Scotch whisky is widely regarded to be a product of old world traditions.
Well, OK maybe not quite “ancient” traditions, but the the folklore that whisky carries along with it, what with the Scottish stone castles and simple machinery is really not that far off base – and in some cases it’s the old world traditions and stories of old that really make a whisky.
So for me, as a student of the still establishing discipline of social media, it’s interesting and as a complete whisky nerd and lover, to see how these old world distilleries are stepping up on the front lines of social media as digital representatives of their distilleries.
At this point of my studies – I’m just starting to learn how to watch, by using some of the great social media tracking tools that are available out there, to get an idea of what all the chatter out there about whisky in the digital world really means.
But first I need a target. And who better than the much beloved Ardbeg distillery.
What’s an Ardbeg?
When it comes to whisky – big peaty whisky especially, Ardbeg is well reputed as a fan favourite’ and one of mine too admittedly – for the sake of transparency.
So I thought – who better to gage in terms of social media performance than them? Especially as they recently released their annual limited edition called Ardbog through an event dubbed as Ardbeg Day at the beginning of June.
So the mission here is – What exactly are people saying about Ardbeg out there in social media land? And how exactly do I go about finding out what they’re saying – and what does it mean?
Let the experiment begin.
As I wanted to know what people were saying – I dove right in by checking out Social Mention – which helps you gather real-time information and statistics by typing in certain keywords – which sounded exactly like what I was gunning for.
After typing ‘Ardbeg‘ into the search bar – I was confronted with some interesting statistics.
It provided a well laid out results page – included mentions from various sources, and offered unique and well explained metrics.
First – Strength which was the likelihood it the brand was being discussed in social media, how likely they are to mention Ardbeg again via their Passion to do so. It also listed Reach in terms of new people talking about Ardbeg – and what I found particularly interesting was the Sentiment tab – which was the ratio of positive to negative mentions – and also of which I was looking to gather info on myself.
“Interesting,” I thought. “How does this deem what’s negative?
At first glance of the mentions part of the page – I saw everything I thought I’d see. Gleaming reviews from happy Ardbeg fans, and stores working the “going fast” angle.
It turns out that you can click the Sentiment Button, and break it down into positive and negative mentions – which were both clickable – so I investigated further.
It turns out that the system isn’t quite perfect – as it seems that though the comments that were perceived to be negative really had nothing negative to say about the brand at all.
Curious now to see how well Social Mention performed at analyzing what people were saying about Ardbeg – I drifted over to Ardbeg’s official Global Facebook page to see for myself. And after clicking to see “Recent Posts By Others on Ardbeg” – I was greeted by the Ardbeg fans I thought I’d find there.
And rightly so – Ardbeg makes great whisky and I’d love to give them a hug too. But after digging down a little however I started to find that some Ardbeg fans had serious concerns that they wanted addressed.
There was no comment on the post from Ardbeg – at least not one that was visible to anyone reading the post.
Another where a man was a little incensed about the online store functionality.
Two people “liked” this post – and after not having it be addressed by Ardbeg – this was put out there as a follow-up:
Again. There was no comment.
Now I wanted to find more situations where peep were reaching out to see if anyone tried at all tried to interact.
Even with further involvement from other users – there was no visible attempt to address the situation. Though it could be that they were contacted out of the confines of Facebook. But while I saw “Ardbeg” posting events and all sorts of engagement incentives – not once did I see them engage – in any conversation be it negative or positive.
But what I’m trying to get at here, is that conversations like these, are valuable opportunities for companies to make things right. To show that they don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and providing solutions to their people that in the long run make them a stronger company with a solid image.
And even though there’s tools out there that are starting to try and measure the importance of these conversations – they are still far from perfect and can’t yet accurately determine what might be a negative for the brand or the company.
And as they get better – it’s important to remember that there’s no substitute for really listening.
However – if you have any ideas in terms of social media tools that help companies to listen in on the social media chatter. Please share them freely.