09 Dec 2010
What is in a number? Do you pay attention to rankings, links, mentions, and search engine optimization? Lately I’ve been talking with Ed Reese, SEO guru of Sixth Man Marketing. Ed knows analytics, google, and conversion rates like nobody else I know. He happens to have an office at the LaunchPadINW space just above my future tasting room. When you type “SEO Spokane” in Google, he comes up first. When you Google “Social Media Spokane,” LaunchPadINW is first. These are two good resources to know.
While I am not an expert, let me give you two examples from my blog. One of the most consistently viewed posts on my blog is one called A Mojito Kind of Night. One hot summer evening, I was bored. Wine didn’t sound good so I decided to make mojitos. I got out my video camera, recorded the process and 45 minutes later I posted the “how to” post. The post is THE single most viewed post on my wine blog – go figure.
Yesterday I woke up at 5:45AM to get ready for a morning event. Like I do every morning, I grabbed some coffee and logged into Google Analytics (yes I’m addicted). I was blown away to see that 500+ referrals to the site had come from people Googling “Leavenworth Christmas Tree Lighting.” The day ended with over 1000 referrals and my highest traffic day ever. Why? Two months ago a post titled Leavenworth – Bavarian for Wine? In the post I mentioned the Leavenworth Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony which just happens to be going on this weekend.
What did I do right? Both of these posts had good SEO optimized key words. Both had images that referenced the same key words. Both had video that referenced the same key words. Both were referenced on other people’s sites with link backs. Google likes these things. When Google finds more things it likes about your site and your post…BOOM, SEO rocks!
I love the fact that when you Google Spokane Wine, Spokane Wine Events, or many Spokane wineries by name, you get a NectarWineBlog post. While I wish I could say that my maniacal plan has come together, in reality I’ve just stumbled into most of it. However, now that I’ve seen the power of proper search engine tagging, more time is going into optimizing each post before pushing the publish button.
Linkbacks, Trackbacks, Incoming Links, and References
As I mentioned before, Google loves link backs (incoming links). These incoming links act as a circular loop that plays to Google’s crawling algorithms. Having an incoming link (being referenced) by a high ranking site or trusted site (news, college, reference resource) scores you bonus points. This is another reason why content is king. Content drives consistent readership. Readership builds interest. Interest causes you to be referenced or quoted or used as a resource. These are all incoming links.
Search Engine Optimization leads to effective Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Where is the first place you go when you’re looking for information on something? Google. Who goes to the yellow pages anymore? With 21% (50% by December 2011) of Americans using smart phones like Android, iPhone and Blackberry, these devices become portable information mines. Out on the town looking for a restaurant that serves Thai food? Google it. Looking for a local store that stocks the latest Mark Oldman book? Google it. SEM means that people using Google drive sales. Investing in good placement is good marketing.
So, what is a number? If you blog for a hobby, the number might be useless to you. If you blog to be recognized as a leader in an industry (Ed Reese, SEO; LaunchPadINW, Social Media), then that number is critical to building business.
Wikio ranks blogs by the number of link backs. More link backs equals higher rankings. More link backs by top rated blogs equals even higher rankings. Here is how they describe it on their site.
“The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. Our algorithm accords a greater value to links from blogs placed higher up in the ranking.
A blog linking another blog is only counted once a month i.e. if blog A links to blog B 10 times in a given month, it is only counted as having linked to that blog once that month. The weight of any link decreases over time. Also, if a blog always links to the same blog, the weight of these links is decreased.
Only links found in RSS feeds are counted. Blogrolls are not taken into account.
In December 2010, retweets were added as an additional factor to the ranking algorithm. For each twitter account, only one backlink per blog is taken into account each month.”
So, to put it more succinctly:
- Link backs are cool
- Link backs by top ranking sites are cooler
- Multiple link backs by the same blog don’t count
- Buddies who always link you are weighted lower
- Blog rolls don’t count
- Re-tweets were counted for December
So, get talked about (especially by top sites) and you’ll rank high. What excites me about the December ranking (besides the obvious number 2 position of my own site), is that FIVE Washington focused wine blogs are listed in the top 20. My friends at Wine Peeps, Vinotology, Washington Wine Report and Paul Gregutt all score high! I’m not exactly sure how the heck I’m ranked up there above Palate Press, 1 Wine Dude or Tom Wark (Fermentation). November was a big month for me (with the magazine and the tasting room). I’m sure there was just a lot of buzz that mentioned the blog. I certainly do appreciate it, but I have a long way to go. When you Google the words Wine Blog, you don’t find me until page 6. I’ll throw a party when you Google the words “Wine Blog” or “Wine” and I’m ranked at the top (spots currently held by Vinography and Wine.com.
Numbers, rankings and Google SEO matter. Proper SEO can drive SEM and revenue. Take the time to tag your posts, key words and images before you push publish. That extra time could make the difference between 100 hits and 1000 hits, or better yet, one extra customer.
07 Oct 2010
If you had five minutes to share anything you wanted, what would you say? Ignite is a global phenomenon that sparks creativity and inspiration in each host city. Ignite was inspired by Pecha Kucha Nights, where speakers are given 20 slides, each shown for 15 seconds, giving each speaker 5 minutes of fame. The first Ignite took place in Seattle in 2006, and since then the event has become an international event with gatherings in Helsinki, Finland; Paris, France; New York, New York; and many other locations.
Produced by perketing.com, Ignite was brought to Spokane by local business woman Margaret Croom of Nosey Parker guide books. The first Ignite Spokane was September 30 and 15 speakers lit up the Bing Crosby Theater with a range of creative, inspirational and motivational presentations.
Some stand out messages were a humorous look from author Deanna Davis on why “Children should Rule the World,” and an inspirational message of overcoming lymphoma from fiction author Tony Hines. Barb Chamberlain shared how bikes will save the world and news talk radio host Angela Monson talked about the power of faceless communicators. The most unique and humorous messages of the night was presented by Ashley Paulus, “Feminism & the Jersey Shore.” This unique look at the cast members of Jersey Shore and how they are empowering a new generation of women was creatively and eloquently presented.
The next Ignite will be in February. What would you say in 5 minutes?
I was honored to be among the presenters and chose to speak on something that I think is often overlooked in social media and marketing campaigns, listening. We live in a world that loves to talk in 140 bite size chunks, status updates, blog posts, and videos but is anyone really listening? How do you get heard among all the noise? Five minutes, 20 slides…here is what I had to say!
08 Sep 2010
See how Long Island’s first winery is using social media to connect to customers and wine lovers. 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. See all sixteen interviews here.
On the Web – On Twitter @borghesewine – On Facebook
Interview completed by Jen Ramsay, Borghese Coordinator for Social Networking and Electronic Marketing
How long have you been using Twitter?
We’re newbies! We’ve only been on Twitter a couple of months now. We’re very excited to be a part of a new community, though – we’ve been making some great connections rather quickly and look forward to continuing to build such connections with other wine professionals and wine lovers.
What prompted you to dive in?
We love finding new ways to connect and building relationships with our customers, wine lovers, and other professionals in the wine industry. Being on Twitter helps us do so in a very “now” manner – it’s helping us connect to a very savvy, very cutting edge, and very spontaneous group of people, and we’re loving that. It’s really helping us keep our finger on the pulse of wine conversations happening in the virtual world.
We strive for a few things with our content: 1.) To be consistent (we try to post several things every day!), 2.) To follow people who post good content so that we can RT that good content, 3.) To provide relevant content that also shows our personality. The Borghese Vineyard personality (or brand) is about being refined and classy while at the same time having fun with wine. We try to communicate that in all that we post. One practical strategy we use, too, is to subscribe to Google Alerts relevant to the wine world – if we see an interesting link or story there, we post it on Twitter. We try to balance posting about happenings at our vineyard with happenings in the wine world – we don’t want to limit our presence to only telling people about ourselves, because we are truly looking to build community and be a part of the bigger conversation on wine.
What have been the benefits of using Twitter/Facebook? (increased traffic, increased brand awareness, customer connection, etc)
We have seen some increase in our website traffic since delving into social media outlets. We are really hoping, though, that it will start to drive more foot traffic in to the vineyard. We LOVE our established customers and are so grateful that they return week after week, event after event, and season after season, but we also want to bring in new folks to the vineyard. We feel we have a lot to offer and want people to come get a taste of it.
Is there a single success story that you can point to with using Twitter/Facebook?
We really enjoyed being part of #Cabernet Day! Big thanks to Rick Bakas and the St. Supery team for sparking the flame and fanning the fire on that one, as well as to Lindsay Ronga at Cork’d and Kristen Murphy at Wine Library for coordinating details with us to have Borghese Wine at their tasting event in NYC. The people who tasted our Cabs both at the vineyard and at the NYC event had some great things to say about our wine, and everyone who participated that day got to see that. We definitely mark that as an initial success and we look forward to continuing to participate in other events / collaborations like this!
What do you think is the single biggest barrier to why we don’t see more wineries actively using Social Media tools?
It’s still unfamiliar territory to a lot of people – particularly to a lot of people who are used to doing “business as usual, the way it’s always been done.” There are whole different sets of rules and etiquette to learn and understand and play by in the virtual world and that can feel scary and daunting to people who haven’t yet jumped in. Social Media tools change so quickly – a lot of people probably think, “what’s the point” in learning a new tool, because they think it will be obsolete soon enough. A lot of people still see Social Media as a trend or a fad that will pass. Really, though, Social Media almost presents a sort of “changing of the guard” so to speak when it comes to correspondence. That said, people (like us!) are continuing to see the benefits and are taking the time to learn what the differences are all about and how to leverage the differences, and we’re beginning to see that the conversation will happen with or without us, so we are choosing to be a part of it. Also, a lot of people think that if you join Twitter or Facebook (or any Social Media outlet, for that matter) today, that you will see a revenue increase tomorrow. It’s just not the case. You need to be patient, you need to slowly build, and you need to realize it’s not a magic pill. You have to work just as hard in social media marketing as you did / do with “feet on the street” marketing. It’s not a replacement – it’s a supplement, and it’s not magic – it still takes hard work.
What advice would you give to wineries joining the stream or getting back into the stream?
Jump in. Don’t be afraid. You will stumble as you learn, but you WILL learn. Be genuine, be yourself. Communicate your brand authentically. Reach out to people in the Social Media stream – everyone who we’ve reached out to has been so helpful, so willing to help, and so generous – all of them have welcomed us with open arms. Social Media can seem like an endless sea (which it is!), but take it one stroke at a time – you’ll get there!
Briefly tell us about your winery, a new release, or something unique about you?
We were Long Island’s first established vineyard and winery in 1973 (under the name Hargrave), and we are currently owned and operated by Marco and Ann Marie Borghese – two hardworking and amazingly generous people. We’re located on Long Island’s North Fork, right in the heart of Wine Country, in a town called Cutchogue (which, research has shown, is the sunniest three miles in all of NY State!). We are situated on about 80 acres, only 25 of which are under vine, so we are a small producer of high quality wines. Our signature wines are Sauvignon Blanc (made from the very first vines planted on LI), Pinot Noir (one of only 3 producers of Pinot on LI), and Meritage (a beautiful Bordeaux-style blend). Our wines have won many medals – most recently, our 09 Chard, 09 Sauv Blanc, and 08 Fleurette Rose took home Silver Medals at the NY Wine and Food Classic, and our 06 Cab Franc and 05 Merlot took home Bronze Medals at the same competition.
Something exciting for us in terms of new things happening is that are in the process of officially launching a Wine Club for the first time in about 5 years! We hope that people will check it out: http://castellodiborghese.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/index.html. More details and the ability to purchase memberships will be coming soon on our website, too!
What is your favorite rock band and why?
Ok, for this one, I had to default to asking co-owner Ann Marie Borghese. Here was her answer: “Nirvana. God, I loved Kurt Cobain. And the Rolling Stones. Who doesn’t love the Rolling Stones?”
CASTELLO di BORGHESE VINEYARD
29 Jul 2010
“If you do what you always do, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” (A. Robbins). In an ever changing world of economics, customer attention deficit disorder, and perceptions this quote doesn’t quite ring 100% true. Just because you’ve always been successful selling your wine the moment you open your doors, doesn’t mean you always will be. In today’s world it’s not even about having the highest quality product, or the slickest advertising. Success comes from one word…engagement. The more engaging you or your brand is, the more attractive you will be. The more people attracted to you…well, then you just have a windfall of success.
Can a winery use social media to create engagement that leads to real sales? Many are still skeptical, but I present to you exhibit A: Old Spice body wash. Old Spice is not a super sexy product, in fact they were getting beat up in the market by a hip and aggressive ad blitz from Axe body sprays and washes. Enter a quirky Super Bowl commercial featuring Portland, OR born former NFL wide receiver (go Seahawks) Isaiah Mustafa. From February through June, a string of commercials brought brand awareness but generated minimal engagement. In fact, sales were down about 7% (ref. SymphonyIRI). A stroke of creative brilliance emerged from the marketing firm of Wieden + Kennedy. The calculated risk of using viral media like Twitter, Facebook and Social media created a firestorm of engagement that propelled the Facebook fan page to 725,000 “likes” and over 110 million video views. The brief campaign of 180 recorded video responses to “fans” set traditional marketing on its ear. The results, a one month sales gain of 107% (Nielson Research).
New World, Old Spice Lessons for Engagement
Be Creative with Your Story
What’s the message of Old Spice? The body wash will make you a sexy manly man that can rip the head off a lion while wearing only a towel. What is the story of your winery? Is it “get 20% off of Sauvignon Blanc through Thursday?” While Old Spice’s message was a crazy, quirky message, it was the creativity of telling it that engaged new customers. Once you have an engaged customer base, they’ll respond to your sales pitch. Your story doesn’t have to be crazy and quirky but it does need to be creative. One very positive example that I see in Washington State is small producer Hard Row to Hoe. They have tied their creative play on words into their label, wine names, marketing copy, tasting room, and even their bathroom wallpaper. Ben Simons of Vinotology recently did a great job summarizing their creative approach in his post “Good Wine, Prostitutes and Capitalism.” Hard Row has positioned themselves for a viral media campaign that could quickly send them to the next level in wine sales.
Be Consistent (and patient) with Your Message
Old Spice didn’t jump out of the gate with this campaign just yesterday. We were first introduced to Old Spice Guy in February 2010 during the Super Bowl. The kitschy message continued for several months and we developed a trust and acceptance of it. Chances are if the July campaign came out in February, it may have fallen flat. Introduce your creative campaign and build acceptance of it. You’ve got a wine in barrel right now. What is it going to become? It won’t be released for several months, but the right creative message can build a buzz for that barrel that when it’s released, you’ll have built in demand.
Engage Influencers in your Industry
It’s no accident that Old Spice engaged Kevin Rose, Ellen DeGeneres, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Alyssa Milano. These celebrities are active on Twitter and helped their message go viral. Answering a question from Josh at DrinkNectar may have been fun, but chances are Old Spice Guy would have had better success in the wine world with Gary Vaynerchuk. When considering your message, look for the influential people in your area of wine. Sean Sullivan of www.wawinereport.com has a way different area of influence than Dezel Quillen of www.myvinespot.com. Rick Bakas says, “This is a tip you hear from social media marketers across the board. You have to find and engage with people in social media who can amplify your message quickly.”
You’ve got your creative story, you’ve been consistent and patient with the message, now it’s time to engage people who can help you get the word out. If it’s creative and they trust you, they’ll be happy to help!
A key to the Old Spice campaign was that it was viral in its creation. It was easy to share and easy to consume. The use of YouTube videos that were less than 60 seconds ensured that people would watch them and share them. Throw out your two page press releases and five minute winery feature videos and create something short, fun (or meaningful) and engaging. Tell a story and make a connection. Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars created a fun video (Sommelier Starts a Winery) that went viral with over 20,000 views (pretty significant in the wine community). Personally, I think Gramercy could have capitalized on this momentum that could have led to a really cool and engaging campaign.
Leah Hennessy of Millennier.com (wine for millennials) wraps it up nicely in her latest post, “Go be creative and awesome. If you’re not creative and awesome, find someone who is. A few months from now I want to be writing about a video like this (not referring to Old Spice, but could be) for a wine. And you know what? I will. Maybe I’ll just make it myself. If you want in, let me know.”
26 Jul 2010
With Facebook surpassing 500 million active users and over half of them logging in daily, the ability to connect and create brand ambassadors has never been more accessible for businesses. Recent studies show that the average Facebook fan is worth $136.38 (from Syncapse).
- On average, fans spend an extra $71.84 they would not otherwise spend on products they describe themselves as fans of, compared to those who are not fans.
- Fans are 28 percent more likely than non-fans to continue using a specific brand.
- Fans are 41 percent more likely than non-fans to recommend a product they are a fan of to their friends.
The cost of entry into a Facebook Fan Page is zero and there are some easy tips to create engaging content. With hundreds of thousands of “fan” pages out there, how can you make yours stand out? The DrinkNectar fan base has grown to 3000 and I’ve been looking at ways to take the page to the next level. Below are five fabulous Facebook finds (some of which I’ve incorporated, others that are coming soon).
- Change your wall options to show “Yours + Others” posts. You’re not holding a one way conversation here. Pages that just broadcast aren’t very engaging.
- Don’t just sell, ask open ended questions. You have fans, they want to engage with you. If you sell mattresses, ask about their sleep. If you make quilts ask about their stitch patterns. Generate conversation and you’ll generate loyal brand ambassadors.
- Post. Having a few hundred or even a few thousand fans does you no good if you don’t post regularly. The average Facebook person has 126 friends. That feed can fill up pretty quickly. If you post once a week you’re making maybe a few dozen impressions at best.
Don’t have a blog for your business? Uh…hmmm…well, first let me tell you that you NEED ONE. It is one of the single best ways to generate search engine optimization for your key words AND it provides a great resource for your customers to connect with you. For those that have a blog, NetworkedBlogs lets you connect your existing blog feed to their network of 300,000 blogs. This will help you get found and is a great additional resource to connect your amazing writing to your Facebook friends/fans/likers. Once you have your blog connected it’s easy to add the application as a tab to the top of your fan page. You can also connect your blog to twitter so new posts tweet automatically and you can choose to re-post your articles to your Facebook feed as a status update.
Involver is a suite of tools that can help connect your Facebook fans with your other social networks (Twiiter, You Tube, Flicker). The application also offers cool interactive photo sharing, slide shows, music, PDF files and a host of other advanced features. Involver offers nine free applications along with pro and premium services for the more advanced user. At the minimum you can connect your Twitter and YouTube accounts to Facebook tabs for free!
Struggle with measuring your ROI for Social Media? The key is to develop a measurable way to track results. How do you measure your investment in the phone book? Do you keep track of every time your phone rings? Promotions Facebook Application lets you create custom promotions that you can build and launch in a matter of minutes (sweepstakes, quizzes, coupons, contests, group coupons, email lists and more). Promotions has been used by Pepsi, Universal, AT&T, Sony and more. There is a small charge of $5 per promotion and $1 per each day you run the campaign.
FBML is Facebook Markup Language. Basically, it’s HTML for Facebook. FBML allows you to configure your Fan Page with custom tabs. If you know HTML, you’ll be set in no time. If you don’t have any experience with HTML, like me, I highly suggest you work with a web developer who can quickly and easily add all of the custom apps you want. To save you time and money, map out what you want your custom welcome tab to do/say before you meet with a developer. Sadly Facebook recently removed the Boxes tab/app from the system which eliminated adding custom left side panel items on your Facebook page…boo Facebook. If you’ve ever wondered how Pepsi or Reese’s (shown below) gets their fancy welcome screens…BAM…FBML. With a little bit of work, you can play like the big boys.
Now that you’ve discovered five fabulous Facebook finds…do the cool thing and “share” or “tweet” or “like” to spread the word. Oh, by the way, that is the sixth fabulous Facebook find…add a social plug in to your blog. The one on this page is called Links Alpha.