Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

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.

Does Your Winery Have a Facebook Profile Under Your Winery’s Name? If So, Read This.


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:

“Per our Terms of Use, Facebook profiles must represent a single individual. Users are not permitted to maintain an account under an organization’s name, or use personal accounts primarily to promote themselves professionally.  We apologize for the inconvenience, but you will no longer be able to use this account. If you were running ads on this account, they’ve automatically been stopped so no new charges will accrue.

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:

interesting and not unexpected – it is in the T&C. Would suggest ‘branded’ profiles encourage friends into fan pages quick!

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.

Wine 2.0 Is Amazing!


Wine 2.0

 I just had to share my excitement about the tremendous opportunities available to those using Wine 2.0 technologies.  If you are in the wine industry, or aspire to be, social networks such as Open Wine Consortium, micro-blogs such as Twitter (I like to describe Twitter as more of a broadcast instant messaging service where one-way and multi-way communication messages are distributed via a network of followers) and participating in forums like the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Conversations on Wine can help you expand your network by exchanging ideas, creating relationships for future collaborations and adding a great deal of value to your brand by creating a presence for your winery or related service in front of key targets. 

In one week, I exchanged ideas with two people that may be interested in collaborating down the road, reconnected with an editor I had previously met at a Manhattan press event and was asked for some advice from a reader of this blog…all via social networks, my blog and Twitter.  The key, in my opinion, is to create value for others.  Educate, share and give some personal insight and you’ll see that opportunities will present themselves, adding an addtional layer to your marketing and branding efforts. 

From my experience, the wine industry is full of passionate, smart, resourceful and helpful people who love to talk about bettering the industry.  I highly recommend spending some time poking around on the sites, creating profiles and getting involved.  Even if you’re not ready to create a blog, these little steps into the social media space will help you to advance your business.   If all of these terms are putting you off or if your head is spinning trying to figure it all out, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I would be happy to walk you through a better understanding in layman’s terms, without all of the “geeky” tech ones!    🙂