As you know, I’m a big fan of social media and the power it has to create online conversations and engagement for wineries. Although I have spent a lot of time figuring out the intricacies of several of the platforms, I’m definitely still learning as I go and want to keep you informed as well.
I just received a call from a winery marketing friend who was frantic because her winery’s Facebook profile page had been deleted. It was set up as “XYZ Winery.” The reason given in an email to her read:
If you’d like to represent your entity on Facebook, you’ll need to continue using Facebook Pages. Visitors to your Page won’t have any access to your personal account, or know that you manage the Page.
If you already have a personal account, you’ll need to use it to continue managing your Page, as users aren’t permitted to maintain multiple accounts for any reason. We can transfer your Page to that account if you provide us with the address associated with that account. Please be sure to include all previous correspondence when you reply.
If you don’t yet have a personal account, you’ll need to create one and let us know the email address of that account. Unfortunately, we will not be able free the disabled address for use in creating a new account, so you’ll need to use a new address for this. Again, please be sure to include all previous correspondence when you reply.
When you reply, also let us know if you’d like us to transfer the friends and any notes, posted items, discussion board posts, or wall posts from your disabled account to your new Page. We won’t be able to transfer any friends or content to your profile as your profile is only to be used to represent yourself as an individual. Unfortunately we aren’t able to transfer photos, videos or events from your old account over to the Page at this time. If you were running ads on this account, they’ve automatically been stopped so no new charges will accrue. We won’t be able to transfer them to any other account.
If you’re also managing a group related to your organization, we can transfer group members and some content from your group to your Page. If you’d like us to do this, please also include your group URL. The group won’t be affected by this change.”
So Facebook is policing their profiles and disabling accounts that represent businesses. But don’t panic, here’s what you should do if you’re a winery and currently have a profile set up in your winery’s name:
- Designate one or several winery staff to manage and engage on Facebook. This is actually the best way to let visitors get to know the people behind your winery and create connections with them.
- Have the person or persons create a personal profile, in their individual name. If they have one already, all the better.
- To promote and engage with Facebook users in your winery’s interest, create a Fan Page or Group Page or both. For events, you can send invites directly to friends. You can also promote Fan Pages and Groups by clicking on the “Share +” button. These pages will be linked to your personal account but visitors won’t have access to your personal information.
- If you have questions or issues, there is no Facebook phone number but they do offer a contact form.
Rather than wait for Facebook to catch up with you and delete your account, please take the time to rectify your profile so that it falls in line with Facebook’s policies. Don’t let this sour you to this and other social media platforms. They really are tremendous for small businesses on limited marketing budgets that need to complement their efforts with a low or no-cost (and fun) initiative.
Some other interesting points came to light via a conversation I started about this on Twitter and Facebook just now:
From Robert McIntosh, a wine blogger at Wine Conversation from London:
I think wineries should create fan pages, then the PEOPLE (all) behind the winery create profiles and link to it.
I stopped accepting FB friend requests from wineries (not people) a while ago. Not effective anyway!
From Robbin Gheesling, wine blogger at Vineyard Adventures:
Ah yes. Well, I agree with that. Vineyard Adventures is a FAN page and I will not “friend” businesses. I will become a FAN of a business, but adding them as a friend gives them access to all my personal info and I refuse.
And remember, social media participants are really looking to get to know YOU as a person, what your day is like, which new wines you’re releasing and how that works, what your outside interests are, what your dog is up to, etc. This type of conversation creates connections, believe me. Check out David Whiting’s profile for a great example of a winery owner who created a personal Facebook page and subtly promotes Red Newt Cellars Winery there via updates and a fan page. He also weaves in some personal updates which is what I definitely recommend. (You’ll only be able to view it if you’ve friended Dave on Facebook.) Don’t worry, just be sure to pay close attention to the Terms and Conditions sections of these platforms which is something I learned from all of this.