May Feature Story
Social media is defined as interactive technologies that allow the creation or sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. Heidelberg has been involved with social media for more than a decade but as the medium evolved, the company wasn’t changing with the times. That changed in 2020 with the addition of social media influencers throughout the company.
“The idea was to streamline our efforts and tap into the power-branding behind Heidelberg Distributing Family of Companies,” said VP Sales & Marketing Michael Miller. “By having account names that are aligned and better direction behind the posts that are placed on our social media accounts, we can obtain stronger impact and awareness to the Heidelberg name and our many supplier-partner brands.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes that took place in the industry with on-premise accounts initially being shuttered and then reopening slowly, Heidelberg wanted to find ways to assist both the on-premise sales teams as well as the retail partners that they serviced. “Our on-premise sales pros run fast-paced, high-stress jobs that entail close relationships with our on-premise account operators,” says Michael. “A sales pro’s storytelling effectiveness is really what we wanted to tap into as a way of selling brand awareness in the marketplace. It was that need that led us to creating our first social media influencer team at Heidelberg Distributing Company.”
The changes in Heidelberg’s social media program and strategy have been a collaborative effort with numerous Associates working and planning to develop a strategy covering nine different markets in two states. “With the help from Chief of Staff, Kathryn Oakes, Associate Director of Culture & People, Kelly Fine, Vice President of Sales On-Premise, Matt Smith and social media coordinator Abby Hoffrichter, we’ve been able to provide greater brand awareness to the market and share insights into the culture,” says Michael. “Abby also helps in the training process for our team of influencers so that they can build stronger social media posts within their respective territories.”
The influencer program began with 13 Associates and our goal is to add more to the team throughout 2021.The team is critical in providing a second level of insight into Heidelberg’s local markets, with information on brands and products that may be unique to a particular market and may not be statewide brands. “The influencer team really drives a more laser-focused approach to the happenings of each individual market,” says Michael. “As with many projects, this will be a work in progress, and we plan to expand the team as we grow our efforts on social media.”
The influencers were selected for their knowledge of their individual markets as well as their experience on beverage categories. Whether it’s beer or wine, high proof spirits with Heidelberg Spirits Marketing Group, the influencers have the opportunity to show their personality and industry awareness as well as the culture of Heidelberg. “Today’s marketplace is changing rapidly to include e-commerce and social media presence in order to drive sales. The goal for our influencer team is to bring awareness to the market on our impressive sales teams, our company culture, our amazing customer base and our incredible portfolio of wine, beer, spirits and NA’s”.
MEET THE INFLUENCERS
Click on the instagram icon to be taken to the influencer’s instagram account.
To learn more about our social media platforms, click the button below.
Fine Wine Manager
Fine Wine + Key Account Manager
Director of NA Sales
Market Manager On-Premise
Holly Sue Southern
Ohio Valley Wine