As I expand my circle of friends in the wine business, I am often asked what is a wine blog, or what is Twitter, and why should I care. As I sit here and read the newsletter from one of my favorite wineries, Manzanita Creek, I am struck by the call to action they put forth in the closing paragraph which sums up the most important reason:
Blogging has become and important marketing tool. It is a win-win for the consumers and wineries. The consumers gain knowledge and spread the word to other wine lovers with results in sales. In this economy, we are all struggling. We need our members support within the bloggersphere!
This in a nutshell is why wineries should blog and engage in new media, why wineries should encourage their patrons to blog, and why bloggers are so powerful. As a winery or retailer, there are several reasons why you should join the social media revolution. The first and foremost reason that comes to my mind is that you are missing out on a huge audience that is sitting there waiting to communicate with you. Social media and online resources are essentially free to you, with the exception of your time.
- Wine Bloggers are the new way of providing word of mouth marketing . Anyone who has ever worked in a retail environment, including software sales, knows that WOM marketing is the single most effective way to generate new sales.
- The new generation of wine drinkers is more media savvy and more wired than ever before. They are reaching the age of majority in record numbers, and are a mostly untapped market segment. These are the generation that crosses Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Whatever, born between 1979 and 2002, otherwise known as Millennials. These consumers aren’t looking to build a cellar or impress their friends. They want instant gratification and they want gloss. They are looking for inexpensive but tasty beverages. They don’t care about Parker, they don’t’ care about shelf talkers. They are more likely than any other consumer to mak etheir wine purchases based on something written online. They buy things online in record numbers.
- We get more of our news online than from any other soruce. This also pertains ot wine news. Blogs and e-newsletters are free or next to free tools to spread news and information about your brand to a mass audience easiily
- Microblogging platforms such as Twitter provide you with a large community of wine bloggers and wine lovers who have formed an online family. Get ot know a few of them, and they can introduce you to the rest of the wine community. I liken it to instant messaging a large auidence of like minded people at once. Twitter is a powerful broadcast media tool and some of the things that I think are great uses of the tool are:
- Twitter only discounts. A great example of a retail that does this are The Wine Spies.
- News & blog post announcements to encourage readers to click through to your website or blog.
- Participate in online events such as Twitter Taste Live
- Interaction with consumers with specific questions
Some examaples of good winery Twitterers are:
I use Twitter to connect with wine bloggers, wine enthusiasts, and social media junkies like myself. Recently, I used Twitter and my blog to promote my client’s new harvest intern blog. Along with email, this was a great method of getting the word out. It worked because I am a member of the community and peopl know who I am. Another great application for a microblog would be an online tasting. Bin Ends Wine, an online retailer, conducts monthly “Twitter Taste Live” seminars where a special guest “tweeter” conducts a tasting all over Twitter. I also forsee this working for a winery media tasting.
So what can a winery do to encourage this new media marketing? COMMUNICATE with the bloggesphere! There are few key ways that I see this in action:
- Create Google Alerts to notify your marketing team (or yourself!) when a blogger has written about your winery. This is a simple and effective tool that emails you when a blogger talks about your winery, effectively giving you free marketing
- Host Blogger Tasting Forums. The first of these was held at Hahn Estates recently, and included several bloggers as well as the Hahn team and other winery participants. This kind of cross dialogue gets people talking. These are a great opportunity for bloggers and wineries to sit down together, where the host winery is highlighted, and we as bloggers can learn more about your wine while talking to our fellow bloggers and including additional wineries.
- Participate in a blogger sample program. Be sure to ask a blogger if they are open to this first, as some bloggers do not wish to receive samples. This is a very powerful way to get the word out about a new product, which might not be readily accessible. If you are trying to luanch a mailing list only brand, having a blogger who had 1000 readers a month read about is a huge viral marketing tool.
- Participate in event s like Twitter Taste Live. Twitter Taste Live is an online tasting forum where participants taste the same thing at the same time across the country (and sometimes across the world). Dpeending on the focus, you are increasing sales both during the event itself, and after – as blog posts are completed.
- Come to the WBC! The Wine Bloggers Conference is in its infancy but it was a truely amazing event. There were many wineries that participated, not just in tastings, and as a direct result we were exposed to them.
- Exposure is key. There are over 700 wineries in California ALONE. How many do you realistically thing we actually know about? taking that a step further, accessibility can be challenging. If we can’t get a wine easily than we won’t know about it and you are missing out on sales.
These are just some of my ideas. There are many more posted over HERE, and I encourage you to cehck it out!
Traditional print media is being weeded down. As newspapers file for Chapter 11, and the new geneation doesn’t subscribe to traditional wine journals, online media is becoming increasingly important. Bloggers often have a more distinct connection with the wine buying audience, since we are writing about what we enjoy, what are expereinces are, and what our passions are. This differs from traditional wine writing since – in my opion – they are talking about the wine in a technical way, without the passion or love that I feel many wine bloggers have.
In Vino Veritas!