Well, it is quite apparent that SOME breweries did not attend the Social Media seminar during the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference—where we clearly and quite strongly advised AGAINST using social media to wage a war, legal or not, against another brewery. And if said breweries did attend the seminar, they obviously were not listening. So let me state it again, loud and clear:
Keep your battles offline.
Do not use social media to wage a war against another brewery. I don’t care how pissed off you are at them. I don’t care how many laws you think they broke. I don’t care if they flat out stole your branding, your beer name, or your recipe—DO NOT post about it online.
And why not? Besides getting an ego boost from your adoring fans, nothing good can come from public wars between companies. You are guaranteed to lose existing fans as well as lose any potential fans who are first exposed to your brand in this fashion. And at the end of the day, it’s not fair for you to put your fans and followers in this position. You do not have the right to ask your fans to fight your battles. Hire a lawyer. It’s their freaking job to fight your battles—NOT mine.
Keep the fight between your lawyers—NOT your fans.
The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like. Whatever vibrations we radiate attract more of the same. Negative energy only attracts more negative energy. The more negative energy you put on social media, the more you will get. And trust me, you do not want your brand to be viewed as one that emits and attracts negative energy.
Not to mention, breweries putting out negative energy only makes the craft beer industry look bad as a whole. You might think that the battle is solely between you and the other guy, but it’s not. You just brought the entire craft beer community into the lime light. Your actions reflect negatively upon our entire industry—not just your two brands. You make craft beer look immature and childish. You make it look like we can’t get along with each other. You are destroying the collaborative, harmonious and united image that we have worked so hard to project.
Social media is an extremely powerful tool. And with great power, comes great responsibility. And trust me, I’ve learned this the very, very hard way. Breweries and beer fans, please heed my advice:
Don’t use social media as a weapon.
If you need justice, then by all means go and get it. But do it in a courtroom, NOT on Facebook and Twitter. Besides, I’m pretty sure that the judge making the final ruling over the case won’t be swayed by internet petitions or “how many followers and fans” you got to post on your behalf.
I did NOT ask to be put in the middle of this battle. None of us did. Sure, I might have opinions on what is right and wrong in this situation, but I reserve the right to stay out of the fight. Don’t make me chose sides. And don’t make me fight your battles.
Because I refuse to get involved, I’m intentionally leaving the details of this particular “War of the Roses” out of this post. If you wish to learn more about the brewery vs. brewery conflict I’m referring to, you can read the House of Lancaster arguments here and the House of York arguments here.
And you can guarantee that a case study will be made of this incident, highlighting it as the quintessential example of what not to do on social media, at the 2014 Craft Brewers Conference.