New Belgium has 42,000 local fans in 38 markets and 400,000 across all of its Facebook pages.
While it's tough for brands to value Facebook fans, the No. 3 U.S. craft brewer has a pretty good idea: It estimates its Facebook fans are responsible for $50.7 million in yearly sales. That's why the Fort Collins, Colo.-based brewer goes the extra mile when it comes to social and event marketing. It has made a notable investment in its Facebook presence, enlisting local salespeople (called "Rangers" in company parlance) to update 38 local pages across 28 states and Washington, D.C., and investing in custom apps and experiences. It also strategically targets Facebook ads to existing fans of its main page -- now 211,000 fans strong, compared with 138,000 and 134,000 for the No. 1 and No. 2 in the craft-beer category, Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada -- to drive them to local pages for their region.
Since the market for craft beer is inherently regional, New Belgium considers Sam Adams to be less of a competitor than much more obscure breweries in its local markets. This is where a regional Facebook presence comes in handy -- especially when New Belgium is eyeing new markets like Michigan, where it will begin distributing this summer.
"With these pages that essentially become Ranger blogs, we're really able to talk about what we're doing locally," said Adrian Glasenapp, New Belgium's director-advertising and social media. "They highlight the fact that we have sales reps who live in these communities and work with local nonprofits [offering sponsorships]."
New Belgium now has 42,000 local fans in 38 markets and 400,000 across all of its Facebook pages, including 107,000 for Fat Tire, its best-known beer. It set out to figure out how valuable they are this fall by asking Facebook fans to fill out a survey, which nearly 3,000 completed.
Based on the findings, they concluded that the typical fan bought $260 worth of New Belgium beer per year, assuming that respondents drank 10 beers a week and that New Belgium made up 25% of their consumption, which adds up to $50.7 million spent yearly by unique Facebook fans.
New Belgium committed roughly $235,000 to its social-media presence last year that was mostly dedicated to Facebook, including both app development and advertising. However, most of its marketing budget still goes to print buys in national titles such as Wired, Rolling Stone and Men's Journal; niche publications dedicated to topics like cycling; and alternative weeklies and other regional titles."