Wineries on Twitter: Robert Mondavi Winery
How does the most influential winery in the United States use social media? I’m honored to have Robert Mondavi family of wineries participate in this educational series about the use of Twitter and Facebook. Undoubtedly you have drank their wine and you know their story, now, follow their tweets. Thanks to Peter Alig (Robert Mondavi wine educator) for helping share how social media can benefit wineries large and small.
How long have you been using Twitter?
We have been using Twitter for about one year.
What prompted you to dive in?
Robert Mondavi Winery is one of the most recognized wine brands in the world. We have been in business since 1966 and have hosted millions of visitors since our founding. The major impetus for “diving in” to social media was to get a better sense of what our customers and visitors truly think about us and our wines. We also wanted to find a way to connect to wine lovers who do not get their wine information from traditional media sources.
Most important, we wanted to build relationships with and express our gratitude to as many individuals as possible who make our wines a part of their everyday lives. We would not be here without them!
What type of strategy or approach do you use when posting content?
Our strategy for posting content on Facebook and Twitter can be summarized in two questions: Does the content educate? Does the content congratulate? This strategy flows directly from the vision of Robert Mondavi, who wanted to create a new wine culture in the United States through educating visitors on the finer points of viticulture, winemaking, and wine appreciation. Social media expands our capacity to educate dramatically.
Robert Mondavi also wanted Napa Valley to become a world-class wine-producing region, and he knew that vintners had to work together to achieve this goal. When someone helps you, the civilized thing to do is say thank you, and social media helps us recognize others’ successes and thank those who have helped us and/or visited us.
What have been the benefits of using Twitter/Facebook? (increased traffic, increased brand awareness, customer connection, etc)
I would say the biggest benefit so far from using social media is brand awareness. More and more of our visitors and consumers understand who we are and what we offer. This is so important.
Social media has also allowed us to nourish relationships with guests and consumers. We have had several cases of repeat guests who visited us in person, learned that we were on social media, interacted with us, and returned with friends. I don’t have hard figures here, but we have begun to notice this trend.
Is there a single success story that you can point to with using Twitter/Facebook?
Yes, the first ever Napa Valley TweetUp, which we hosted on a rainy evening in March 2010. Thank to our efforts and the efforts of our dear friends in social media, the event was a great success and the Napa Valley TweetUp has become a brand unto itself. We saw a surge in fans/followers and a noticeable increase in online discussions involving us and the TweetUp.
What do you think is the single biggest barrier to why we don’t see more wineries actively using Social Media tools?
The biggest barrier is simply not understanding why they should invest time and/or money in social media. Social media at its most basic is free advertising, which should pique a winery’s interest, but it can be so much more. This is why your series on drinknectar.com is so critical.
What advice would you give to wineries joining the stream or getting back into the stream?
My advice is to not be intimidated by social media. Yes, you should have a plan when you begin, and yes, there are certain things you should do to get the most out your social media engagement, but don’t feel like you are doing something wrong if you cannot achieve Gary Vaynerchuk-like numbers overnight.
This leads to the second bit of advice: Don’t look at social media as a competition. Don’t begin posting content because you want to “one-up” the winery next to you. It will backfire. Simply find your voice, find your style, and let that be your guide. You should become followers of Rick Bakas, Hardy Wallace, and Gary Vaynerchuk, the most successful social media innovators in the wine world, but your program does not have to resemble theirs to be considered successful.
What is your favorite rock band and why?
Wow, there are so many. I’m on this reggae kick right now, so I am thrilled that the great Ziggy Marley will be performing at the winery on July 16.