Wineries on Twitter: Sokol Blosser

Wineries on Twitter: @sokolblosser on Twitter

The goal of this series is to connect with wineries and wine business that use Social Media (Twitter and Facebook) effectively. These interviews can serve as a catalyst to help other wineries and wine businesses to see the benefits (and pitfalls) of joining the social revolution.

Interview Questions

How long have you been using Twitter?

Sokol Blosser has been using Twitter since the fall of 2008.

What prompted you to dive in?

A few of our consumers and colleagues were using Twitter and other free social media outlets to express their food and wine interests, share information, and quickly get the word out about events and other industry news.  We wanted to be in that “inner circle” and make sure Sokol Blosser stayed in the forefront of our consumers’ minds.

What type of strategy or approach do you use when posting content?

We didn’t want to just jump in and hope that social media worked.  Once we learned how to use sites like Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, we created a plan that mapped out several specific things: what kind of information we would post, whether or not we would use social media to sell wine (promoting deals and sales), the “voice” of our brand on social media, how many times a day we would post, what our goals were for social media, among other things.  Having a plan from the beginning helped us to have a clear understanding of what social media could provide for us, spared a lot of headaches of the “figure it out as we go” method, and helped us to feel confident.

What have been the benefits of using Twitter/Facebook? (increased traffic, increased brand awareness, customer connection, etc)

The biggest benefit to us is the connection to our consumers.  We don’t use our social media for promoting deals, simply for relating relevant content to fans who are interested in what’s going on at the Winery and in the wine industry.  We get a lot of visitors to our Tasting Room who say they’ve been following us online and just had to come out and see what Sokol Blosser is all about.

Is there a single success story that you can point to with using Twitter/Facebook?

There are many!  We have seen more visitors to our Tasting Room in the past year than ever before, more RSVPs to events, and more press releases being picked up by the media.  By connecting with people using social media, we are taking advantage of a free tool to tell our message to an audience that is interested and wants to learn.

What do you think is the single biggest barrier to why we don’t see more wineries actively using Social Media tools?

I believe that most wineries think that social media tools take up a lot of time – time they can’t afford with their already full schedules.  Sure, it takes a little time to get your social network set up, but those wineries might be surprised to know that we really devote very little time during the day to social media – we’re just consistent.  Every day there are more tools available that make networking easier, and with the possible return on what is actually a very small time commitment, I’m surprised more wineries aren’t jumping on the 2.0 bandwagon.

What advice would you give to wineries joining the stream or getting back into the stream?

Create a plan!  Know what your company’s goals are for your social networking endeavor, how much time you plan to invest each day, and who will be in charge of the “voice” of your brand online.  Then – and this is the tough part – stick to the plan and be consistent.

Also, keep it real and stay positive.  Nothing turns fans, friends and followers off faster than promising something you can’t deliver,  over-posting about certain topic or special deal, or bashing other companies, wines, or people. 

Briefly tell us about your winery, a new release, or something unique about you?

In 1971, Susan Sokol Blosser and her husband planted grapes on just 5 acres in the Dundee Hills.  As one of the pioneering wineries of the region, Sokol Blosser has played a key role in developing and shaping the now-prominent Oregon wine industry.  The winery is still family owned and operated, with the second generation now at the helm: siblings Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser.  While the estate has grown to over 85 certified organic acres, the winery works to create wines of world-class quality, produced in a sustainable manner, which reflect the distinctive flavors of the grapes, soil and climate.

What is your favorite rock band and why?

Personally, my favorite rock band is No Doubt – I dig their hip style and the way their music has evolved over the years.  Around the winery during harvest time we listen to a lot of Beatles tunes, though – gotta love that!

drinknectar

Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

9 comments on “Wineries on Twitter: Sokol Blosser

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  2. Bruce Fuller

    We’ve enjoyed terrific success on Twitter. From zip to over 2000 Followers in just over 8 weeks. Been able to connect with a number of trade wine buyers and have been nudging people to visit us when we open in late Spring thru Crush.
    Would be happy to share our experiences with others in the wine business.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Bruce – thanks for stopping by. I’ll look for you on Twitter and look at getting you involved in this series.

      Josh

      Reply
  3. Sip with Me!

    So true Josh, excellent series and I look forward to reading more. Sokol Blosser does a great job w/their social media campaign and as you show here, it was well thought out. The obvious key is to follow a plan. I’ve seen other wineries try and fail. In fact, just today got word from a local winery offering free gift for answering a survey. After spending time to answer their questions, the link to their free gift didn’t work, frustrating people instead of rewarding them for their efforts. Like you quote SB, don’t promise what you can’t deliver!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Argh – what a total bummer. Hopefully you reached out and let them know…sometimes the only way to learn is through failure. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  4. MVineyards

    I think it is really important to understand that people come to Twitter not to be sold but to connect. People share small part of their lives with no expectation. When we jump in with an advertisement they turn off.

    My cousin wrote a book “Bassackwards Business”. He model was to help people and genuinely engage with no expectation of return. He says to become “mayor” of your community.

    The payback is genuine kinship with fellow Tweeple. And IF we are interesting enough they will go to our Facebook or blogs. There is where we should focus our marketing.

    Lastly there are those who think they are too important to follow back. All you have to do is look at who has thousands of followers and follow only a handful. I have gotten rid of those including some very famous social media folks. If you don’t care about what I have to say why should I care about you?

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Brent, – very great advice indeed. Connection is what social network is all about. The world is getting increasingly connected to each other. I recently read that now more than ever the individual voice can shout the loudest.

      As consumers we have such a strong voice because of networks like Twitter and Facebook! Great insights!

      Reply
  5. Ron

    It’s not just wineries that need to get on this, it’s local wine and liquor shops as well. Here in Colorado I talk to some of the owners I know, and they talk about how bad business has been (in a business that’s supposed to do well in a down economy, following the logic that people drink when they are happy, and drink even more when they are down). I see huge potential, but none up in northern Colorado are on it. A few are in Denver though. So I’m wondering if the size of your audience is the crucial factor. A winery with a nation-wide distribution has incentive to get on Twitter. But what about a local shop in a small city where the adoption of Twitter may only be in the thousands?
    Your thoughts?

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Ron, I wonder the same thing. There are only 5000 people in Spokane on Twitter (of a population of 350,000), but Facebook has about 75000 Spokanites on it. For those businesses, what harm is their being on the leading edge. For me, of my 1000+ followers, less than 50 are in Spokane, but that will change and grow. On facebook of the 250 fans, about 200 are from Spokane. So, I guess what I’m saying is, you have to know your audience and use the tools that reach your target market. For those business in northern Colorado, they need to get in now, while the audience is small. It may be easier to connect with the few dozen and then growing will be even easier as they’ll be seen as leaders and influencers.

      Josh

      Reply

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