Here in the midst of the 2010s, one must acknowledge that social media now has its full reach into our business culture. Whether we are participating or not, our customers are reviewing businesses online, sharing recommendations with friends on Facebook, looking for customer support on Twitter and posting images of their favorite experiences on Instagram. The Tea Council of the USA has developed a way to support tea retailers in making use of these avenues in the name of expanding tea culture. The #DrinkTea Campaign offers tea-positive images and messages that retailers and consumers can share on social media. The idea is that the phrases will be short and easy to understand and can be used to help excite and educate people about tea. Some touch on the health benefits, while others might focus on a particular event like National Hot Tea Month. The messages will be coordinated with the tea promotion pieces produced by the Tea Council. The #DrinkTea campaign was developed by Gail Gastelu, best known in the industry as publisher of The Tea House Times. Gastelu recently joined the advisory board of the Tea Association’s Specialty Tea Institute. “It's time for the tea industry to work together to support growth and engage consumer interest,” Gastelu wrote in her blog. “The best way to do this is through consistent, regular, sharing of information, messaging, and data to establish and uphold the health aspects of tea and the enjoyment of drinking tea.” Gastelu notes that the Canada Tea Association will be implementing the same campaign. “The campaign sets a precedent in creating and sustaining cohesive, shareable messaging graphics across America.” The project launched in the winter with a focus on hot tea, but iced tea images will be added seasonally. In addition to small images and text options, the association intends to create graphics that can be used for print advertisements in newspapers, magazines and other media sites. “This campaign represents a key contribution to many Council messaging programs and is advantageous in that they are attractive, easy to reproduce and great fun to share,” says Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Council of the USA, in a press release. “Tea industry growth is often driven at the local level. This program contributes building blocks to structure and strengthen consumer interest, tea industry conviviality, and more importantly the support and advocacy of growth for members.” Visit http://www.teausa.org and look for the #DrinkTea Campaign image to learn more. To learn more about using social media to support your business, you can check out Nicole Martin’s World Tea Expo presentation “Utilizing Social Media to Connect with Customers Authentically and Grow Your Tea Business” on Thursday, June 16.