15 Apr 2010
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.
How long have you been using Twitter?
I reserved my account name @travessia on December 17, 2007. At the time I was in the process of obtaining my winery permit with the TTB. I recall that I tried twitter for a few days and thought that people on twitter were from a different planet. RT, D, #FF, MRT, Tweeple… what was all this supposed to mean? I could not speak the “language” and sort of abandoned it. Several weeks later I got back into it and this time I did it with an open mind and really made the effort to try to understand how people communicate on twitter. I become hooked, especially when I started using tools like tweetdeck which make twitter a lot easier to use and manage.
What prompted you to dive in?
I was doing a lot of research into marketing for wineries and small businesses in general and there were references to twitter everywhere. I was also following and listening to people like @timelliot, @catavino, and @chrisbrogan who really emphasize the importance of using social media tools like twitter.
What type of strategy or approach do you use when posting content?
To be honest, I really don’t have a strategy… I just try to be true to myself. I try to be on twitter the same person I am off the net. What does this mean? Imagine this…. I’m at a party, music is playing in the background, people are gathering around in small groups, there’s some food and drinks. I know some of the people at this party but not everyone. I try to introduce myself to the people that I’m meeting for the first time and get the latest on what’s happening with those I’ve known for years. I sit back a lot and just listen to what others are saying. Whenever I think I have something interesting, of value or maybe even funny to say… I jump in. This is who I am in real life and that’s who I try to be on twitter. This approach has worked for me.
What have been the benefits of using Twitter/Facebook? (increased traffic, increased brand awareness, customer connection, etc)
The number one benefit is that I’ve made new friends, people who are interesting and that I would have never come across if it wasn’t for twitter. I’ve also learned a lot not only on my main topic of interest (wine), but about life and the world in general. My friends on twitter are an incredible information filter. I’ve also used twitter to request opinions on things that I’m not 100% sure about. Tweeters are often willing to chime in and respond to your questions or just simply give you their opinion.
Is there a single success story that you can point to with using Twitter/Facebook?
There have been a few occasions where I’ve sold wine to someone who did not even know my winery existed before they found me on twitter. Same applies to Facebook.
What do you think is the single biggest barrier to why we don’t see more wineries actively using Social Media tools?
I can’t speak for others, but my biggest challenge is time. It takes commitment and there are days that I just can’t get on it. It’s also still difficult to measure the ROI from using these social media tools. Sure I can tweet a coupon code for a specific offer at my winery and track that return fairly accurately. However, I’m not aware of any tools that can provide users with accurate sales numbers for overall day-to-day engagement and time investment… if there is such a tool, I would love to hear about it.
What advice would you give to wineries joining the stream or getting back into the stream?
Be true to yourself and your wineries image, don’t try to be on twitter what you are not in real life (think of twitter as real life too, because that’s what it is). Don’t feel like you need to have thousands of followers overnight. Some days it’s ok to just listen, don’t feel like you have to speak every day, every hour. Also, if you say something on twitter and nobody responds, don’t get discouraged… it doesn’t mean that no one is listening.
Briefly tell us about your winery, a new release, or something unique about you?
Travessia is a small urban winery right in downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts. I focus on producing wines with vinifera grapes grown in Massachusetts, which means mostly white wines. Travessia’s tasting and sales room has been open to the public since December of 2008. I’m now releasing my second vintage wines. I feel that I’m about 20% of the way to where I want to be as an established small winery.
What is your favorite rock band and why?
When I was about 20 I began learning how to play bass because I wanted to be like Simon Gallup of The Cure. When I listened to The Cure, especially the stuff that was never played on the radio, I was amazed by how simple but cool the bass riffs were. So, though I admire U2 for their massive body of quality rock music (and the fact that they have been together as one unit for so long), The Cure was really the rock band that had an impact in my life. P.S. Bass is the sexiest instrument ever created…
13 Apr 2010
While I’m not an expert, what I can base my suggestions on are things that I see work for other successful business. This list is meant to be SEVEN “no brainer” social media tactics to bring your Twitter/Facebook and Web presence into 2010.
Each of these items are quick and simple to implement and will bring a cohesiveness to your entire social media strategy. Why is it important? Each Twitter follower or Facebook fan you have is a direct connection between you and your brand and is less money that you have to spend on traditional marketing.
#1 – Add your Twitter / Facebook information to your business cards. You have your phone number, web site and address, why not your social media contacts. For a percentage of your customers, social media is how they interact with businesses. Neglecting this information means neglecting a natural contact point.
#2 – End every email with ALL of your social media contacts. Use visual buttons to draw the eye that entice people to click through them. Chances are you have a significant mailing list. Most likely you connect with your mailing list with a monthly newsletter and periodic events. Broaden that connection by enabling your existing fans and customers to connect with your social media pages. This brings your interaction with them to a more regular occurrence.
#3 Make sure your social media contacts are front and center on your web page. A) People are already online B) They’re on your web page C) Make it easy for them to connect with your fan page, twitter page, You Tube page, etc. It’s simple, it’s free, and all it can do is INCREASE your customer connections!
#4 Make sure your Facebook Fan Page is set to show your posts AND your fans posts. The default is “Just Your” posts. It is simple to change and it allows more interaction between you and your fans and between your fans. If you leave the page to just show your posts you run the risk of missing your fans posts, not responding to their interactions, and coming across as a spammer. The fix is easy…click options and change to show ‘yours + your fans.’
#5 Respond to your tweets and interactions. Now more than ever we live in a small town economy. Please, thank you and you’re welcome go a long way with social media interaction. Your customers understand you are busy but would you NOT return a voice mail question? Would you leave an e-mail unanswered? You can’t afford to neglect a customer’s tweet or Facebook post. When your fans interact with your Facebook page, respond. A general rule of thumb is you should be either the last or one of the last posts on your Facebook interactions.
#6 Don’t sell. Facebook and twitter are not about selling, they’re about relationships, brand building and customer service. A general rule of thumb is sell 1 out of every 10 interactions. Talk to people, ask open ended questions, do market research, ask for opinions, share your business process, provide insight into your trade.
#7 Be yourself. The most effective social media strategy is to care. No one cares more about your business or product than you. Hiring a “professional” to represent your social media presence may seem like a good idea but will not generate the same kind of passion as you. Hire a consultant to get you up to speed. Rely on a firm to help you with a strategy. Look to professionals to measure your ROI and market penetration, but only YOU can represent your company. If all you can commit is 10 minutes per day. Be transparent and let your fans know that. Use those 10 minutes to post one new insight into your business, respond to fans and build relationships with others.
Success is not 100,000 followers or 26,000 fans. Success is building brand ambassadors, deepening relationships, and customer service 1 fan at a time.
06 Apr 2010
Hello, my name is Josh and I’m addicted to Google Analytics. This is a post to help fellow bloggers identify their addiction. If you answer yes to 3 or less, then you’re safe. If you find yourself agreeing with 3-5, you may want to continue watching for the warning signs of addiction. For those bloggers reading this that can relate to 6-9 of the addictions signs, you should consider admitting yourself in to the G.A.A (Google analytics anonymous). You will find a strong support group to help break free from the bonds of addiction. For those that can relate to all 10 “signs,” you’re obviously a super star blogger with massive site traffic. Can you re-tweet this? PLEASE!
10. Each night you go to bed counting referrals instead of sheep.
9. Before you go to sleep you pray, “Now I lay me down to rest, I pray for visits from the West, as China and India awake, please click my links for heavens sake.”
8. You go into a cold sweat as you enter the weekend still needing 400 page views to pass last weeks numbers.
7. You think about posting an expose on sex addiction including “exclusive” quotes from Tiger Woods and Jesse James.
6. You refresh you stats page 30 seconds after every time you tweet your newest post
5. You secretly tag your posts and images with key words, Brittany Spears, Avatar, Porn, and Justin Bieber
4. The first 30 minutes of every visit to your psychiatrist covers how your value and self worth are not tied to your page views
2. To be trending on Mashable is one of your bucket list items
1. You read that people like to read lists so you put together THIS list in hopes to boost your traffic for the day.
*photo credit www.thedailydigi.com
31 Mar 2010
For a night, Merlot was king. The grape that got turned upside down in the movie Sideways was back on top for two hours in March. This event, and others similar to it, proves to me once and for all that Twitter and other Social Media has changed the way we can do business and effect change.
Before I get into the analysis of the Twitter metrics for the night I must give thanks to the group that pulled it together. I may have been the face behind a lot of posts, videos and tweets, but without these amazing ambassadors of Washington Wine, this event would have fallen far short of its potential. The following twitter personalities were on board from the beginning – @SeattleWineGal – @WAWineReport – @Catie – @WineBeerWA – @WineeYak – @YakimaValley – @Shonoa425 – @wbcorbust – @nwwineandre – and @lunabeanmedia. These are the people who are deserving of the praise.
The Promotion and Media
#WAMerlot gained a massive groundswell about 2 weeks prior to the event. More than 100 wineries, restaurants, wine bars, wine stores, and even hotels from New Jersey to Wisconsin to Phoenix to Seattle got on board! The event was featured in the Spokesman Review, Walla Walla Union Bulletin, and even National Public Radio. Promotion continued through other wine writers like SuppleWine, WineFoot, Oregon Wine Blog, Wine Harlots, Wino Magazine, Sip With Me, Wine-Ophelia, Vinotology, Weekly Wine Journal, Cork’d and so many more (so sorry if I forgot to mention you). One highlight for me was the Gary Vaynerchuk Wine Library TV #WAMerlot episode. In fact, leading up to and after the event there were over 75 blog posts that referenced the event from wine reviews to social media reporting.
The Results and Analysis
I don’t have fancy Twitter analytics. I know they exist. I know there are programs that can determine the overall reach, brand impressions, etc – I don’t have those (if I get them, I’ll update this post). Here is what I do know. The event rocked the wine world!
- Twitter rock stars like @ChrisPirillo (Social Media persona) and @nansen (Seattle politics) joined in during the evening. Between them they have nearly 300,000 followers.
- Wineries and businesses having events had anywhere from zero to more than 30 people in attendance. From preliminary returns average attendance ran about 10. If my 6th grade math serves me right, 100 locations x 10 people average is approximately 1000 people.
- Tweets were observed from Europe, Australia, Asia (China), and North America (Canada, Mexico, and USA) – 4 out of 7 continents.
- #WAMerlot was a trending topic in Seattle (#1 and #2 at times) and was in the top 15 of trending topics on Twitter during the evening.
- Web site www.wthashtag.com tracked almost 2000 tweets by nearly 500 tweeters.
- Total brand reach was well into the millions
- Potential bottle consumption of Washington Merlot for the night is between 2000-3000 bottles
- While attending Taste Washington, I was continually thanked by dozens of wineries that participated in the event. True test – we’ve been asked to do it again.
- People had fun. People drank some effin’ Merlot!
While I spent the evening traveling to four locations in Spokane, I felt it important to give a formal review to the wineries who sent me samples (bottle shots below)
2007 Hogue Cellars Merlot
- The Stuff: 99% Merlot and 1% Syrah, Columbia Valley, 31,606 cases produced, 13.9%ABV
- The Swirl: Moderatly cloudy and slightly translucent. Dark cherry tones leaning toward a plum color
- The Sniff: Fairly tight on the nose at first but opens up to cherry, dust, and cocoa
- The Sip: A little thin on the front and thick fruit flavors on the mid palate. The wine is singular in dimension (dark cherry fruit) and provides a good sipping experience.
- The Score: At $9-$10, you won’t blow anyone away with this selection, but it will suffice as a standby everyday drinker. Some wines in this Hogue family can be hit or miss, but this Merlot is a good trusty label. I score it a 3 minus (out of 5)
Cellar Tracker Scores: No scores on the 07 vintage, but the 05 and 06 scores range between 77 – 87 (median 85)
2006 Fielding Hills Merlot
- The Stuff: Single vineyard Wahluke Slope AVA, 80% Merlot 11% Cab 9% Syrah, aged 19 months in 77% new oak, 14.3%abv, 163 cases
- The Swirl: Dark plum with beautiful jewel tones toward the edges. Mostly opaque
- The Sniff: Overwhelming aromas of cherry, smoke, and hints of spicy bacon. Amazed at how aroma profile changes as it comes through the nose.
- The Sip: A mouthful of joy! The black cherry fruit skips across your tongue and then transforms into undertones of smooth violet perfume, that then release themselves to cocoa flavors. The acidic finish brings a nice wash across the back of the mouth as the finish lingers for eternity.
- The Score: At $36, I score this wine a 4+ (out of 5) and would easily buy it again and again. The balance between complexity, flavor, and drinkability are impeccable.
Cellar Tracker Score 93pts (1 score); Wine Spectator Score 93pts
2007 Longshadows Pedestal Merlot
- The Stuff: 75% Merlot, 15% Cab Sauv, 7% Cab Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, Aged 20 months in 80% new oak, 2005 cases, 14.7%abv
- The Swirl: Dark, dark, dark. Looks like the midnight sky with some hints of purple.
- The Sniff: Once you get past the tree hugging oak, some big blackberry fruit springs forth. A small shot of spice shoots out too.
- The Sip: Intense and immense are the words that come to mind. A concentration of fruit with enough acidity to not make you think fruit bomb. The oak flavors are more subdued on the palate and some nice tannins firm up the back end. Still a young wine but provides intense flavor with 60 second finish
- The Score: At $45-$55 I score this wine a 4 (out of 5) – lowered slightly because of the price. An incredibly well made wine for those that want an intense Merlot experience. I would think laying this down for 5 years would reveal a supurb wine for the future.
Cellar Tracker Score (1 review) 92 pts; Josh Green Score 96pts
Long Live the King!
27 Mar 2010
DrinkNectar is excited to be invited to Taste Washington in Seattle this weekend. I’ll be a part of the new live video stream. Can’t make it to Taste Washington in Seattle this weekend? Have no fear – stay tuned to TWTV for all your seminar, interviews, and vino news during the event. The live video stream is below.
Here is a schedule:
Saturday 10:45 – Food and Wine Pairing with Tom Douglas
Saturday Noon – 1:00 – Various interviews (tentative)
Saturday 1:45 – Mighty Malbec with Sean Sullivan
Sunday 4:00 (ish) to 7:00 pm - Various winemaker interviews
I want to thank Yashar Shayan and the Washington Wine Commission for asking DrinkNectar to be a part of the event. I also owe huge props to Hotel Max for co-sponsoring my trip. If you’re staying in Seattle, make Hotel Max your first choice.
Tips for Enjoying Taste Washington
- Have a gameplan. Wineries bring a limited supply of juice. The top wineries are often very busy and you could run the risk of catching them when they are out. If you’re keen on trying some Quilceda Creek, Leonetti or Long Shadows Family you better get to the table early.
- Hydrate early and often. The combination of tasting, walking, talking, indoor lights, etc can be a recipe for dehydration. Drink water!
- Eat. Nothing says “wino wimp” faster than someone who can’t hold their juice. Tastings of this grand scale are intimidating. You’re not going to be able to taste them all, but working your way through 30-50 wineries on an empty stomach is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Spit. Don’t be afraid to spit. The enjoyment of wine is the swirl, sniff, and sip. After 10-20 small one ounce pours, you’ll be tipsy even if you’re hydrated and have a full tummy.
- Socialize. Some of the best times at events like this don’t come from drinking wine, they come from interacting with and learning from the wine maker and their staff.
If you’re not able to make it to Taste Washington this weekend, consider coming to the Spokane event on June 6 - DrinkNectar will be there too!