February 17, 2010
In my hours away from the world of marketing and web development, I write a wine blog called Vinotology. Since I started my blog, I’ve become pretty active in the wine blogging and Twitter community and have had the opportunity to observe the way that a lot of wineries are using social media to market their businesses. There are some wineries that are doing a great job of using these tools, but there are a lot of others who aren’t.
The wine business is a perfect case study for the use of social media. This is an industry that is built on a social product, making it ideally suited to marketing via social media. Additionally, the largest growth market segment in wine is among Millennials, a demographic that was practically raised online and one that spends a good deal of time using social media. The wine industry is really just starting to work through the growing pains of social marketing. Most wineries have only recently begun to experiment with tools like Twitter and Facebook, and a lot of their experiences can be informative to people in other industries. So what have I seen successful wineries doing? In this post I want to look at the planning that goes into a successful social media strategy.
Going In With a Plan
Back when I used to work for a financial services company, one of the mantras that they used to teach us was, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” The same thing applies when it comes to social media. There are so many different tools out there, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube, just to name a few. If you don’t develop a strategy, you can waste a lot of time on a tool that isn’t really suited to your needs, or possibly your abilities. You don’t want to get analysis paralysis, but you do need to think through your approach to social media. Here are some good questions to ask when deciding on the social media tools that you will use –
Am I trying to do too much?
You only have so much time in the day, so don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick the tools that are going to provide your business with the most value. It’s probably best to find one or two platforms to start with, and then you can expand out from there as you have time. It’s always better to do a few things really well, than to do too many things poorly.
Are my customers really using this tool?
If your customers aren’t using MySpace, you would be wasting your time getting involved in that community. A lot of businesses will probably find that Facebook and Twitter are a good place to start. These tools have a wide user base, and offer a lot of opportunities to interact with your customers. Think about the customers that you are trying to reach, and pick your technology based on where they are.
Am I wired for using this medium well?
Gary Vaynerchuck, one of the rockstars of social media, is constantly talking about following your DNA. Vaynerchuck has really practiced what he preaches. With a high energy and charismatic persona, he is ideally suited to take advantage of the medium of video blogging, and has done a great job of it on his Wine Library TV site. Not everyone does well on camera though. Although I’ve messed around with video some on my blog, I’ve found that I do much better with a written blog. Think about your strengths, and pattern your use of social media around them.
Do I understand how to use this tool effectively?
Before you dive into any social media endeavor, do a simple Google search to find what people are saying about how to effectively leverage it. This doesn’t take very long. It may take some time to really get comfortable with using Twitter or to really hit your stride with blogging, but at least you can enter the fray with an understanding of the ground rules. Other people have already made the mistakes for you, take advantage of their experience.
How do I intend to integrate my social media tools?
One of the awesome things about many of these tools is that they all tie in together. Your website can link to your blog, to your Twitter user page, and to your Facebook page. A lot of blogging platforms allow you to automatically send out updates to Twitter and Facebook when you make a new post. If you post videos on YouTube, you can embed them on your blog, post them on Facebook, and send out a tweet with a link to the video. The key is to think through the integrations that will provide value to your followers.
There are certainly other questions that you can ask as well, but just asking these will put you ahead of where a lot of people start out. The main thing is to approach your social media campaign the same way that you would any other marketing efforts. Just because these tools are free, doesn't mean that you should rush into using them without a plan.
In my next post I will be looking at some specific examples of how I've seen wineries effectively using social media, as well as some examples of what not to do, and I'll talk about how these same rules apply to your business.
November 23, 2009
Twitter recently baked in retweet functionality into their core service. Here are the notable changes:
Retweets now display with the original twit's profile, not the retweeter's profile.
Twits can just click a button to retweet instead of typing "RT @username"
Retweets show retweet stats including who else has retweeted the tweet
The API has a new method to accomodate retweeting programmatically
The API has a new method that displays all the retweets for a given tweet.
Twitter now has pages for "Retweets by others", "Retweets by you", and "Your tweets, retweeted"
The net effect of these changes is that great tweets will see the original tweeter credited and thus drive more traffic, followers, and brand awareness to the author. The lesson to marketers is to create value in your tweets because branding on Twitter just got more powerful.Read a more detailed commentary here.