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Archive for January, 2010

Social Media Strategy or Tacky? Putting Twitter/Facebook Info on Wine Labels

January 19, 2010 50 comments

“Oh c’mon Seattle Wine Gal, I know you’re ‘into’ Social Media Marketing, but Twitter names on wine bottle labels? That’s just stupid”. Was something like that going through your mind when you read the title? OK, OK, understandable. While it may seem a little tacky, it could also be one of the most progressive social media marketing decision a winery could make right now! Here are a few pros and cons that I can think of for an idea like this. Please comment below to share your thoughts and to add to my pros and cons list.

Con:

  1. Social Media platforms are always changing; Twitter/Facebook/your blog may not always be around, how embarrassing for you when people cellaring your wine, see an outdated twitter/facebook/blog 5-10 years later when they open the wine!
  2. You may turn off a lot of people who feel that it is tacky and tasteless; losing some of your potential/existing clientele– it’s just too risky!
  3. Wine marketing has always been about selling more than just wine; you are selling an experience. A Twitter name on a wine bottle causes the wine to lose all romantic and traditional appeal.
  4. It creates a stressful situation for winery staff or vintners, who then have to constantly stay on top of their social media efforts, even during crush and other very busy times… too overwhelming!
  5. The marketing worth of the back of a wine label is alluring tasting notes and winery history- a Facebook web address is not alluring and will not help sell wine.

Pro:

  1. MAJOR increase in visibility in online social media communities, which IS the next/new way to market products.
  2. Increase in Twitter/Facebook/blog follower counts, which will help establish industry leadership in the social media space.
  3. You will be viewed as fun, hip and appealing to a younger target market.
  4. You are making yourself immediately accessible to your clientele (they can contact you and get ‘real time’ interaction with you and your followers).
  5. People WILL talk about you for having done something so bold– this is always a good thing.
  6. Your buyers will follow you on Facebook and Twitter and buy more wine after seeing your tweets/posts about upcoming deals; it is a way of continuing a relationship with them and creating loyalty- you will sell more wine!

Lets face it folks, when t.v. came out, companies were apprehensive to spend their marketing dollars on it; they stuck with radio until they realized how lucrative it was. When businesses started creating ‘websites’, many were apprehensive to do so (some companies still don’t have one)! We are in the age of twitter now; why not strike while the iron is hot? What do you say, is a Twitter name on a wine label like screw caps- beneficial and will slowly gain acceptance but currently risky due to potential alienation?

Wine Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: The Truth About Owning a Winery

January 13, 2010 9 comments

The Glamorous Life of a Vintner: Don Scrubs the Toilet

Thanks once again Don Phelps of Hard Row to Hoe in Chelan WA for joining me for another guest blog post in my “Ask a Vintner” series. This one’s a good one folks. Pour yourself a glass of wine.

Seattle Wine Gal:

“So Don, What is it like to own a winery? It seems so glamorous! Out in the vineyards with the sun shining on your face, lavish wine dinners and parties, 1,000 bottle cellars, midnight candle-lite barrel tastings”…

Don Phelps: I was thinking today about the nice aspects of owning a winery which includes meeting great people, living in a beautiful area, being your own boss, etc. That got me to thinking about all of the folks that come to the winery and say how much they admire the place and wish they could take the plunge to do it themselves. And that is about where reality came into the picture..

We spend the lion’s share of each day:

Paying bills

Handling payroll

Doing the taxes

Ordering wine glasses so everyone has something to drink out of

Getting change from the bank for the till

Ordering toilet paper and paper towels for the bathroom

Buying bags and boxes

Getting ice for the white wines

Taking out the empty bottles

Restocking the shelves

Cleaning the bathroom and tasting room

Picking up garbage outside

Working with vineyards to grow next years grapes

Worrying about freezing weather, insect infestations, bird damage, too much water, too little water

Ordering barrels

Spending entire days in the truck hauling grapes from up to 5 hours away

Working 7 days a week from daylight to 10 at night during Sept and Oct


Worrying about things like:

Equipment breakdowns

Enough help

Enough bins to ferment the red grapes in

Enough stainless steel tanks to hold all of the white wines

Inoculation with the right yeast

The fermentation process itself

Punch downs

YAN and FAN

Secondary fermentation…

along with a million other things that have to be done in the right manner and at the right time to make it all work; finally going to bed at night thinking about what needs to be done, and waking up in the morning still thinking about it.

And if that was not enough you still have to figure out how you can sell your product and have enough money left over to pay the mortgage. That means back on the road promoting the sale of the wine, trying to get restaurants and stores to carry it, negotiating with distributors, dealing with frozen shipments in the winter months and over heated ones in the summer, and then staying open that last 45 minutes for the straggler that just could not come back tomorrow and loves your wine but leaves with a single 15 dollar bottle.

One more thing before I forget it – you need a second job to live on.

No question about it – this is the memorable life!!

Yep, if it was not for the pure gold customers that become your friends over the years we would probably sell the place and let one of you enjoy the life of Riley – owning your very own winery.

-Don

Seattle Wine Gal: “Oh, I see”.

Wine Industry Tweetup: The Social Media Benefits of Hosting

January 11, 2010 16 comments

Sat Jan 9th Tweet-up at Alexandria Nicole Cellars, Woodinville WA

A wine Tweetup is when a group of people who ‘tweet’ about wine on Twitter meet in real life to taste or drink wine. Before, after and at the event, the attendees tweet about where they are and what wines they are drinking. Whether the host business is on Twitter or not, the business receive a great deal of online mentions and recognition for having hosted the event. In return for the mentions, they provide the group with a complimentary wine tasting (hopefully), and sometimes food as well. The level of what the host business offers can range from a complimentary small flight of wine to a fully catered wine dinners.

Lately, I have been tweeting about recent wine tweetups, and how I am planning on organizing some in the future. I have gotten a barrage of messages asking me how to organize a wine tweetup. I have also received a lot of attention from restaurants, wineries, and wine shops asking me if they can provide the venue. I am so glad that these businesses realize the benefits of hosting such an event, and how exponential the ROI (return on investment) can be for them.

Getting in good with people who have the ‘power’ to tell thousands about your business is one smart move!

Social Media methodology and tactics range greatly from business to business; within the wine industry there are very unique and exciting opportunities. Whether it be giving complimentary tastings for online recognition, or offering special Facebook or Twitter customer discounts, it is a wonderful space to utilize. I speak with many Businesses that have a social media campaign, or host tweetups who tell me of the amazing benefits. Here is what Ali from Alexandria Nicole Cellars (who hosted an excellent tweetup last week) recently told me:

“We really enjoyed meeting a group of people who love wine & introducing them to ours. We look forward to continue talking to them on Twitter, reading their blogs & Facebook pages, seeing their photos & seeing them again in person at our tasting rooms & events. We are strong supporters of social media & believe tweetups are one of many social media approaches to build relationships with a very valuable community of wine enthusiasts.”

If you have a wine or food business and would like to host a tweetup, find a few influential wine tweeters who live in the area and invite them to come to a tweetup event that you will host. Another way to be a venue host is to ask an influential wine blogger or tweeters to organize the attendees of the event, and you will provide the wine/food and venue.

A special thank you to Russell’s Restaurant for the amazing wine pairing appetizers provided at the Alexandria Nicole Cellars tweetup.

See more about this topic: What can Social Media do for Your Winery?

All content written by Seattle Wine Gal.

Free Wine for Tweets: Bribery, or Clever Use of Social Media Marketing?

January 8, 2010 30 comments

Will Trade Wine for Twitter Mentions.

I received this email this morning. As an Interactive Internet Marketer, I thought it to be a great use of  Twitter for Social Media Marketing (and quite common methodology actually). Upon further thought, however, I realized that it is just as easily can be seen as a bribe. Here is what the email read. *All names and wineries have been changed to non-existent names [with quotes], but the content remains exactly the same.

I wanted to pop you a quick note to invite you to an exclusive Live Tasting Tweet-Up with [Red Wine Winery].  The event is hosted by [Super Cool Online Buying Wine Company] and will take place January X at 6:00 p.m. EST.

As a participant, you will have the opportunity to sample 3 bottles of [Red Wine Winery’s wine], which we will mail to you before the tasting.

To keep things flowing and lively during the Tweet-up we recommend the following:

  • Tweet about the event four times during course of event
  • Tweet twice prior and twice following
  • Use a designated hashtag in your Tweets:  #Super Cool Online Buying Wine Company

If you’d like to participate, please confirm and provide an appropriate shipping address by January x.

Don’t hesitate to let us know if you need any additional information or have any suggestions on how we can keep things going during the Tweet-up.

Thank you. All the best, [Mike]

Last year, as Director of Social Media for an online retail company, I sent ‘free’ samples all of the time in trade for reviews and never thought of its potentially unethical merits. Now I wonder: Is there a way of doing Social Media Marketing to it’s fullest extent without giving free products in exchange for online recognition? Is this ethical? Am I being bribed, or simply offered a great chance to taste wine and let other know what I think?

PLEASE COMMENT!

Note to Wineries: if you would like for me to tweet/blog/Facebook about your wine, please send bottles to Seattle Wine Gal P.O. Box….. Just kidding!

All Content Written by Seattle Wine Gal.

Social Media for the Wine Industry: How Important is Your Follower Count?

January 4, 2010 20 comments

Social Media for the Wine Industry: How Important is Your Follower Count?

I’m going to skip the quality over quantity banter for a second here and answer this question truthfully as I see it. YES, your number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, your blog subscribers etc. IS important if you are attempting to use Social Media for business. Here are a few reasons why.

1. As controversial as this can be in the world of Social Media junkies like myself, a higher number of followers DOES give you more clout. Not everyone is impressed by someone on Twitter with 15,000 followers (for reasons I will discuss below). I assure you, however, that the number is glanced at by most people who pop onto your page, and (at least part of) your ‘tweet worth’ is assessed instantly. This is done even by people like myself, who feel that engagement is second to nothing, and that large quantities of followers may say nothing about the quality of the posts and the postees ability to entertain/teach/engage me.

2. The second reason that a higher follower count is important is that if you amass your followers carefully and in the right places, a larger number of followers will spread your message further. Obviously, from a business perspective, this raises your chances of reaching new clientele by increasing your visibility. I must caution you that the more followers you have, the more work you will have to do to keep the beach ball floating over the crowd while letting everyone get a hit at it. Keep focused on your goals and strategy to increase your chances of being able to manage a larger following. Don’t ‘drop the ball’ on other peoples attempts to engage with you- answer people’s RT’s, posts, and emails, and do so as publicly as possible.

Getting back to Quality over Quantity. I DO feel strongly that posting messages to 15,000 followers who don’t care is pointless. It is extremely important to target ‘follower growth’ efforts towards people who want to hear your message, and may ultimately purchase your product. There is no point in seeking out a taxidermist in Hong Hong when you sell wine in Woodinville, WA. While I would ‘follow’ the taxidermist back, I would not ‘look’ for him. I recommend focusing your efforts first in your own backyard.

How to create a strong, quality following. While I could delve deep and start getting into cross posts, link-backs and pings, social bookmarking and even SEO visibility, I will instead offer you a very do-able Social Media 101 Twitter, Facebook, and blog subscription tip: Seek out and Follow the followers of people like you, follow people who live in the demographic of your business, do key word searches for people who may be interested in what you have to say; follow these people and engage with them. Following is so important because many of the people you reach out to and follow WILL follow you back.*

How to manage that goofy looking unbalanced number of followers/followees on Twitter? Check out Twitter applications such as TwitterKarma or FriendorFollow to un-follow people who do not follow you back.

Now go raise your follower count with a target audience in mind, and plans to engage and listen to them and you are a step closer to business success within Social Media.

If you would like to create a strong and effective Social Media Campaign and live in the Seattle area, please contact me. I am not a contractor, I do one on one sit-down appointments with people in exchange for wine or food! Also, Get on My Radar Screen!

Email: contact@seattlewinegal.com

*There is so much subjectivity within Social Media, and so many varying ideas. I encourage you to listen to other forms of methodology to find the one that fits best for you and your goals. This is just one of many ways of “doing Social Media”.

All Content Written by: Seattle Wine Gal