on social media from Los Angeles’ Roxy Theatre owner Nick Adler that left the most lasting impression with me – a presentation that I still talk to my clients about today.

Adler’s presentation, “How Social Media Saved the Sunset Strip,” made me sit up straight in my chair and take in every last word. Adler talked about how in 2006, the Strip was a far cry from what it had been in its hey day. Tower Records had closed its door after 46 years in business. Graffiti and gangs were taking over the neighbourhood, and several clubs in the area, including the Viper Room, Whiskey A Go Go and the Comedy Store, were hurting as patrons went elsewhere in L.A.

The Roxy Theatre

The Roxy. (Image Source: The Roxy Theatre, www.theroxy.com)

One of the first things Adler says the Roxy started doing was actually reviewing online feedback about the business. It was not pleasant; as fans complained about the state of the neighbourhood, drink prices and quality, parking and more. But it was worth it, he said, as listening helped them understand what was really going on and allowed them to actually have a conversation with the club guests. As a result, the Roxy started to make positive changes that addressed these concerns in an effort to attract people back to the Strip.

The big breakthrough, however, came with the Roxy retweeting a tweet from the neighbouring Viper Room that had just popped up on Twitter. Prior to this, businesses on The Strip operated as silos, Adler explained, and never would have dreamed about mentioning another local business. The Comedy Store and the Roxy had been in the neighborhood for more than 30 years, Whiskey A Go Go forty years, and the Viper Room 13 years at that time. After that first retweet, The Roxy started mentioning other local businesses and sharing what was happening at those venues and those businesses did the same.

Deciding to retweet them ended up being the best choice, because shortly afterward, a new bond was formed and other clubs on the Strip began to take notice. The Comedy Store down the street got on Twitter and joined the conversation, and from there it just went from one business to the next, and it just grew. And because we had started this new relationship — a clean slate — it didn’t have anything to do with the bookers, or who had more people at their show, or anything.’ Adler said. ‘It was a whole new relationship that was created online with the clubs.’ Beyond revitalizing an audience of patrons, … the Sunset Strip’s embracing of social media led to a regrouping of business owners who are taking a fresh approach to their local community.” (MASHABLE)

The result: attendance at the Roxy and the Viper Room went up 30 per cent and other clubs were revitalized as well. Bands were knocking on the door to come back. The neighbourhood cleaned up and became the place to go for music in Los Angeles again. And lastly, the relationship formed between the businesses enabled them to come together and approach City Hall about closing down the Strip to host a music festival (the Sunset Strip Music Festival brought hundreds of thousands of people to the Strip between 2008 to 2015).

There isn’t much left online from that amazing presentation seven years ago, and some of the mediums used at the time have faded into the sunset (MySpace, FourSquare anyone?), but you can read the articles at the end of this post for more information that I think is still relevant for businesses today.

So this brings me back to Regina and Rebellion. As I noted earlier, Rebellion doesn’t need these neighbours to sell beer. But that’s not the point. Rebellion’s posts remind us that it is part of a bigger community, a member of the historic Regina Warehouse District, and it’s wonderful to see them celebrating it both in person and on via their social media platforms.

Rebellion Brewing Company is celebrating its third anniversary this week. Thanks for all the community love!

I’ll raise a glass to that. Cheers!

Image Source: Rebellion Brewing Co. Facebook Page

 

FURTHER READING

Texts, Tweets and Rock & Roll: How Social Media Saved the Sunset Strip (PASTE MAGAZINE)

How Social Media Saved a Hollywood Landmark (ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE)

How The Roxy became the number one venue on Twitter. (MASHABLE)

From legendary music venue to social media powerhouse: A case study of The Roxy Theatre (THE UNION METRICS BLOG)