Archive for March, 2009

Social Media Quick Tips: Do a “Gut Check” Before Posting

I just saw this article as a “retweet” on Twitter from Gabriella Opaz, fellow wine blogger and wine marketing consultant at Catavino.net. (A retweet is when one individual copies a tweet from someone in their network and shares it with their network, according to Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research.)

It’s important. For those who attended the recent Social Media Basics Workshop earlier this month, it reiterates one of the key takeaways of the workshop: the goal of social media interactions for wineries and small businesses is to build relationships. Transparency, authenticity, credibility and being real are all necessary to be successful on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Do it right and a social media presence can continue to build the bond with customers that was established in the tasting room.

Phil Jr., Assistant winemaker at Damiani Wine Cellars

Phil Jr., Assistant winemaker at Damiani Wine Cellars

This is a natural fit for small wineries and their staffs. What I’ve found most appealing about my experiences in local tasting rooms is the good natured, welcoming personalities behind the wine. Upload pictures from events, winemaking tasks, your customers, funny stuff that happens during your day, your staff interacting, etc. to your Facebook public profile and on TwitPic. Keep your customers interested by showcasing your winery’s personality.

Set aside a chunk of time each day to interact and update your status, share pictures and join the conversations that are taking place on these networks. If you’re questioning whether or not to put something out there, do a gut check. Ask yourself, “Is this appropriate? Am I being overly promotional and blatant in pushing my business?” Remember that although social networks welcome a much more casual voice, each post and update adds to the layer that is your personal brand and that personal brand reflects on your winery and business brand. Don’t forget to interact and respond to comments. You know, show that there are faces and real people behind your winery’s brand.

Amy Hoffman and staff of Rooster Hill Vineyards

Amy Hoffman and staff of Rooster Hill Vineyards

Advertisements

Social Media Quick Tips: Navigating Twitter

Twitter Blog Birds

During the recent Social Media Workshop presented to small businesses in Finger Lakes Wine Country, one of the interactive segments involved having attendees who had brought their laptops set up a new Twitter account and profile. I wanted to share a few quick tips on getting started and getting the most out of your Twitter interactions based on my experiences.

Carefully craft your bio

Use key words within your bio that will lead others with like interests or within your industry to find you during a Twitter search. Oftentimes, this bio will be the key factor in whether or not a Twitter user will opt in to follow your tweets. For example, my bio reads “Melissa Dobson PR & Marketing- Wine publicist by day, foodie in-training by night. Lover of the NY locavore/locapour movement & all things social media.” And definitely include your website or blog link.

Poke around

One of the great ways to get started or to enhance your experience on Twitter is by taking some time to look around. Search for a few of your colleagues or thought leaders in your industry and click through the profiles of those people that they’re following. Follow those that are of interest and sometimes those people will follow you back. They’ll be privy to your updates and streams of thought and vice versa. Another nice feature of Twitter is that for those that follow you back, you have the ability to direct message or dm them which works as a private message sent to the person similar to a private instant message. Just be careful to double check before you hit update to be sure that you have a “d ” in front of the recipient’s username in order to be sure that your message remains private.  There’s an envelope icon on each person’s avatar that you can click for a direct message.

You can also use the “Find People” feature that allows you to search and invite people to follow you who you have been in touch with on email platforms such as Gmail and Yahoo mail.

Twhirl and Tweetdeck

I realize that all of the updates and the fast pace of Twitter can be overwhelming at first.  I’m a fan of using desktop platforms to manage Twitter.

Twhirl is a desktop application that pops up on your desktop and will also provide a notification sound when someone either tweets you or includes you in a tweet.  You can customize the features to your liking.

Tweetdeck is another desktop application that allow you to set up customized columns to browse tweets by category, direct messages to you and replies to you from within the last 48 hours.

Each of these takes a few minutes to set up, but I find them to be very helpful in managing Twitter activity.  Check them out and I think you’ll enjoy Twitter more than you thought you would.  Join in a conversation that you’re interested in, click retweet to pass along another user’s tweet when you find something relevant and interesting.  I just set up an appointment to meet with a local winery based on my interactions with the winery’s twitter user.  Social media can definitely benefit you and help you to stand out from the many other wineries in your region if you engage regularly and authentically.

Social Media Quick Tips: Blog Commenting Do’s and Don’ts

As a follow-up to the Social Media Workshop I conducted with Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association last week, I will be offering quick tips on best practices and worst practices in social media engagement.

We discussed the value of commenting on wine blogs to build your personal brand and expertise.  One of the things I advised was to comment in a way that isn’t self-promotional, full of fluffy marketing speak, etc. but rather as a way to continue the conversation that is already going on in the post, to add a new perspective on a topic or to educate.  Of course most blogs allow you to include a hyperlink to your winery’s website or blog so that if a reader wishes to he/she can click on the link to find out more about you.

I forgot to mention that it is not advisable or looked upon favorably to promote your own events or  products directly in the comments section.  Bloggers decide what they feel is relevant in creating the content for their readers.  If you write your own event or product content as a blatant way of using the blog for advertising purposes, the blogger and the blog’s readers are likely to be offended by that.

By all means, don’t let this advice scare you from commenting.  I read recently that fear of attack is one of the reasons most readers lurk and don’t comment on blogs.  Just think it through and be authentic, provide insight, resources, a fresh perspective on topic and you’ll see that your comments will be well received.