Developing Your Winery’s Social Media Strategy: Resources
Developing Your Winery’s Social Media Strategy: Resources
Do you have something to say?
Of course you do, right now. But what about next month and the month after that? Making compelling content requires some creativity and coming up with ideas can sometimes be challenging. If you need some help, check out Tom Wark’s 50 Updates for Facebook. Although geared towards Facebook, these are great topics for both blogs and video. Also look at my random list of 17 Interesting Blog & Video Topics for Your Winery for some more topics.
It really is all about the content. It’s what keeps people coming back to your website, blog and fan page. But when it comes to creating content, I’m in a constant struggle to balance quantity versus quality. Some people think that it’s important to constantly create content—sometimes every day—but I think quality is more important than quantity. After all, how many days in a row do you think people will want to read about you punching down the cap on your latest vintage? Strive for higher quality with less frequency. So instead of just talking about punchdowns, make a video demonstrating how you do it and explain why your methods are crucial to the quality of your wine. Higher quality posts will be shared in the community. They’re more “sticky” and will continue to get visits and search engine hits long after the initial interest wains.
There’s nothing that says you can’t post to your blog every other week or even less often. If you’re posting content that people want to read or watch, that’s entertaining, informative or offering free stuff, you can do it at your own pace. However, to make your content effectual, it has to have a call to action. What’s that you ask? Marketing-speak for directing your audience to look at something, do something or buy something. Otherwise, your content accomplishes nothing and contributes nothing to your sales or brand awareness. The other key to content is that, whatever your schedule for producing it, you have to be producing it consistently. Which brings me to the next question…
Do you have the time or people to dedicate to this?
“No,” seems to be the answer I hear the most to this question. Whether it’s that 700 word blog entry you make each week, the one minute video you record each month or the 140 character tweet you send each day, generating content can be time consuming. But it doesn’t have to take as much time as you think. There are tools available to help you post content to multiple sources. And with “mini-blogs” like Posterous, you can do it as easily as sending an email. By linking your platforms together, creating or sharing content on one will post it to the others. So when you upload that photo to Flickr, your blog and Facebook wall will post a link to it. Now the question is, who will create all this content?
If you’re a small winery, the owner(s) or winemaker(s) usually creates content. Or it could be someone in customer service or the tasting room performing double duty. Regardless of who does it, make sure they reserve a bit of time each day to respond to feedback and participate. They’ll also need to set aside enough time each week or two in order to create content. In a larger operation, you may have to hire a social media person, but don’t expect them to create all the content themselves, especially in the beginning. They’ll need help writing articles, creating videos, and staying on top of all the different platforms.
More importantly, can they do it consistently? Many wineries get caught up initially with the novelty of blogging, tweeting or Facebook, but lose interest and eventually stop when they don’t see enough blog traffic, Twitter followers or Facebook fans. A following doesn’t develop overnight and requires dedication. It’s not about getting as many followers, subscribers and fans as possible, but rather to get quality followers who are either influencers in their social community or customers who ultimately will buy your product.
The charts above represent my work week. The top chart is how I typically spend my time now. The bottom chart is where I’d like to be. As you can see, I spend nearly half my time either writing or producing video. I eventually would like to do more video and less writing. I’d also like to have more time to spend conversing with people both online and in real life. And I’m hoping that the amount of research I need to do will decrease as I learn more about the industry and the Sonoma/Napa area. Did you notice the little brown slice? Yeah, I’d also like to have a little more time for tasting! Now if you’re a winery, imagine your own pie chart of your time. What would have to happen to insert a big slice for SM in that chart? Something’s gotta give.
What will suffer if you spend time and money on social media?
For me, my social life and apartment clutter have probably suffered the most as a result of my job. Sorry, oversharing! You have a limited budget and only so much time in the day; from where will you shift money to spend on SM? What will you allow to go undone by spending time on social media? Would your time be better spent doing your primary job and hiring a consultant or another person to do your social media?
A lot of companies are shifting their time and money away from traditional marketing to online marketing, with some companies shifting as much as 80% of their marketing budget to the online side of things. If a good portion of your sales are direct-to-consumer through your tasting room, telemarketing or web sales, you probably started to shift your focus already. However, if your traditional marketing is working well, you probably won’t change things that drastically. (Why fix what isn’t broken?) But if you do reallocate your time and budget, how will your marketing goals change as a result? After all, you’ll have the attention of a different audience.
Do you have the skills?
You may have some great ideas and a long list of interesting topics, but do you or your staff have the skills to make it happen? I’m not talking about the high-level qualities I felt were necessary for social media as discussed in Wine Social Media: Do You Have What It Takes? When it gets down to the nitty gritty, you or whoever is doing your social media needs to be able to do the following on a daily basis:
- Writing, both in a journalistic and creative style. Humor is a definite plus. You also need to be your own editor and judging from the length of this article, that’s something I need to work on.
- Photography, at least enough to be able take decent photos for your blog or Facebook fan page.
- Video, at its most basic, be able to shoot, edit and upload video.
- Speaking on camera, because at some point you’ll have to step in front of the camera to interview or introduce people.
- Negotiation, because you’re going to need cooperation from many other people at the winery to get things done.
- Networking, since making connections is the social part of Social Media.
- Marketing, and the business acumen to tie all this back to selling wine.
Do you have the tools?
Does anyone remember the movie, Ishtar? It had the star power of Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty, the film had spectacular locations and technically was filmed flawlessly. Yet, the critics hated it and it was a box office flop.
At a bare minimum, you’ll need an Internet-enabled phone to participate in social media. With the right phone, you could actually get by with just that. With certain brands of phones, you can take photos, videos, tweet, and type your next blog post. However, I couldn’t imagine writing a long blog article on my phone’s tiny little keyboard, so eventually, you’ll probably need a real computer and an Internet connection.
From there, your choice of software, cameras and video equipment will all depend on your budget and the quality you’re striving for. You could literally spend thousands of dollars to get the best quality equipment. But just remember, the equipment doesn’t make the content nor does it guarantee that your content will go viral. Like the movie, Ishtar, you could be doing everything right and your content could go unseen. Get only what’s necessary to do the job now. If things work out, you can always upgrade your equipment later, if not, you’re not out a lot of money.
You do know how to carry on a conversation, don’t you?
I tacked this on to the end of this article because if you are going to participate in social media, whether you hire a consultant or new employee or do it yourself, you should keep this in mind. Social media is a dialogue, not a monologue. It’s this ability to have a conversation with your customers, friends and followers that has changed how we communicate and do business. If all you’re doing is mimicking traditional media and not engaging with your customers and followers, then you’re no better off than if you printed an ad in a magazine or broadcast a commercial on television.
Having a web page, blog or Facebook page where you don’t interact with your customers is like going to a meetup or other party, putting on your name tag and sitting in a corner not talking to anyone. You won’t make any connections that way, nor will you get people to return to your site if you don’t “talk” with people online either. Even worse, we’ve all met the self-absorbed egotist at parties. How long do you hang around before you’re tired of listening without being heard or getting a word in edgewise? Don’t be the online equivalent, monologuing and bragging about where they’ve been and what they’re doing and never really having a conversation. If you’re not engaging with your customers and followers, you’re simply talking at people, not with them. After a while, people will go elsewhere to seek conversation.
from → Social Media