Tito’s Handmade Vodka Taps Into Customer Content to Deliver Authentic Web Experiences

How does a brand that started out selling 1,000 cases in 1997, become one of the fastest growing spirits brands in America?

By connecting with customers in a meaningful way.

From the start, Tito’s Handmade Vodka has relied on the quality of their product and their brand’s story to fuel their success. Created by Tito Beveridge, what started as a one-man distillery in Austin, TX, is now a top-ranked vodka nationwide. And Tito’s personality is baked into everything they do, from the labels he originally hand-made and his love of dogs to the “Tito-isms” they feature across their website.

Since authenticity is a hallmark of the Tito’s brand, they focus heavily on taking a human approach on their website and social media channels. That means, sharing content created by real customers, also known as user-generated content (UGC).

“We always try to share UGC on our social channels as much as possible; whether it’s a really great recipe or a picture of a dog with our merchandise, we want to make sure we’re sharing that with our audiences,” said Katy Gelhausen, Tito’s Web & Social Media Coordinator. But to create an integrated online experience, Tito’s knew they needed to share that content beyond just their social networks.

Like most brands, Tito’s marketing team were up against increasing content demands and had long wanted to make their web experiences more social but faced resource limitations. However, their team saw the potential for UGC to help solve some of their content challenges in a scalable, authentic way.

As Katy said, “We saw that we didn’t have to create all the content ourselves. Everyone out there is a content creator. We just needed a way to gather all that amazing content.”

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘Everyone is a content creator. We just needed a way to gather all that amazing content.’ – @TitosKaty” quote=”‘Everyone is a content creator. We just needed a way to gather all that amazing content.’ – @TitosKaty”]

Finding The Best UGC Platform and Partner

When evaluating software solutions (or any kind of vendor), Tito’s looks for a company they can partner with, not just tools they can adapt. So finding the right UGC partner was very important to them.

After looking into other platforms in the marketplace, Katy said other tools “seemed too complicated” or were “just not the right fit” for their high-growth brand.

“At Tito’s, we really value having people on the other end of the tool that we can talk to and strategize with. We look for people we can rely on being there to help us, and that’s where Stackla really stood out from the crowd.”

Not only did Tito’s team “really like everyone” they spoke to at Stackla, they also found the platform easy to learn and use. “Stackla’s very intuitive,” Katy said. “It’s really easy to aggregate tons of UGC and, with the simple click of a button, you can make all that content go live on your website.”

Once they decided on Stackla as their UGC platform (and partner) of choice, we set out to help them:

  • Quickly find all the best customer content that already existed across the social web
  • Scalably curate and showcase the best UGC throughout their webpages
  • Use UGC as social proof on their online store

Showcasing Authentic Customer Experiences At Scale

Tito’s team had always known there was a ton of great customer content out there for them to leverage, but struggled to find and display that content in a timely and efficient way. With Stackla, they quickly felt the difference of having a powerful tool to do the heavy lifting for them.

“Before, we had to dig through each social media platform to find content, but now we’re able to quickly pull all that content in and really hone in on publishing specific content for targeted webpages,” Katy said. “It honestly helps us have more eyes on all the content that’s out there, since there is an endless stream.”

The main webpages Tito’s wanted to feature UGC on were their homepage, Love, Tito’s (their philanthropic webpage), their Vodka for Dog People webpage and their online store.

On their homepage, they feature a mix of content including #LoveTitos, drink recipes and people and pets with Tito’s merchandise. But Love, Tito’s and Vodka for Dog People are their most active pages.

“Our number one goal this year is to spread more love to make the world a better place, so our Love, Tito’s webpage is dedicated to our philanthropic initiatives across the country. We’re out there running national fundraising campaigns–like the one we’re partnering with the Red Cross on now to raise funds for those affected by Hurricane Harvey–as well as local initiatives to help Austin-based shelters and rescue groups. All that content is on the Love, Tito’s webpage, driven by the #LoveTitos hashtag.”

Another big part of Tito’s mission is their commitment to their canine counterparts. With Vodka for Dog People, they aim to unite with their “friends, fans and partners to better the lives of pets and their families far and wide.”

One look at the Vodka for Dog People webpage and it’s not hard to see how this is their most active webpage. Who can resist adorable dog photos?

Not only does Stackla help them share their customers’ puppy love across their website, but we also helped make that content actionable.

With Stackla, Tito’s was able to create interactive UGC carousels within their online store as social proof for their branded products, helping to shorten the path to purchase. By making the customer content on their eCommerce site actionable, visitors could see how others were enjoying Tito’s products and easily follow a direct link from that engaging social content to purchase the product in the image.

They even customized Stackla’s interactive product tags to display their branded star on each item, keeping the brand experience consistent as people click through from social engagement to commerce transaction.

“Before Stackla the only social content we had on our site was just a stream of our tweets,” Katy said. “Now we can elevate our customer content and have the ability to actually make it actionable.”

The Results

In addition to saving Tito’s marketing team tons of time searching for and sifting through all the content their fans post across social sites, Stackla has broadened the ways and places they can showcase that authentic content – from their homepage and philanthropic webpages to their online store.

Tito’s has also seen a huge increase in the velocity of posts containing the hashtag #LoveTitos. Katy shared, “I think once people realized we were not only retweeting their content, but actually publishing it across our website, it motivated them to start sharing more.”

From the beginning of 2017, the number of #LoveTitos posts online grew 254 percent.

“When we partner with a nonprofit during an event, we encourage fans to post with #LoveTitos in order to help spread love and awareness to our philanthropic partners,” Katy said. “This helps us further establish both digital- and real-world connections with our consumers.”

“Stackla has helped us tap into the volume of content that was already out there about our brand, and allows us to showcase all of that content in a unique and interactive way. We’re looking forward to doing more with UGC in the future.”Katy Gelhausen, Tito’s Web & Social Media Coordinator

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