Home > Seattle Wine Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Tactics, Wine and Social Media > THE Most Important Social Media Marketing Business Strategy: Be Authentic

THE Most Important Social Media Marketing Business Strategy: Be Authentic

Like most small business owners and “self- branders”, I used to have the wrong idea about how to ‘use’ Social Media.

Are you a wine shop owner or winery looking to add Social Media to your Marketing campaign? One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to focus solely on an increase in bottom line sales and conversion rates. Here is what happened to change my thinking, and why you should change yours now.

I ran a Social Media Campaign for a large international online retail fertility supplies corporation. I adopted the persona of @FertilAidAmy, the infertility world’s online source of trusted and accurate infertility information (having attained a degree in Women Studies and health, I was actually a legitimate trustworthy source of information). I will be frank with you. The number one goal we had as a company was to use Social Media to increase bottom line sales. Is this a bad thing? No, not at all; most companies are using Social Media for just that reason. It’s not so much about why you’re doing it, it’s how you go about it.

As FertilAid Amy, I slowly built a community, employed clever tactics to increase clicks on our website (and conversion rates), used coupons, contests and games to engage people, and ultimately increased bottom-lines sales quite significantly.

Here’s what I never bargained for, and what I realized the moment we saw this campaign become truly successful: I began to really, truly care. I was involved in the lives of the people in my online community, well beyond just trying to sell them stuff. I established trust, create a raport and gained a huge following for the simple reason that I began to honestly care and love my ‘target audience’ as real people, and friends. I believe that this reality was ‘sensed’ by my community, and this was the moment the campaign began to thrive. All of my aforementioned goals of bottom line sales etc. began to increase. I was being rewarded for being authentic, and my reason for doing Social Media began to change. I went from a sales person to a friend and trusted source of information, both seemingly and in reality.

When done well, the lines between Social Media done for profit and done because you care will begin to blur.

You may be asking yourself what is the intent behind Seattle Wine Gal? I am in no way going to mask the reality of my reasons for starting this Social Media presence. My Seattle Wine Gal campaign (using my love of wine) was originally intended to show future employers the level of Social Media engagement I am capable of. The moment I began to truly care for the people in the community I am engaging in, and my campaign shifted from ‘putting myself on the map’, to meeting new like-minded people, and creating real, true friendships, was the moment I realized that Seattle Wine Gal was a success. I do not feel like the timing was coincidental.

Be Authentic, create REAL friendships and connections, engage, stop trying to sell stuff (or at least do it in a more elegant way), Go beyond your business sense and enter an arena of mutual respect and care.

Start Giving a Damn… you will be amazed by the ‘results’, and the shift in how you view your clientele and the Social Media Community you created.

-Seattle Wine Gal

  1. December 27, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Totally agree with you Barbara! I started my little blog with an end goal in mind – and I still have that goal – but what I didn’t count on was loving the personal interaction with people (many of whom I’ll never meet). It bugs me when some of my Twitter followers(businesses and bloggers alike) only tweet when they have a promo or sale. Some of the best people are those that engage beyond that and establish a virtual friendship.

    Great advice

    Josh @nectarwine (twitter friend)

  2. Joanne Saliby
    December 27, 2009 at 1:56 am

    So true, Barbara and Josh, and this applies to more than Social Media. I found when teaching that I became very fond of my students and really cared about them and their problems. They knew it and responded in kind. I almost never had a discipline problem,even with the so called “tough kids,” because they knew I cared. It works the same online. People like to know others are sincerely interested in them and in what they say beyond business
    Good statements from the both of you.

    • December 27, 2009 at 4:25 am

      Thank you so much, Joanne, for visiting my blog and making this comment. 🙂

  3. December 27, 2009 at 2:06 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are absolutely right, if your real and passionate it will shine through in what you do.

  4. Jack Colby
    December 27, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Good Stuff as always Barbara, however, you mentioned that once you became successful you realized you cared about the folks and the interactions, I would say you probably cared before and that is why you were successful. You had the right intentions and traits from the beginning. People buy from those they trust, that’s why no one goes window shopping for used cars…..

    Jack (twitter @nwwines)

  5. December 27, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I get asked all the time, “What’s the best way to market on your site?” My response is to not worry so much about marketing and focus on getting involved and making friends. Our membership can be quite virulent in chasing off people who just show up to market (aka spam) their products. Contests and the likes can be a good beginning but if that is all you do you’ll not be as successful as the person who runs contests, reaches out and gets to know his clientele.

  6. December 27, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Thank you for your kind words everyone. It’s good to know that my views on Social Media Marketing are hitting home to many of you. Social Media is really a delicate art form. It is tough for me (but completely understandable) to see people using it in a way that does little to promote their business, especially considering how very little time they have to devote. I guess that’s where I come in. If you are a Seattle area winery (or one that is happy to fly me in), I do one-on-one Social Media tutorials free of charge. Please contact me at SeattleWineGal@yahoo.com if interested! As stated above, I really do truly care. 🙂

  7. December 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Fantastic post! It’s amazing how being “you” and believing in what you represent drives sales through the communities and friendships we develop. It just takes time, and as you said, you actually have to CARE.

  8. swissknifev
    December 28, 2009 at 1:11 am

    @Jack Colby. I think he is right. If people genuinely like your values, integrity and honesty they’ll automatically like your brand of service or product. Then I’ll also see the same care and concern in the Brand.Don’t you think that true compassion shows up if it’s really true? Doesn’t the same thing apply to customers? I also found that if customers are compassionate to the serving staff, the service that they eventually get is special. For example a waiter in a restaurant can go out his way to get a cab for you – not because he needs our tip but only because he sees you as nice humane guy. Right?

  9. December 28, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I don’t know if there is anything more important than being genuinely interested in the community, be it for a blog that is personal or commercial.

    I started my blog a few months after being laid off. It gave me something to do and a way to create social connections while I was at home. It gave me this tiny voice in an ocean of information and while only a few may read what I have to say, it is amazing how many connections I’ve established in the last six months.

    The best part of the experience has been getting to meet other passionate folks, some who are into wine, some more into social media. I love getting to hear their stories and the exchange of ideas. The ones who’ve turned me off were obviously out to sell something or just help themselves, with no genuine interest in helping anyone out but themselves. They may have some level of success, but they aren’t the sort I care to associate with.

    Keep up the great work Barbara!

  10. swissknifev
    December 28, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Kevin Glowacki is again, I feel, correct.

    He says:

    Perfect: ‘ It gave me this tiny voice in an ocean of information and while only a few may read what I have to say, it is amazing how many connections I’ve established in the last six months.’
    Perfect: ‘ The ones who’ve turned me off were obviously out to sell something or just help themselves, with no genuine interest in helping anyone out but themselves. They may have some level of success, but they aren’t the sort I care to associate with.

    He’s said it RIGHT>

  11. swissknifev
    December 31, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Bottom line: Online is acting

  12. January 4, 2010 at 5:46 am

    a former client of mine in the social media space is a prominent corporate blogger and he always used to get flack from his colleagues over what brand he was working on – his or the companies. and i always loved his response…”it’s 80% my brand…because if people don’t trust me and find me to be authentic, the other 20% focused on our corporate brand won’t matter.” so true

  1. December 27, 2009 at 2:55 am
  2. December 27, 2009 at 7:20 am

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