Objective: Alcohol brands are incorporating social networking sites (SNS) into their marketing programmes. SNS are also
being used to reduce alcohol consumption and harms by health promotion organisations. Marketing via SNS can attempt to
influence consumers using a range of strategies from traditional marketing, social media, and behaviour change theory. This
study systematically quantifies marketing strategies used by alcohol brands and health promoters on Facebook.
Methods: We identified the 10 most popular alcohol brands and health promotion organisations in Australia on Facebook
and extracted all posts from April 2014. A framework was developed, listing 33 SNS marketing strategies. The frequency of
use of each strategy in posts was counted for all profiles.
Results: The median number of fans of alcohol brands was 189,290 compared with 7562 for health promotion pages. A total
of 210 Facebook posts were analysed. Popular marketing strategies included visual attraction, connecting with other
organisations, and links to culture and events. Time-specific and day-specific posts and tweets were used more regularly
by alcohol brands than health promotion agencies.
Conclusions: Alcohol brands remain substantially more popular than health promotion organisations, and this difference is
likely driven by offline factors rather than specific use of marketing strategies. However, health promotion organisations can
learn from the strategies used by popular brands, particularly in the use of time and day-specific content.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support
Program received by the Burnet Institute.