As social media continues its prominence across the globe, companies are investing more effort in connecting with fans through this resource. According to McKinsey & Co., 70 percent of all companies around the world use social technologies, with 90 percent of these companies reporting some business benefit from them — and the beverage industry is no exception. Although experts note that social media can be a vehicle for promoting product sales, brands also use the platform to cultivate a relationship with their fans in these online communities.

According to New York-based Unmetric, efforts to increase beverage brands’ social media reach are paying off. The social media benchmarking company reported that Nestlé’s Nescafé brand, The Coca-Cola Co.’s Coca-Cola brand, and Monster Beverage Corp.’s Monster Energy brand each gained approximately 4.7 million, 2.3 million and 1.5 million Facebook fans, respectively, in March 2013.

Once connected with fans on Facebook or other social media channels, brands use varying techniques to keep consumers participating. Below are some examples of how beverage brands have kept the conversation flowing in social media channels.

Get in on the action

In February, the video, dance and music craze known as the “Harlem Shake” hit the Web. By the end of the month, more than 500,000 individual “Harlem Shake” videos were posted online, together amassing more than 200 million views, according to Chicago-based Cision. Brands that moved fast enough to create their own “Harlem Shake” videos earned a piece of the social media attention.

With the help of brand ambassador and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, PepsiCo garnered more than 6.7 million YouTube views as of May 28 as well as Unmetric’s distinction of top “Harlem Shake” video by a big brand with its “Harlem Shake (Jeff Gordon Edition)” video, which launched Feb. 14 on YouTube. The video features a dancer in a racecar driver helmet dancing in an auto body shop later joined by a full dancing pit crew and a Pepsi Max-branded car. 

Red Bull USA also joined the action with its “Harlem Shake (Skydive Edition) — The End” video. Posted on Feb. 19, the video features a team of skydivers dancing in a plane and in the air to the techno tune. Unmetric named Red Bull’s version the second most popular “Harlem Shake” video produced by a big brand. The video garnered more than 6.2 million views as of May 28.

Start a conversation

Harnessing the power of social conversation, some wine brands hosted Twitter chats surrounding celebrations of National Moscato Day on May 9 and National Chardonnay Day on May 23.

Gallo Family Vineyards (@GalloFamily) hosted an hour-long national Twitter party to connect Moscato drinkers across the country. From 9 to 10 p.m. EDT on May 9, participants gathered and shared hosting tips, food pairing suggestions, wine facts and simple messages about enjoying the wine varietal by joining the conversation using the hashtag #MoscatoDay. 

 Wente Vineyards, which positions itself as the “First Family of Chardonnay,” connected with fans and wine consumers across the country in a month-long celebration of the Chardonnay varietal. Beginning a month before National Chardonnay day, Wente Vineyard’s Twitter handle (@Wente) updated its profile picture to a themed image for the occasion and tweeted facts about the varietal. On May 22, the brand’s fifth-generation winemaker Karl Wente (@KarlWente) hosted a “#SommChat” on Twitter with Keeper Collection (@KeeperColl), a group dedicated to cultivating interactive, online dialogue from leading wine personalities. The Chardonnay celebration culminated with a live toast at 4 p.m. PST on May 23, connecting fans around the globe on ToutSuite Social Club, a live video streaming site.