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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

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.

THE Most Important Social Media Marketing Business Strategy: Be Authentic

December 27, 2009 15 comments

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