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Wine Social Media: Do You Have What It Takes?

2010 February 1

Four key areas of influenceLike a cluster of grapes in a press, wineries are feeling the pressure to use social media to market their wines, and if they’re a small winery, they’re at the point of bursting. Small wineries in particular have limited time and resources, and putting a significant amount of either into a social media initiative usually means taking that away from more traditional marketing and PR. If your traditional marketing plans are working fine for you, should you re-allocate time and resources to something you’re unfamiliar with and without a proven track record? A fair question would be: Do you have what it takes to develop a wine social media strategy?

The graphic on the right represents the four core strengths that someone venturing into the social media arena should possess. You may also want to look at the 5 Things That Helped Me Land My Job to get some more ideas.

Do You Have What It Takes?

Community

You should have an understanding of how people socialize and interact with one another. You might be a socialogy, psychology or anthropology major and have a good understanding of not only how people communicate in real life social settings, but also how they share information and converse in the online world. This includes knowing the different social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and the proper social etiquette and appropriate content for each community.

Technology

You know the technology, which platforms fit your strategy and how best to utilize them. You might have been a computer programmer, web designer or gamer in a previous life, but you’re also not afraid of being social, even in real life situations. You should be an expert with the most popular platforms, but also familiar with the available social media tools and how they can benefit your winery and brand. This includes knowing when to recommend a platform and when to abandon one that doesn’t fit your strategy.

Brand

You have a great understanding of wine, the industry and the your position in the wine marketplace. In a small operation, you might be the winery owner. In a bigger winery, you’re likely the marketing or brand manager. In some cases, you’re a advertising or PR firm hired to provide brand intelligence for these products. You should know not only your wine and winery, but also the competition and how other business factors may affect your brand perception.

Consumer

You know your consumer, who they are, what they like, and why they’re drawn to your wine. You’re someone in marketing or audience research and you’ve worked with different media outlets to know lots about demographics and marketing direct to consumers. You’re comfortable conducting research, as well as compiling research from other resources to be able to profile your target audience.

You Can’t Be Omnipotent

Obviously, if you find yourself in the center—the intersection of all four strengths—you’re in social media nirvana and probably had lots of good SM karma. But more than likely, your skills place you somewhere in one of the overlapping areas. If you’re familiar with your customer and your brand, you probably are doing marketing for your winery. If you know some of the tools and technology and you know your customers, you are (or should be) involved with customer service. If you know the brand and how people interact, you should be in public relations or the tasting room. And finally, if you know the communities and the technology, you’re a shoe-in for the the social media person.

Chances are good that you or your marketing department possess three of these strengths and possibly even all four. Great! That gives you a greater understanding of the big picture and helps to develop a more complete SM strategy. Since a SM strategy would be incomplete without all of these strengths, no one strength is more important than the other, but in my experience, without knowing your consumer, all the other areas become a moot point. In my opinion, this is often one of the weakest areas for small wineries and is often neglected or simply ignored. Without knowing your customer, who will you target, not just with your social media efforts, but with your overall marketing strategy. Can I get an Amen, sister?

Don’t despair if you don’t think you’re ready for SM. You may need to hire a consultant or research firm to fill those gaps in your strengths. In my next article, I’ll suggest some questions wineries need to answer in order to actually develop that social media strategy. After all, you need to know where you’re going before you can reach your destination.

These are just my opinions gleaned from lots of research combined with my own experience. I’d like to know what you think? Did I hit it out of the park or am I way off base? Are you a winery or do you know one who has carried out an effective social media campaign without having all these key strengths? I invite you to share your insight or experience.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010

    Eric,

    Another well crafted post. I’ll definitely be directing some local wineries your way for information. Strategy is very important to success. If you don’t know your technology, tools and brand, then chances are you’ll flounder around and even worse, you’ll waste more time. Taking the time to develop a strategy will help you be more efficient in social media use.

    Josh @nectarwine

  2. March 4, 2010

    Great post. Each of these points are relevant to all online marketing activity. SEO, SEM, and SMM all must be symbiotic based on the defined strategy and the components thereof.

    I hope you will join us at the Napa Valley Tweetup events to continue the conversation.

    Keep up the good work!

    Cheers,
    Gabriel

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  1. Developing Your Winery’s Social Media Strategy: Goals | Bricks of Wine
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