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here’s what happened when Happenstance, an award-winning gin distillery, handed the creative reins to ninki.

We blew up Happenstance Distillery’s socials without a single paid ad

Mei Lin and Tim are two certified gin lovers who did something rare: they converted a late night chat about crafting their own range of spirits into real world action. Over the next five years the dream would turn into a hobby, and then into something much more.

Today the pair’s produce is offered in bars across Adelaide and Oz, while an oh-so-cute tasting room in the vibin’ suburb of Thebarton hosts a steady stream of gin fans, most of whom quickly catch the Happenstance bug.

A duo that sweats talent, most aspects of their distillery business came naturally to Mei Lin and Tim. One, however, did not: social media.

The aim

Happenstance’s branding has been one of its keys to success. Feminine, fun and drop dead gorgeous, it is certified social media gold. But lacking the necessary marketing knowledge, Mei Lin and Tim were struggling to mine the value from it – and they didn’t have the time to learn.

Happenstance was in need of a team who got the brand, understood the target market, and had the skills to make the whole operation pop on socials. The dream social media partner wouldn’t just elevate brand awareness and engagement, but drive direct gin sales via social media too.

As a veteran content team led by a self-described gin addict, Ninki felt the perfect fit.

The approach

Things got off on the right foot: a gin-soaked getting-to-know-you session in which our team got a taste for the spirit of the business. We gained invaluable insight into Happenstance: the brand, products, target customers, competitors, and broader business goals.

Armed to the teeth with insights, we crafted a bespoke social media strategy that was designed to enhance the brand’s online presence, to get their delectable product in front of more eyes and into more mouths.

One key aspect of the strategy was the lack of paid ads. Aware of the strength and beauty of the brand, and knowing that gin is a product built for social media, we believed that Happenstance could kick goals through purely organic means. We advised them not to pay social media platforms a cent in advertising. We would instead let the gin do the talking.

Strategy approved, we kicked things off with a content harvest: an extended shoot to capture a treasure trove of photos and videos for use on social media.

From there, the strategic elements were married up with the fresh shots to create a slew of edited, scheduled content, including feed posts, stories and reels featuring captions, hashtags, links and more. All Mei Lin and Tim had to do was review and approve.

The results

Where social media was once an obligation, a chore, a millstone around Happenstance Distillery’s neck, it has now become – dare we say it – a joy for the company. We take care of all the meh bits, and review Happenstance’s strategy every month to ensure their social channels continue to deliver the warmest of leads to their website.

Pairing creative, captivating content with a clear and consistent strategy, and without paying for a single ad, has delivered some gin-credible results:

  • Impressions increased almost eight-fold, from 21,000 to 162,205 in just the first three months.
  • A follower growth rate of 15%-20% has been sustained over the course of two years.
  • There have been significant increases in web traffic and sales from social media sources.

While the hard data is impressive, Mei Lin and Tim have been just as chuffed with the face-to-face feedback they’ve received, from the fans who say they fell in love with Happenstance through Insta, to the competitors who compliment their socials (with just a hint of envy) at expos and trade shows.

Driven by the well-oiled social media machine that is Ninki, Mei Lin and Tim can focus on the bits of the gin biz they’re best at: creating, in our humble opinion, Australia’s – perhaps the world’s – most flavoursome, unique and quaffable gin.