Archive for October, 2009

Social Media Quick Tip: Post Quality Content on Twitter

photo courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

photo courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

If you’re a winery public relations and marketing person or owner who wears this hat, your head may be swirling with questions about how social interactions on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are changing the way we “pitch” bloggers and writers and land coverage.  I know that it’s at the top of my list of things to pay attention to and I’ll continue to share what I discover with you here.

This social media quick tip demonstrates a very simple example of how a local winery’s public relations person posted content onto Twitter and had it picked up by a local wine blogger, landing a photo featured in his blog post within an hour of their exchange on Twitter.

The winery PR person is Kitty Oliver at Heron Hill Winery, who has consistently been one of the region’s most forward-thinking public relations and marketing representatives.  The blogger who picked up the photo and got permission to use it via Twitter is Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor at the New York Cork Report. (Disclosure: I have contributed posts to The New York Cork Report for the Finger Lakes)

The exchange occurred last Friday morning with Kitty posting photos of the snowfall at Heron Hill Winery to Twitter.  Evan spotted the photos, liked one and found it relevant to his post about the effect that unseasonably low temperatures followed by predicted Indian Summer conditions will have on the vines and grape development here in the Finger Lakes. Within a few minutes and via Twitter post, Evan secured permission from Kitty to use the photo for his post.

Kitty shares tips from her experience with using Twitter to engage with wine writers, bloggers and enthusiasts for Heron Hill:

“Twitter has been a great tool for Heron Hill Winery as far as getting information out quickly. We’re connecting directly, if a media person or consumer  needs more information we go from there. Posting pictures has been helpful too, I can show people what I’m talking about, especially when it comes to harvest. People want to SEE the grapes, SEE the crush pad and SEE the people behind the wine. You have to be yourself on Twitter because people can sense sincerity and relate to it. It requires a personal touch and you have to be ready to engage, learn and share what’s really going on. Your relationships will be better for it. It takes time to learn the Twitter ropes, but once you get it, it’s a lot of fun and a great tool.”

Evan’s advice for those venturing into social media:

“Social media starts with being social. Profound, I know. Seriously, though – you’re not going to develop a strong and loyal readership through social media unless you show people you care about them. You read their stuff. You react to their posts. You answer their questions. You show some personality. Over time, we’ve been able to develop a strong following that responds when we have questions or need help. In this case, we didn’t have to ask Heron Hill for photos — they were savvy enough to post them. But had we simply tweeted about a need for harvest photos, I have no doubt we’d have a virtual pile of them within minutes. And that only makes our blog better.”

There’s still some work to be done in my observation.  Some Twitter peeps are showing up just when they need something and to promote their own interests and then disappear without really interacting or helping anyone else.  Although that may provide a bit of benefit, showing up consistently and following Kitty and Evan’s tips lead to much more robust engagement and benefits for you and your brand.

Advertisements

Interview: Facebook’s Andrew Bosworth Talks Facebook for Wine Businesses

Video Source: WITS YouTube Channel

Here’s a video interview from the Wine Industry Technology Summit earlier this year that addresses some basics of how Facebook can help wineries differentiate their brands.  There’s also some discussion around privacy settings, content appropriate for personal profiles vs. business fan pages.

Key takeaways:

  • Emphasis on the importance of telling a story
  • Engage with your customers
  • It’s not enough to have a good wine product, how will you differentiate your wine?
  • Find the stories that consumers can latch onto
  • Your ability to communicate with multiple people via social media is greatly increased as opposed to private, individual email responses
  • If you’re not sure if you should post something on Facebook, don’t post it.
  • Facebook helps you connect in a richer, more dynamic way than traditional channels

I’ve noticed an increase in the number of Harvest reports via video, photos and posts on Facebook and Twitter here in Finger Lakes Wine Country this year.  Are you noticing an increase in interest or conversation around Harvest this year from consumers because of the reports?  Do you expect these Harvest stories to help you sell wine and wine club memberships? Any other benefits to report?

Winery Visits: Rooster Hill Vineyards, Keuka Spring Vineyards

On a recent fall weekend, Rich and I spent a couple of nights in modest digs on Keuka Lake with great friends of ours.  The house is on the Northwest side of the lake and featured access to a large deck poised above a bluff overlooking the lake.  The weather was quite chilly and windy but we bundled up and made the most of our short time there.

Our friends hadn’t been to the wineries here in the Finger Lakes before and we were eager to have them experience wine tastings in a relaxed and un-rushed manner.  After a big breakfast, we headed out to our first stop and a favorite winery of ours, Rooster Hill Vineyards.

RoosterHillTasting_Sept09

Amy and Dave Hoffman and the staff at Rooster Hill consistently provide a quality wine tasting experience.  I hadn’t alluded to my fondness for Rooster Hill wines across the board to our friends, I was interested in their opinion of the experience and the wines.  Amy guided us to Marsha, one of her weekend tasting room staff who has recently studied via WSET and engaged us in a thorough tasting from whites to reds and concluding with port.  Our friends complimented Marsha on her easy, educational approach to leading the tasting and were inspired to learn more about wine because of the relaxed manner in which she talked to us about the wines.

Marsha had us taste both the 2007 Rooster Hill Gewurztraminer and 2008 Rooster Hill Estate Gewurztraminer and there was a noticeable difference.  The ’08 is bolder with a fuller mouthfeel and longer, honeyed finish.  Among the reds, the ’07 Rooster Hill Estate Cabernet Franc shone in our opinion.  My husband prefers reds and is oftentimes lukewarm about reds beyond his go-to bottle of Chianti or Sangiovese, but he was quick to remark that this wine impressed him.

We had hopes of enjoying a bottle together near the fireplace back at the house after the guys indulged in a couple of Rocky Patel cigars after dinner, so we selected the Rooster Hill Vineyards NV Port to accompany the fire and cigars after consulting with Amy,  also a cigar lover,  about our plan.  She told the guys to dip the end of the cigar in the port and then smoke it.  We were sold.  After all of that planning though, the girls didn’t make it late enough after the fire put us to sleep quickly, so we’ll be bringing the Port to our next get-together.

We then ventured out to Keuka Spring Vineyards, just down the road from Rooster Hill.  This was a first time visit for us and we were lured by a long-time curiousity about Keuka Spring Vineyards’ wines and large terrace with view of the lake.  I had a feeling that we would stop our day here in order to enjoy the terrace with a bottle of wine and some snacks we had packed.  We enjoyed our tasting with Bill and found that my friends favored the ’08 Keuka Spring Vineyards Gewurztraminer while Rich and I went toward the ’08 Keuka Spring Vineyards Riesling.  We purchased a few bottles including a chilled bottle of the ’08 Gewurz to drink on the deck, broke out our snacks and grabbed Karma from the car to settle in for a bit.

Judy, Jeanne and Mark Wiltberger took time out to stop by our table to talk and pet Karma.  Rich and our friend Mike participated in the intimate Red Wine and Chocolate tasting and came back from it quite happy and full.  I think Rich was skeptical to pairing red wine with desserts being a die-hard milk and chocolate type of guy, but he remarked that this experience opened his eyes up to the ability of red wine to pair with the nuances of chocolate and other desserts.  The desserts for the event were created by Butterwood Desserts out of West Falls, NY which is coincidentally very close to my father-in-law’s neighborhood outside of Buffalo.

It’s funny, we’ve been buckling down, growing my business and saving for a house, so we haven’t been out to the wineries as much as I would like lately.  I’m grateful for the time we do get out and it’s a reminder of what motivates me to write this blog: the welcoming nature of the people here in the Finger Lakes wine industry, new experiences centered around wine and the ability to share those things with people you love.

group_KeukaLake_Sept09

Update: Academy of Wine Communications Finger Lakes Chapter

awcmasthead

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the development of the Academy of Wine Communications Finger Lakes Chapter. With the announcement of the AWC’s new website today, it’s time for an update.

The AWC has recognized that there’s a need for an organization that will become the go-to resource for wine writers, bloggers as they seek sources within the industry to interview for articles and posts.  Having this  information readily available on the AWC site will be a time saver for both writers/bloggers and PR and marketing representatives and becomes a first step in getting them connected.

The rapidly changing wine communications industry has made it difficult to keep up with the latest in best practices for engaging with wine writers and bloggers.  The Academy of Wine Communications plans to open and facilitate conversations surrounding these topics in order to keep members up to speed and ready to apply traditional methods and the latest in social technologies to help them tell their winery’s stories, establish trusted relationships with writers/bloggers and plant the seeds for coverage in a manner in which writers and bloggers want to be engaged with.

I’ve been honored with the role of Finger Lakes Chapter Director of the AWC. My goal is to organize and facilitate a strong chapter here in order to help keep the Finger Lakes wine region in-the-know, front and center in the world of wine public relations and marketing.  With the increase in interest in the region and the people behind the numerous wineries here, it’s prime time to continue actively collaborating and pushing forward.  Let’s do all we can to make it easy for writers and bloggers to contact us and get the information, photos, videos and samples needed in a buttoned-up, efficient manner so that those writers and bloggers will come back for future articles and posts.  One of the best ways to stay updated on things is to reach out to and participate in conversations with wine communicators in other regions.

With that, our first meeting will be an info session to discuss the organization and get your input on the shape of our chapter.  I’m working on the details but look for it to be sometime in November after Harvest, and you can count on a glass of wine or two.  What are some of the things that you would like to see the Academy of Wine Communications help you with?  In the meantime, check out the Resources pages on the site for info that can help you right away.  And be sure to  submit your contact information to be included in the Wine PR Directory.