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

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

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  1. January 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    So you’re telling me size matters. I agree with the qualification that you stated in your post “It is extremely important to target โ€˜follower growthโ€™ efforts towards people who want to hear your message, and may ultimately purchase your product.”

    This is value add information for any business growing their twitter base.

    A question I have for you Miss SeattleWineGal is, how do you handle people who don’t follow you back (and they are in your realm of influence). You RT their content, you mention them and even recommend them, yet they show no love? Using FriendorFollow I found about 150 peeps that don’t yet follow me.

    Anyway, more than a comment reply probably – once again great information.

    Josh @nectarwine (twitter)

    • January 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      Excellent question! Once and a while you will see an @ message from me that reads something like: “Hey @wineguy follow me back, can’t wait to collaborate with you”! When someone you repeatedly try to engage with ignores you it is most likely because they aren’t in the Social Media know. Many people on Twitter have no idea how to play the game. I doubt they are ignoring you on purpose. Sometimes I am shunned by people who I know are ‘competing’ with me. I believe that it’s the complete opposite of what they should be doing. This is very rare though; it’s usually just a lack of user know-how. Just shake ’em by the shoulders and scream “I AM @NECTARWINE AND I’M THE SHIZZLE- FRIEND ME BY GOLLY!”

  2. January 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Great post!

    I like how you mention quality over quantity… that’s very important!

  3. January 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    To be honest, Follower-to-Following ratio is waaaay more important to me than number of followers, both for my own Twitter usage, and for helping to quickly size up people on Twitter.

    15,000 followers? Good for you. Also following 15,000 people? I now consider you useless. You’re the arm of some marketing machine, or worse, a spam bot.

    I like to see a 1.5:1 Fol’er-Fol’ing ratio. Personally, I like to maintain one that is better than 2:1. This is just my opinion, but I know lots of other on Twitter who use similar ratios to judge others.

    I’m much more excited to “meet” someone on Twitter with 150 followers (who follows 80) then one with 15,000 (who follows 15,000).

    • January 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks for your input Steve. Your sentiments on this issue are very common, and completely understandable. I am wondering, however, what if you really ARE interested in scanning the tweet feed of everyone following you? If I didn’t follow everyone back, I would miss a ton of great tweets, conversations and RT resources. There are people on Twitter who have an even-steven ration who are actually legitimately interested in seeing what everyone has to say. Not following people back can very easily be viewed as not caring for or respecting your followers. Not caring, as we know, if not Social Media done well. I, personally never follow someone who is not in my ‘target audience’ i.e. I don’t follow the taxidermist in Hong Kong. If, however, they seek me out and follow me, I welcome them by following back. More thoughts please!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. harmonymatters
    January 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I think this comment stream perfectly illustrates your point at the end of the post – there are many different ways of “doing social media”. It may be misleading to try to judge another’s motives or personality based on their follower/followee numbers, their ratio, or anything else.

    I’ve heard it said that we can only really engage with about 150 people in a meaningful way. But does that mean I should only follow 150 people? I hope not! I follow nearly a thousand on twitter and find it manageable with tools like tweetdeck. For others this wouldn’t work and they may choose to keep their circle smaller.

    Then there are people like Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) who follows 93,000+ and has 114,000+ followers. You’d think with numbers like that it’d be impossible to keep up with any of it or to have meaningful engagement, but when Chris was in Seattle a few months ago and I missed meeting him, I said so on twitter, and Chris @ replied back to me. Was it just a fluke or does Chris actually pay attention to his followers?

    I think it really is possible to care and engage and be responsive even with huge follower numbers, if that’s what you put your attention on. I see it happen all the time, especially with those whose message is that “caring counts”, like @garyvee and @chrisbrogan.

    Then there are people who very publicly maintain huge follower/following counts and talk a lot about why and how they do that, like Robert Scoble (@scobleizer), then periodically “start over”, unfollowing everyone and only refollowing those who really grab their attention.

    But, this is what these guys do for a living, which means their experience and use of twitter is far from the norm, so who knows what any of that means. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Now, I WILL raise an eyebrow at someone who’s following 10,000, has 4 followers, and has tweeted twice. THOSE are some numbers to stay away from!

    Bottom line for me: as many varied ways as there are to “do social media”, all the strategies that work seem to have one common thread: genuinely listening and caring.

    • January 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm

      Excellent insights here Naomi, thanks for jumping in. Social Media is so very subjective and fluid. There is no clear definitions of how to ‘do it right’, and I’m not sure there will be. Having done Social Media for an international corporation, I can say that I am a fan of split testing and tests in general to gauge people’s reactions and level of response. All in all, I have come to recognize that the emerging themes that ‘worked’ are: humor, being other focused and treating everyone as equals (despite their number of followers etc). I love it, it’s like a puzzle. What’s your follower/followee style Harmony Matters?

  5. January 4, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Maybe you could do a post on how to write good comments ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. January 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    What are your thoughts on auto DM reply? Spammy ones that hawk ad-help excluded.

    • January 7, 2010 at 10:40 am

      You know, I have very mixed feelings here. I go back and forth about whether or not I should utilize auto reply. For me it comes down to what your auto reply content is. I feel icked when I see an obvious auto reply that is supposed to seem personalized. On the other hand, when I see a link to a blog or website, I’m often intrigued and want to find out more about that person (if they are in my field of interest). I feel it’s ultimately your call. It seems pretty worth it for the extra handful of clicks you will get (provided you are auto messaging a link to your website). People may be offended by them, but they are standard enough to be an accepted norm, and may spread your viability that much further. Go for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. winedudeonline
    January 7, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Very informative article on social media. I am just starting to get into the twitter ring and will use your suggestions.

  8. January 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Nice post.

  9. Tia Butts
    January 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Auto DM’s are the definition of unauthentic to me. Twitter and SM is all about authenticity and there is nothing more stale and cold than an auto DM IMHO. They are impersonal, untargeted and even if written well, I can usually spot them instantly. It’s not a tool I believe in using.

    Enjoy reading your posts. Thanks!

    • January 7, 2010 at 11:01 am

      Thanks for jumping in on this Tia, just wondering if you can think of any exceptions to this?

  10. Tia Butts
    January 7, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I suppose there might be some legitimate business reason for an auto DM. An example that comes to mind is a contest on Twitter or something in which you require a person follow you as part of a promotion. But, I think those would need to be used carefully and hopefully would be obvious to the Tweeter receiving. I might even consider poking fun by pointing it out. “We are sending you this auto DM to say thanks for entering out promo. When you win, we promise we’ll DM you personally.” You get the idea.

    But, again, I would use them very carefully or not at all.

    Cheers!

  11. January 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Great idea, but will this work over the long run?

  12. January 11, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Sometimes it’s really that simple, isn’t it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

  13. February 2, 2010 at 6:37 am

    There is obviously a lot to learn. There are some good points here.

    Robert Shumake Paul Nicoletti

  14. February 2, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    There’s good info here. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Keep up the good work mate!

    surface encounters

  15. June 9, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Great solid info! If you are ever in Sonoma, stop into the Sunflower Caffe and Winebar I’ll take you up on your info in exchange for food and wine ๐Ÿ™‚

    keep up the good work,

    James

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