Our objective on Instagram was to create a Maker's Mark lifestyle that was true to the heart of the brand and appealing to the 21-30 year old Instagram user base. We initially set out with the goal of reaching 50k followers within a year and gathering and sharing as much user generated content as we could along the way. We wanted to show that Maker's Mark is not only a delicious, handcrafted bourbon, but is also an approachable brand with distinctive aesthetic qualities, which are perfect for showcasing on the Instagram platform.
We wanted to create hashtags on Instagram that people would find catchy enough to start using them naturally after enough repeated exposure. The most successful of these hashtags was #RedWaxAndRelax. This hashtag started out as a summer initiative to play along with our cocktail recipe sharing that we were referring to as #NoSweatCocktails. #RedWaxAndRelax captured the same easy, breezy, carefree spirit of the cocktail initiative, but made it more "Instagram" by encouraging users to talk back and share their relaxing experiences with Maker's.
We also began focusing on more relatable photography. We wanted our photos to appear seamlessly on user's Instagram feeds so they would be inclined to engage with the photos just like they would with any of their friends'. We utilized Maker's Mark branded and wax dipped glassware, apparel, barrel wood, and other accessories to extend the brand's reach further than pictures of our iconic bottle or a mixed drink. Using an array of branded elements allowed us to show our users that Maker's Mark is a brand that goes far beyond the barrel.
In 6 months, our follower count grew from 24,000 to 52,000. We met and exceeded our goal for the year in half the time we thought it would take. The hashtag #RedWaxAndRelax has been used 112 times organically by other users in the same 6 month time frame. The use of this hashtag has provided us with insight and user generated content with backgrounds that range from mountaintops to beaches. Our gift shop also reported noticeable spikes in online order activity whenever branded items were featured in Instagram photos.