Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

TasteLive Participants: How Are You Engaging and Posting to #TTL ?

Social Media Quick Tip: Introduce Your Twitter Team

Cork'd Twitter Team Page Showcases Each Member as "Who's Talking?"

As you know, social media engagement is all about personal touches.  Remember this when thinking through your social media presence, including Twitter.  As much as possible, introduce and humanize your Twitter team.  Here are a couple of great examples of  brands who have added special touches to their Twitter strategies, going beyond a standard Twitter presence to introduce and promote their Twitter teams.

The Capital Grille

A simple, dedicated Twitter page for The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier, George Miliotes invites web visitors to engage with George on Twitter.  The Capital Grille’s main navigation bar also includes a button linking to George’s twitter profile.

Cork’d

The team at Cork’d, an unpretentious wine consumer review site, designed a Twitter background that shows “Who’s Talking” from their company’s Twitter profile @Corkd (see above).  Each Cork’d team member signs their initials at the end of their tweets to let followers know which of the four of them tweeted.  I liked this so much that I recommended it to my clients at Vin65 and we implemented it onto our new @vin65team Twitter page.

It excites me to see brands embracing the opportunity to engage with their customers and clients on Twitter by adding these types of personal touches to their marketing strategies.  Have you seen any others that you like or have you implemented some into your branding?

Chris Brogan: “Ways to Be Human From a Distance”

chrisbrogan
Photo provided by Wendy Piersall (@eMom)

Do you ever read a blog post and want to shout out loud, “Yes, exactly-what he just said!” while you eagerly devour each word to the finish?

That’s how I felt, although I didn’t shout it aloud, when reading a post titled, “Ways to Be Human at a Distance” by Chris Brogan, Community and Social Media thought-leader and co-author of New York Times Bestseller “Trust Agents.” Like many of you, I’m challenged every day to keep in touch and up-to-speed on my clients and fellow bloggers virtually with very little face-to-face time.   Being human, showing my face as much as possible on Twitter and Facebook primarily and on my blog is one way that I stay “in touch” with my clients, prospective clients and colleagues.  Just how well it works or to what degree you should incorporate Chris’ recommendations are up to you and based on your individual strengths and weaknesses.

A couple of key items that resonated strongly with me for you to consider for your own personal branding efforts:

  • Chris says, “Faces matter – On all online accounts, use a picture of you, or you with a logo, or you in front of a logo, to represent yourself.”  I encourage my clients and anyone who asks me about social media to please, please show your face instead of just a logo on all online accounts.  I also strongly recommend adding people pictures on your About Us or Our Team pages on your websites as well.   Nothing feels more sterile and unwelcoming than an About Us page with text only. Seeing people’s faces is much more engaging and establishes a layer of credibility.
  • Chris says, “Make each conversation unique to the platform – By this, I mean that I prefer individual conversations on Facebook that aren’t cloned into Twitter and/or back again. I believe it’s more authentic to be in one place at a time. Even if you say similar things in both places, I prefer it that way than to blanket automated clatter.” I may be too particular about personalizing things, but when I read that a post or content was pushed out from platform to platform, it doesn’t feel as authentic to me either.  I completely understand that it’s a time saver to hook up platforms to republish content automatically, but it loses something in translation in my opinion.  Months ago, I fed my Twitter tweets to auto-update my Facebook profile.  I was doing this to save myself time but wasn’t considering that some of my friends on Facebook aren’t on Twitter and were reading updates they didn’t care about or understand.  The exception to this is in auto-publishing your blog posts to your Facebook fan page.  For some reason, that feels okay to me and I do it.
  • Chris says, “Remember – When someone says their cat is sick, it’s good to make a note to inquire about it later. People like when you remember. It goes far in making a relationship feel two-way, because believe me, they remember about you.”
  • Chris says, “Pictures help – I use Flickr to share photos of events, of people I meet, of my family, of whatever catches my fancy. I do this also because they connect us, they give us common experience points, they share faces with we humans (who have a thing for faces, if you didn’t know). Pictures are a strong way to add humanity to what you do.”  Twitter photo sharing and Facebook personal profiles and Fan Pages are great places to “take us along” with you, show us what you’ve been up to and keep us feeling like we’re a part of your business’ successes and challenges.
  • Chris says, “Mixing Personal and Professional – I’m for it. People ask me all the time whether they should talk about personal things on their business account. I say yes, absolutely. But be measured. There’s a huge difference between self-aware and self-involved. In my personal case, I’m lucky. I’m my own brand, so if I want to scare you with tweets about my doctor’s office, I can. You might not be as lucky, but please, in the name of all that is holy, don’t be boring. That’s a worse crime.”  People bring this up frequently when I speak to them about social media and I’m for it too.  It has helped me tremendously in the little bit of time since I created my business.  I thought about it before venturing out to pursue my dream of breaking into the wine industry where I knew very few people.  How can I win the trust of the local wineries when I’m an outsider and how do I stand out to my long-distance client prospects and stay in touch with all of the awesome wine bloggers that I’ve met?  Social media posts and blogging about my passion, my family and friends and my hopes and dreams has brought ideal clients to me and repels those that don’t share my outlook or care for my personal approach, saving us both time in the end.  I’ve noticed a sense of warmth and welcoming from the prospective clients who have researched me and read my blog when we meet in person or have our first phone conversation.  It also helps to break the ice for me at the Wine Bloggers Conference each year.  I welcome this because I’m a bit shy when just getting to know someone so breaking down the walls helps me feel more at ease and lets me focus on the person in front of me.

Take some time to consider these points.  Chris has won my trust and respect by doing the things he outlines in his post.  So much so that I bought and read “Trust Agents” just after release and will be attending the SM2Day Conference in Rochester, NY where he’ll be speaking next Wednesday.  Wouldn’t miss it for anything.

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.

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?

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.

Social Media Quick Tip: Follow 1000+ Wine Industry Tweeps with a Few Clicks

wht_joel-300x300

One of the benefits of the social media revolution is the ability to connect with the many smart, good-hearted people in the wine industry who are visionary and push forward to create better communities that are of value to us as participants.

Last week, Joel Vincent founder of the Open Wine Consortium, a social media platform for wine industry members, VinTank and Joel’s Tech Adventures blog created a list of over 1000 members of the OWC who are also on Twitter via an application called TweetML.  There are 11 groups of around 100 members listed and by clicking each of the links after entering your Twitter account login info, you can easily begin following other wine loving members of the Open Wine Consortium instead of having to manually search them out.

By doing so, your Twitter community becomes vastly larger to meet and mingle and I noticed a lot of chatter on Twitter about the quick increase in wine followers that came after Joel posted the links.  Sure there will be more tweets to scan through but we’ll get used to that and that’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to connect and stay connected with new friends who love to hear us talk about wine, life and our passion for the industry.