“Bring in more customers by December,” the winemaker said. ’We created a Facebook page, Twitter account and started profiles on wine information Web sites, but we’re not sure where to go from here.’ ~Tasting Room Manager
This is one of the many responses I received from my first Social Media post “Wineries- Missing the Social Media Money.” In the first post I offer 5 basic principles when using Social Media. If you missed it, check them out, it’s a good place to start. If you’re reading this and you are already swimming in the deep end of the social medial pool, please pass this along. If you’re thinking of dipping your toes in – here is your life vest, let’s dive in! The New Year is a great time to make commitments. By now you’ve hopefully realized that Social Media is not a fad. It’s also something you don’t just jump into without a plan. It’s time pull your head out of your ass…I mean the sand and face the social world.
Jumping on the social media band wagon because “everyone is doing it and if you don’t you will be left behind” is not a good way to conduct business, and can ultimately lead to failure – Dave McCauley
My good friend, @SeattleWineGal, has several good posts about the benefits of developing a social media strategy. A strategy is important to achieving success. With any strategy you need discipline to see it through. Discipline is the unsung hero of success. If you are still developing your strategy or can’t quite commit to see it through I offer three suggestions:
- Secure your vanity screen names on Facebook and Twitter now. With six billion people in the world the good ones get gone quick
- Look through your current marketing plan to determine the best return on investment – eliminate the waste
- Hire a consultant or coach to help get you started and establish a strategy. Contact @nectarwine or @seattlewinegal and we can offer help or point you to the right people – we work for wine!
You have a twitter account, you’ve set up a Facebook business page / fan page, you’ve set up profiles on the endless number of business networks - now you’re ready to make a resolution to the Social Media revolution.
Connect with the Connectors and Interact with the Influencers
There are several people who have gone before you and are clearing the weeds in the social media jungle. Connect with them. After a few weeks on Twitter, you’ll soon find who the social people are. Engage them in twittersations. Comment on their tweets and re-tweet. You’ll soon learn some of the tricks of the trade by observing them.
- Search for people with similar interests by using Twitter and Facebook search. Follow those people (in small chunks of 30-50). Twitter search can also be a powerful tool to see what people are saying about you, your service or your product.
- Find blogs that focus on your business by using Google blog search. Comment on these blogs and leave your twitter name as reference (Josh @nectarwine - Twitter) – This may seem a little self-serving, but trust me, you’ll learn a ton from the talented writers as you get your name out there.
- Several of these influencers are happy to write about your service or product. If they are product reviewers, check out their strategy and send them a sample. Include a personal touch and product back story.
Start Local in the Global World
In my corporate project management we continually manage scope creep. The project starts out to solve problem X but after a while we throw issues A-Z in there too. We can’t solve world hunger without starting with our hungry neighbor first. The same is true in the global Social Media world. Chances are your product is not available globally. Having 300 local followers will probably generate more activity than having 3000 followers scattered across the globe. Increase your local results by employing the following tactics:
- Find and join local networks. In Spokane, we have www.launchpadINW.com. This .ning network focuses on connecting local businesses and hosts ‘in person’ networking opportunities.
- Similar to one already mentioned above, connect with LOCAL bloggers (hint hint – to those in the NW)
- Create and enhance local profiles on Google Maps, Yahoo and Bing Local. This will help you show up higher in the local results.
- Create a localized Facebook ad. These ads can be very affordable and targeted to specific cities, interests, etc.
Don’t be Shy in Social Situations
Don and Judy Phelps, owners of Hard Row to Hoe vineyards in Lake Chelan, WA (www.twitter.com/hardrow) – about Social Media, “Twitter provides general exposure. We find it hard to hold discussions so we do Facebook too. It is easier to get to know someone and build relationships there.”
Facebook and Twitter provide great customer interaction and brand loyalty building. What other medium provides you a real-time insight into what your customers are thinking and feeling about you and you product? In my previous post, one local business owner asked, “do you have any tips for boosting fan conversations and interaction?”
- BEING SOCIAL ON FACEBOOK: Writing on someones wall in Facebook is more personal than writing about them on your own wall (remember everyone else can see it). “Like” their comments, and ALWAYS reply to people who message you, write on your wall or respond to your posts. Create interaction by responding to their comments with a question – “Hey glad to see you at the tasting room, do you remember which wine was your favorite?”
- BEING SOCIAL ON TWITTER: Managing the volume of tweets can often be daunting. Be unique in your tweets. Tweet several times about an upcoming event or special. You can only direct message (DM @nectarwine) people who follow you back – so occassionaly reach out to your followers with a special message or thank them with a DM coupon / discount. Talk to people by replying to them (@nectarwine glad to hear you enjoying the wine you purchased. What r u serving for Christmas). Re-tweet (RT @nectarwine) things you like that others are saying. Similar to Facebook, ALWAYS respond to people who DM, Reply or RT you. Twitter lets you see who mentioned you by selecting your @name on the right side of the page. I encourage the use of TweetDeck or HootSuite (free services) to more easily manage the comments and tweets in one multi-panel screen.
You’ve got a strategy! You’re ready to go! I hope you use these basic Social Media tips to explore the new world. Connect with Connectors, think local before you go global, and don’t be shy. The social media waters can seem deep – think of these tips as your floaties to help get you started. Pretty soon, you’ll be swimming with the big boys.
P.S. Life is meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, so open a bottle of wine or brew some coffee and DRINK.HAPPY!