29 Jan 2010
Wineries on Twitter – Woodward Canyon @woodwardcanyon 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.
The Interview: Woodward Canyon
How long have you been using Twitter?
We’ve been on Twitter for only about 8 months now.
What prompted you to dive in?
I’ve personally had a twitter account for a couple of years and I knew that it was the direction that marketing and social media was heading. When I approached our GM and our marketing coordinator they had also heard about twitter and knew that it was something that we needed to get into before we were doing nothing but chasing the market.
What type of strategy or approach do you use when posting content?
It really depends on who is posting that day. There are a couple of us who try to keep it updated and we each have our own style. But, I like to try to post and re-tweet anything with relevance to the wine industry, Walla Walla Valley and Woodward Canyon. I’ve tried to develop more of a connection with others but will also throw out specials or things going on at the winery as well.
What have been the benefits of using Twitter/Facebook? (increased traffic, increased brand awareness, customer connection, etc)
We’re still fairly new in the whole world of social media even though we’ve been on Facebook for over a year now. I hope that having a profile on both makes us a little more accessible in the eyes of the public and increases brand awareness.
Is there a single success story that you can point to with using Twitter/Facebook?
I know that there have been a few times where I’ve posted something about a wine being released or poured for the first time and someone has seen it and they’ve come in specifically to taste it. The first time it happened was fun for me because it meant that someone was actually reading the stuff I was posting and I wasn’t just posting things for my own enjoyment.
What do you think is the single biggest barrier to why we don’t see more wineries actively using Social Media tools?
Social media is a hard one. I’ve seen some who join because it’s the new thing or fad and then they fall off in a couple of months. Others are still going strong. It’s definitely something that you have to have a plan to follow. It’s not a form of marketing that usually shows immediate results or sales and I think that this deters people. It’s definitely a large amount of time spent on building up your brand awareness and making connections with people rather than trying to directly sell them wine. It is such a foreign concept.
What advice would you give to wineries joining the stream or getting back into the stream?
If you’re interested in social media then you should definitely do it. Make sure that you have someone who is somewhat familiar with what is going on or is willing to learn. Enthusiasm for your company and the different forms of social media are necessary along with enough time to put everything into action.
Briefly tell us about your winery, a new release, or something unique about you?
We are a small, family owned winery in the Walla Walla Valley and we are the second oldest winery in the valley. Rick and Darcey Small started the winery in 1981. Rick and Darcey are both a part of the every day decisions at the winery. Rick, our original winemaker is now head of production and Darcey is our general manager. I love working for them because they treat all the employees very well. We just finished birthday lunch for Kevin, our winemaker, which consisted of Thomas burgers, Rick buns, salad, sweet potato fries and white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. We don’t mess around here! And of course I wouldn’t be talking about Woodward Canyon and some of my favorite things without mentioning our wood fire oven out back. I didn’t realize what I was missing in terms of good pizza until I had one of Rick’s very famous, homemade, garden fresh pizzas! Rick makes the dough himself and then most of the toppings are either from our Estate Garden or from local merchants. Yum, I’m getting hungry again just thinking about them!
What is your favorite rock band and why?
Hmmm … that’s a good question. I’m not sure I have a favorite rock band. There are so many good ones out there. I guess I’ve been following Pink Floyd for years now so they would have to be one of them. Floyd just brings back so many fond memories from high school and college and gathering with friends. I’m a big fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Dave Matthews Band. And then there’s Kings of Leon – I love this upcoming band!
26 Jan 2010
Does Facebook Tweeting Hurt?
Facebook offers a way to connect your status updates to Twitter. Sounds like a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Does “tweeting” your Facebook status actually hurt your marketing efforts? Do Facebook tweeters frustrate users and risk alienating their customers? Let me answer that question by briefly exploring the difference between Twitter and Facebook. If you already understand the basics of these two networks, feel free to skip the next section.
A Facebook Fan page allows you to stay in touch with your customers and allows customers to post their thoughts and experiences about your business / product. Status updates are limited to 461 characters (at last check). Facebook also lets you post events, images, discussions, and even notes (blogs). As your customers interact with you through “likes,” comments and posts, two things occur: 1) They show up in the Home stream of your fans status updates or feeds 2) There is a central “page” that your fans can visit for all of your posts and other fan responses. Facebook is sticky, provides a connective conversation between you and your fans. As an example, www.facebook.com/drinknectar has 130 fans. These fans see my periodic posts in their feed/status update and they may occasionally click on one of my links or visit the fan page. Rarely if ever, does one of those fans actually share that information with their ‘friends.’ My reach typically ends with the 130 people.
Twitter is a fast paced stream or feed of real time information. Tweets are limited to only 140 characters. When you begin to follow people you see their tweets. The people who follow you conversely see your tweets. The only way for your tweets to reach a larger audience is to get more followers or to have one of your followers re-tweet it (RT). When they do, all of their followers will see it. Twitter does not directly have the ability to host any other content except the tweet. While you do have a profile page that people visit on Twitter, it does not readily show the complete story of a tweet or conversation. Example – My www.twitter.com/nectarwine account has close to 1000 followers. When I tweet something interesting, provoking, or of value, it is very common for that tweet to be re-tweeted 5-10 times. Some of these re-tweets are by people with 50 – 15,000 followers. The potential reach of my tweet can be upwards to 30,000 people, all across the globe.
Each medium has its own culture. Is one better than the other? Each has its place. Marketing and networking with the two is not always done in the same way. Here is where Facebook Tweeter goes wrong.
Problems with Tweeting Your Status Update
1) You run the risk of diminishing your returns
The Issue: You are posting a link to an awesome blog, asking for feedback from your fans (i.e. your customers), or promoting a special event. For argument sake, let’s say that the status update was interesting enough for me to care enough to click it. You’ve now taken me to Facebook where I have to click something else to either be taken to your blog, see the rest of the question, or read more about the event. Asking your followers (i.e. your customers) to be interested enough to click two things in the ADD world of social networking diminishes your returns.
The solution: If you want someone to go to a blog link, tweet the actual link. If you’re seeking feedback, keep the status update to less than 140 characters. If you’re promoting an event, link directly to the event page in your tweet (use a service that shortens links like bit.ly)
2) You will alienate your followers (i.e. your customers)
The Issue: You have a Twitter account and you have a Facebook page. With the nature of your business, people naturally start following you on Twitter. You, however are a Facebook Tweeter that neglects your Twitter account. Occasionally, your followers (i.e. customers) mention you in a tweet, they re-tweet your cool event (because they like you), and occasionally they ask you direct questions. Because all you do is tweet from Facebook, you never see any of it. Your followers associate your lack of response with lack of care, they get disinterested and they un-follow you (take their business elsewhere). As a test this week, I asked direct questions of local businesses and event promoters who I suspected of Facebook tweeting. The result: zero response, and loss of my interest in them as a company.
The Solution: Check Twitter. If using the standard Twitter page feels cumbersome (which it is), use a free product like TweetDeck to easily monitor your direct messages (DM), mentions and replies.
If you are going to be on both networks, one simple rule will govern your success: Caring, observant, conversation. If fans post to your wall or comment on a post, respond to them. If followers mention, re-tweet or direct message you, respond to them. You wouldn’t ignore a customer who was standing right in front of you…would you?
Do you agree? Is Facebook tweeting bad? Do you know people who are guilty of it?
21 Jan 2010
The Twitterverse (universe of Twitter) can seem like an intimidating place to those that are just joining in. After you begin to follow a few people and the tweets begin flying, it can be a challenge to join in the stream. Below are real world examples of tweets that I consider “successful” tweets. Follow these tweeter examples and watch your followers grow.
*These are real tweets from actual bloggers and businesses I follow. These tweets were captured on January 20, 2010 (the #tweetfail are examples of tweets I’ve seen that are not successful.)
1. The Intriguing Tweet
Tweets should have character and sometimes a hint of intrigue. With all the tweets flying by, your 140 characters need to make someone want to stop and click the link. A good trick is to pull a quote from your post, comment or customer.
#tweetfail: Visit our site to learn more about the new product www.blahblahblah.com
2. The Wise Sage Tweet
TishWine Accord to Wine Market Council, in general: Millennials are ahead of previous generations in terms of wine interest and activity.
Tweets that provide information to your followers are very beneficial. This shows that you know about your topic and that you are a source to be trusted. The wild sage stays current on trends and is up to date on the latest news.
#tweetfail: This NYT article on social networking is awesome (no link)
3. The Insight into Life Tweet
WeDomestic The best part of the margaritas? They numb the hurt Jillian leaves behind. In my arms. And my thighs. And…
You are more that a tweeting marketing machine. Provide people with insight into your real life. Avoid the boring and mundane put a clever spin on your activities; be transparent with humor or mistakes.
#tweetfail: I can’t believe the inane stuff that spews from my co-workers mouth…what a moron.
4. The Connector Tweet
Guys like Matt are great. They love to connect their friends who have similar interests. Think beyond your marketing plan and see if you can connect your friends who have not met yet. They’ll thank you!
#tweetfail: I just don’t get @suchandsuch – he is so over the top, how can anyone like his blog
5. The Observation Tweet
The observer actually pays attention to and cares about the stream of information flying past them. This observation tweet shows that you are more than a marketing machine and that you care about your followers or customers.
#tweetfail: Hey check out this amazing event we’re having over here is fantastic city USA. You’ll love it http//facebooklink (The problem here is linking to Facebook and never checking twitter responses. I’ve replied to tweets like this and never received a response. Total #fail)
6. The Referral Tweet
This tweet contains referrals of fellow tweeters and a business. This is a perfect example of using twitter to network with others and recommend local business who are using twitter. More of this viral marketing will help businesses see the ROI of social networking.
#tweetfail: Loving the swank vibe at Purple Café with Yahar. Missing you Taryn. Thanks, Heavy Restaurant. (no @ reply means no connection)
7. The Conversation Tweet
On the surface this tweet may not seem like much, but if you track it between people, you’ll find conversation between friends. Reach out to your followers, ask questions, develop connections; you’ll be happy you did.
8. The Polite Tweet
When someone @ mentions you or RT (share’s) one of your tweets, it is important to thank them or reply back to them. This builds and deepens the relationship between you and your followers and customers.
#tweetfail: Not thanking or responding to people who reach out to you. Nothing can turn customers and blog readers more than failing to thank them or ignoring their questions. Would you ignore someone who was right in front of you asking a question? Why would you ignore a tweet question?
9. The Product Use Tweet
This is a cool use of Twitter. Kiona pays attention to feeds and/or searches for mentions of their product and replies to the tweeter. This type of customer service shows care and greater level of interest than the typical business. It’s the little things that set the great apart from the good.
#tweetfail: Letting product mentions (especially references to problems) go without response
10. The Sharing Tweet
When you see information come by that you like (doesn’t always have to be the same topic), share it with your friends by retweeting it (RT). Doing this helps to virally spread the great information to others. You can hand a newspaper article to one person, but a single tweet can go around the world. Two tips: 1) Take care when re-tweeting. Try your best to add something to the tweet. If you have to append it, don’t change the original intent of the message. Give credit where credit is due. 2) If the information is on a blog you read, make a comment on the blog before retweeting.
#tweetfail: Never sharing, removing the source name and changing the tweet’s intention
12 Jan 2010
Do you really need to pay someone thousands of dollars for a social media strategy? Should you hand over the social media reigns to your PR person or marketing firm? Why should I pay for something I can do for myself?
I’ve been thinking about this on several fronts lately as I visit local businesses without a social media presence. My first thought is why pay someone money to do something that is free and requires very little technical expertise? Not to mention the vast amount of free information and training available. I mean really, some of these folks charge $50 – $100 per hour. If you’re so ready to throw that kind of money at it, I’ll crown myself an expert and let you pay me. I’ve been in the corporate world long enough to create a pretty damn fancy and impressive resume.
Seriously, it is an interesting question. I was recently talking to a friend and I said it only takes four things to be successful at developing a brand through social media:
To me, this seems simple. I’m passionate about my topic, I’m pretty disciplined to get in and learn the tools and be consistent with my product. I care about interacting with people, I respond to comments, I engage people in conversation. I don’t have the time, I make the time. So far, I’ve been pleased with the results. I’m making money, I’m building a brand, I’m networking with local people, and ideas are coming together.
Anyone can do it! Right?
What if you’re passionate about your product, you just don’t have the time to dedicate to something new? What if you care about interacting with people, you just don’t have the discipline to develop a strategy and learn the tools? I could change the oil in my car myself if I had the time and if I knew how. There are books to teach me, but…See the rub?
Hiring a consultant may be beneficial for folks that are in this situation. Many wineries are 1-3 man/woman operations. Finding even 20 minutes a day to tweet and Facebook may be a challenge. Sometimes the fact that I pay for my gym membership gets me going to the gym. Maybe paying a consultant is the jump start that is needed for some companies.
Here are a few things to consider before hiring someone.
- Don’t let them dazzle you with corporate jargon (buzz word crap). We’re going to analyze this, set baseline that, set up ROI measurement systems, engage, assess, evaluate, monitor, blah blah blah.
a) Determine what you want to accomplish b) find the tools to accomplish it c) repeat the best ways to accomplish it and d) measure your results.
- It’s not rocket science. There is nothing wrong with getting involved and making a few mistakes along the way. The tools are there, the tools are free, no software engineering degree is needed to understand Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, or Linkdin.
- DO NOT hand over the management of your content or customer interaction (unless you’re actually hiring someone to do it full time). A PR firm / marketing team will not be as passionate or as transparent as you can be with your customers. Social Media is connection with your customers. Hiring someone to pretent to be you for a few hours a month is a failure (in my opinion).
- Do your homework. You’re hiring someone as a Social Media Guru / Expert, doesn’t it make sense that you should see if they are using it sucessfully themselves? Visit their blog. Is their content current? What makes you think they’ll keep yours current? Go to their Facebook page. Was their last status update more than a week ago? Are all of their tweets self serving links and ads? If you don’t see any conversation, RUN.
I know you’re reading this and have an opinion. I would love to hear it. Am I way off base? What else can you contribute to the conversation?
P.S. If you want any Social Media help from me, just ask – I’ll probably collect in wine, coffee or guitars!
Previous Social Media Posts:
03 Jan 2010
Obviously, I jest. No one intentionally sets out to fail, however there are several things that lead us down a path of failure. In the wine industry (which these posts are originally intended), the majority of wineries are small businesses with 1-10 employees. It can be a challenge for these small business owners to jump into the Social Media waters. NOT getting involved could put your business at a significant disadvantage. For tips on where to begin, see my two previous posts:
- Strategy: Are Wineries Missing the Social Media Money?
- Getting Started: My Social Media Resolution (very practical tips)
For those businesses that are jumping in for the New Year - here are five ways to avoid success using Social Media.
1. Begin without any set objective
You know what they call the man who is wandering around the streets with no place to go? Either homeless or lost. Being listless in the Social Media world is easy. Goals are for wimps. Jump in, start tweeting, create a Facebook business page, update your status occasionally. Make sure your posts offer no real value, are vague and self-serving, or are completely random. These actions will solidify your failure.
Success starts with a clear measurable goal. Here is an example. “Winery X will develop greater brand awareness in our community about our tasting room events. We will achieve this by connecting with local wine lovers through Twitter and Facebook. Our goal is to connect with 500 local wine lovers and drive tasting room traffic sales up by 15% by the end of the year.”
When Walmart wanted to get the word out that it had received a huge shipment of the most sought-after toy just in time for the year-end shopping season, the retailer turned to its more than 400,000 Facebook friends first. – From Baltimore Sun
2. Do not create a plan or strategy
Anyone can build a bookshelf with some plans. Where is the challenge in that? Plans are good only if you want your shelves to be straight and the bookshelf to remain standing once all the books are on it. Avoid success in the Social Media world by approaching it without a plan.
Success continues with a plan or strategy. If your goal is to drive tasting room traffic up 15% by the end of the year avoid the strategy tips below:
- Promote your Twitter and Facebook accounts on everything you send or print (email, web site, business cards, mailers, print ads, trade journals, and how about even your WINE LABEL, etc)
- Start following people in the wine industry or friend them up on Facebook (usually in smaller chunks of 50-100)
- Create Twitter / Facebook cards to specifically hand out or attach with each visit or purchase in your tasting room (store)
- Add a blog to your web site and create a weekly post about something related to your business; tasting room, wine making, harvest, events, etc.
- Once you have a following try hosting a tweet-up at your tasting room (invite your followers to come by and taste wine while tweeting about it)
When asked how Twitter has helped their business, Montaluce Winery (@Mvineyards on twitter), says, “We have seen an uptick in winery traffic, especially with a younger audience. We certainly see more contact with people who influence Atlanta food and wine.”
3. Be self-serving and erratic
Constantly posting self-promoting tweets or status updates may generate you some followers or friends, but it won’t create loyalty and action. Perfect way to fail, tweet 20 times a day, “Come by our tasting room and receive 10% off all purchases http:/addlinkhere.” You can also fail by being erratic. Develop a small following or fan base and then disappear. How does it look when fans ask you questions or post on your wall and never receive a response?
Success equals collaboration. The internet is full of relevant information. You don’t have to create everything you share.
- Post links to helpful industry items (how to taste wine, fun reviews you read, interesting blog posts or newspaper articles about wine).
- Promote events that are not your own (community interest, other tasting room hours, etc)
- Mix up your own posts, don’t always tweet the same text or information.
4. Avoid Interacting With the Natives
Those on Twitter and Facebook are connectors by nature. One of the best ways to fail is to avoid conversation with people. Do not comment on people with insightful posts. Never @people (send them a tweet) or write on anyones wall. Talking to people is scarey and intimidating.
Success equals conversation. Set aside some time each day as marketing time to connect with people.
- Ask people open-ended questions? - “What wine did you drink with dinner over the weekend?”
- Comment on other people’s posts. Read the blog, comment on the blog, then re-tweet the blog RT @nectarwine ->great insightful post on wine trends for 2010 http://drinknectar.com
Former Director of Social Media for St. Supery @RickBakas, on his web site http://justbrand.me says, “provide a stream of relevent and useful information…your audience most likely feels overwhelmed with all the information being broadcast on social networks. ”
5. Do not respond to your fans or brand mentions
Your customers are online. If you want to fail, do not get online. An even bigger fail is to be online and never respond to your fans who ask questions. Do not respond to fan page posts. Ignore retweets (RT) and direct messages (DM). Never use Twitter search to see if people are talking about your brand. Doing these things will ensure your social media failure.
The people experiencing success are doing the following things:
- Use TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage Twitter. This will give you an efficient view of all @ reply and DM’s so you don’t miss a mention or message. Never let a @ or DM go unanswered.
- When you see fans or followers in your business, thank them with a tweet or write on their wall.
- Offer periodic specials just to your fans to promote loyalty.
2009 was the year Twitter and Facebook came of age for business use. Now is the time that businesses who use Social Media will begin to see an advantage. Customers are online. They become your fans. You create loyalty. Your customers become your ambassadors. Social Media gives you an army of marketers who will promote you to success. Are you ready to succeed or fail in the New Year?