Developing Your Winery’s Social Media Strategy: Metrics
The late Peter Drucker said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” I agree wholeheartedly. And while some so-called experts in social media would have you believe that you shouldn’t worry about ROI—that measuring metrics only serves to distract us from engaging with our customers and building relationships—it still continues to be a key concern for any business, especially when that investment is unproven and made during economically troubled times. Just look at how many quotes on ROI can be found online or listen to any sales pitch made to a company’s executive team and you’ll see how important it really is. Still think you shouldn’t worry about it?
Developing Your Winery’s Social Media Strategy: Metrics
Social media has grown up
Ignoring ROI, jumping into SM without a plan, and abandoning conventional wisdom may have worked a few years ago when social media was still in its infancy, but that was then and this is now. We all know that planning and having a strategy is the key to a successful social media campaign. There are now lots of tools to measure and evaluate the strength of your SM campaign. The real question is, what are you going to measure? Page views? Comments? Fans? Followers? Search engine ranking? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple since those measurements often don’t translate directly into sales results. So it’s not surprising that in a recent survey of marketing professionals, only 16% said they measure the ROI of their social media programs.1 And if you think about it, for most wineries, how exactly do you measure a return on an investment primarily of time?
If you’re a C-level executive at a large wine and spirits conglomerate, you’re probably only concerned with tangible results: revenue, retention, conversion and, ultimately, profit. But I wouldn’t limit those concerns to only large wineries. Smaller wineries also need to know where their time and money is going, because spending both on social media means you’re taking it away from other tasks and budgets.
If you are tasked with SM, how will you manage expectations?
I mentioned that executives are only interested in tangible results. But if we simply focus on our P&L statement, we miss out on other intangibles that SM produces, such as brand loyalty, trust and advocacy. Short of asking all the visitors to your tasting room, how can you even begin to measure these indicators? (I can see it now…On a scale of 1 to 10, how loyal are you to our winery?) Going one step further, how do you even present these kind of metrics in a comprehensive view to those higher up and how do you set realistic expectations with this in mind?
I try to under-promise and over-deliver. I’ve said before that SM is a long-term strategy with few immediate measurable results. Normally, I would say that after a couple of sales quarters, you should be able to measure your effectiveness against prior years’ sales figures. However, in this economy with people cutting back on discretionary spending, it would be almost impossible to make your efforts appear favorable. If anything, you may improve customer retention, but going from losing 30% of your wine club members to only losing 10% may not seem like much of an accomplishment in management’s eyes. Nonetheless, that’s still moving in the right direction. Try highlighting the fact that you’ve slowed down that downhill slide.
What will determine your success?
Facebook Fans? Twitter followers? Blog traffic? While these may be easy intermediate metrics to measure, ultimately it is sales that will determine if your SM efforts are successful. That could be from wine club members, tasting room traffic and direct and online sales figures. Establish a baseline from sales histories. Make sure that other factors aren’t influencing these metrics. A favorable review in a wine magazine or other traditional marketing efforts could easily skew your results. Seasonal and holiday fluctuations should be measured against an average increase in prior years versus normal sales volumes.
Because of the economy, I personally can’t claim to have increased overall sales, but since I work with direct-to-consumer sales figures, I can see the sales spikes on products that I have promoted on the blog, in a video, or through a combination of social media platforms. But within the marketing realm, social media doesn’t live in it’s own world separate from other marketing efforts. It’s only because of all the combined marketing efforts—including email, print and direct sales—that my social media marketing is successful.
What happens if you aren’t successful?
Even with the best planned strategies and interesting and consistent content, you may find that your social media efforts aren’t meeting your overall marketing goals. Now what? First of all, are you being realistic? Social media is not the panacea for your marketing ills. If your marketing efforts weren’t producing expected results before you started doing SM, then perhaps the problem is rooted deeper in overall strategy and not just social media. Time to look at the bigger picture.
This may also be a good time to reevaluate your efforts. If you do social media marketing long enough, you’ll begin to see a pattern of what worked and what didn’t. For example, if you’re producing videos and you’re getting fewer and fewer views, then something is not working right and needs to change. You may need to seek more effective channels for promoting them, change your topics, improve your video skills, or abandon video altogether. Does your audience even watch videos? What you don’t want to do is maintain the status quo. If it’s not working, fix it. If you can’t fix it, find someone who can. If it’s not worth fixing, get rid of it.
Finally, learn from your own experience and mistakes. What worked for me or someone else, may not necessarily work for you. Every winery is different with different goals, audience and expectations. There is no magic formula or set of steps that will work for everyone. You have to evaluate what your winery needs, make your own strategy and find your ideal combination of tools and tactics.
Best of luck with your social media program, and, as always, feel free to contact me if you need help with your efforts.
1 Mzinga and Babson Executive Education, Social Software in Business, September 8, 2009
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