Posts Tagged ‘Finger Lakes Wine Country’

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

Announcing Social Media Basics Seminar for Businesses in Finger Lakes Wine Country

Social Media Logos by Sean McColgan.

Have you and your staff been struggling to understand social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr?  Is exploring this something that is still on your to-do list?  Be on the lookout for an email invitation to an upcoming Social Media Basics seminar for businesses in our local community. In part, the invitation reads:

Dear Finger Lakes Wine Country community,

Please join Morgen McLaughlin, President of Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing and Melissa Dobson, owner of Melissa Dobson PR and Marketing, for a full-day session on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 from 10 AM-3 PM at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel to address the basics of social media, answer your questions and talk through how social media platforms can help you to create connections with your customers and drive sales.  This will be an intimate, interactive session where your questions and input will be welcome.

Our goal is to educate you and your staff on the different social media platforms and help you to determine
immediate next steps to get your program planned, up and running.  Details to come, but among the key topics
we’ll flesh out during the session are:

* What is Facebook, Twitter, Open Wine Consortium, Flickr, YouTube, top wine blogs and why should I spend time there?
* How do I engage in social media in an effective manner and elevate my company’s brand to my target audience?
* Best practices/worst practices.
* Who should be the voice of my business?
* Current business examples-social media.
* Blogs:  should I start one?  What do I need to consider?  What are the advantages of engaging via blog comments?
* Why should I care what someone is having for lunch?  Isn’t that a waste of my time?
* How does all of this discussion help me to sell more wine, room nights, and tickets?

I would love to hear your questions on social media here so that Morgen and I can address them during the session.

Check out this recent report from FOX Business News on how Ford Motor Company is using Twitter and other social media platforms to humanize the Ford brand and interact and connect one on one with people in an effort to engage in valuable conversations with them.

In an exchange on Twitter with social media visionary Rodney Rumford, Scott Monty of Ford Motor Company summed up their philosophy on the advantage of engaging on Twitter, “It allows us to humanize the brand by connecting 1:1 with people, and it publicly demonstrates our commitment to conversation.”

Take note:  this type of conversation and engagement is now expected by customers and prospective customers.  It’s an important part of long-tail marketing efforts.  And I think you’ll find it to be a fun and engaging way to attract like-minded customers and keep in touch with your biggest fans.

Preparing for the PALATE Showcase in Finger Lakes Wine Country

Organizers of PALATE

Organizers of PALATE

2008 certainly helped to elevate the image and awareness of the emerging world-class wine region here in the Finger Lakes. But now that we are on the stage, what do we do to keep the spotlight here and turn interest into increased wine sales?

I’m strongly in favor of creating opportunities to get to know the faces, wines, food and art behind the buzz. Events that are intimate, upscale and personal can introduce newcomers to the region and enhance relationships with those already happy to call themselves raving fans. As I’ve mentioned before, the people who make up the industry here are its biggest asset in my opinion.

Next month, I’m proud and terribly excited to be a part of the organizing committee on PALATE: A Wine, Food and Art Showcase in Finger Lakes Wine Country…more specifically here in my city of residence of Corning, NY. I was invited to contribute my ideas to the event by Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, Corning’s Gaffer District and the ARTS of the Southern Finger Lakes. Our challenge is to bring all of the ideas for the showcase to life on a shoe-string budget and represent the best offerings of the industry here.

Some of the highlights include:

More to come. It will be fun to capture the excitement of the industry and present an opportunity for wine lovers to meet and experience all that there is to offer here in our wine country. I feel that this event will attract a new breed of wine lover to the region, those who are in the “core drinkers” demographic described as those who drink wine the most, usually several times a week or at least 3 times a month, are responsible for 88% of wine sold in the US and tend to be better educated, more affluent and with more disposable income. (From Wine Marketing & Sales by Paul Wagner, Janeen Olsen and Liz Thach) If you’re a winery who has been looking for opportunities to get in front of these “core drinkers,” this event may be the way to do that. Ultimately, we would love to drive attendees up to the tasting rooms, so we’re exploring ideas to lure them up to your wineries. Let us know what special opportunities you have to offer to PALATE attendees during that week and we’ll help get the word out for you.

WANTED: Your Finger Lakes Wine Country Harvest Photos

One of my latest projects is to compile a 2008 Harvest Report of Finger Lakes wineries to include photos and quotes and/or harvest observations. This project was developed by Morgen McLaughlin and the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association. The Finger Lakes Wine Country office will distribute the report to their media contact list in an effort to tell our harvest story for this year. I’m also creating slideshows to be uploaded to online photo sharing sites such as Flickr and the photo section of the Open Wine Consortium.

So please send me your Harvest photos and observations by end of day 10/31/08 if you would like to be included in the report and media outreach efforts. You can send to me at melissa (dot) dobson (at) avantguild.com.  If you’re interested in having me come out to shoot photos and make observations in person, let me know.  I have several wineries signed on for an in-person visit, but I’ll get to you if possible.

Come on Finger Lakes wineries, let’s show ’em how beautiful and bountiful Harvest time is here in Finger Lakes Wine Country!

Mark Your Calendars for PALATE, A Wine, Food & Art Showcase in Finger Lakes Wine Country

The grassroots buzz is beginning for a new, week-long showcase of wine, food and art in Finger Lakes Wine Country called PALATE. The first event will be held in Corning, NY during the week of February 16-22, 2009 and is a partnership between Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, Inc. and Corning’s Gaffer District.

What will PALATE offer to its attendees? Opportunities to attend winemaker dinners and get an intimate, first-hand perspective on some of the region’s finest wines, beer pairing dinners, cooking demos with top local chefs and art open houses as well as a poster design contest open to adults 21 and over. This is winter break week for the kids and educators and is planned in conjunction with the 2300 Degrees event being held on February 19, 2009 at the Corning Museum of Glass and Cabin Fever on February 22, 2009.

I am feeling very lucky to have been asked to contribute ideas to PALATE and I’ll provide more updates as we have them. So Finger Lakes Wine Country wineries, Corning restaurants, stores, and museums, be on the lookout for our team to get in touch to share the details on how you can get involved sometime soon!