Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Vital Importance of Social Media for Small Wineries

Social media has been a standard part of our culture since the mid 2000s. At that time, many industries first started to recognize the possibilities of using the internet for marketing. And while some consumer product producers found great opportunities in social media, the wine industry and many wine businesses were really slow to incorporate online social networks into their marketing programs. This was likely a result of them being both skeptical of the platforms, as well as uncertain of the potential return on investment (ROI).

But over the last few years more and more wineries have found great success with social media. Such successes include better brand awareness as well as greater conversion of fans and followers into customers resulting from the type of relationship building that only social media can provide.
There are, of course, many different types of social media, including social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+; blogs and web 2.0 social sites; video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo; review sites like Citysearch & Yelp; as well as mobile "check-in" platforms like Foursquare and Foodspotting. And that's just for starters.

Why is Social Media a Good Pairing for Wine?
Wine is often talked about as an "experience" product, meaning that consumers usually need to interact with it before knowing if they actually like it. With well over 10,000 producers represented in the US market alone, wine can be especially confusing. That's why so many consumers rely on wine-savvy friends or professionals to help them with their wine purchasing. In decades past it might have been books or magazine articles or newsletter that helped them learn and make decisions about wine, but in the age of the internet, consumers are increasingly turning to the web for education and advice on just about everything, including wine. In fact, wine is one of the most searched terms on Google when it comes to consumer products.

Wine Social Media Has Grown
Consumer consumption of social content related to wine has increased significantly over the last several years. In a study conducted back in 2010, approximately 700,000 people searched for and viewed wine related videos on a monthly basis. There are over 8,000 wine related tweets per day and nearly 500 iPhone apps related to wine. According to their own internal data, 90% of wine drinkers engage with Facebook between 6 and 8 hours every week. And, according to a Google Analytics report in 2012, wineries are the third most popular subject on Pinterest. There are between 1500 and 2000 active blogs on the subject of wine at any given time, and even more bloggers who include wine among other subjects they cover. Wine is clearly on the radar of a huge portion of the internet's population.

Tips for Launching a Wine Social Media Strategy
While many major wine industry players have now embraced social media as part of their strategy, small wineries have remained slow at fully implementing social media into their overall marketing strategy. Without a dedicated staff member, it can often seem like an overwhelming task. But the fact is that by dedicating a short amount of time on a consistent basis, any small business (including small wineries) can develop a strong social media presence. Here's how:
1) Pick one or two platforms and become an expert at connecting with fans on them. Don't get distracted by thinking you need to be everywhere online.
2) Create interesting, engaging, and valuable content that will get people to interact with you. One sided content, like a photo with a caption saying "we're out in the vineyard today dropping fruit" just won't get people involved. Instead, try caption contests or ask provocative questions.
3) Include a call to action with every few posts. The idea of social platform marketing is to relate, but also to feed your business with new purchases or new clients. Make sure you don't miss opportunities to get them to buy from you.

Putting it into Action:
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Brought to by David Baer - Demystifying Internet Marketing for wineries, wine retailers and other small business owners.
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