Posts Tagged ‘Wine 2.0’

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

Social Media Quick Tip: Add Social Media Info to Signage

july 2009, wbc, personal 055

I bet a bunch of you are already all over this one.  I spotted this signage from Faust Winery in Napa Valley during the Grand Tasting of Napa Wines at Quintessa during the recent Wine Bloggers Conference.

This is a simple, low-cost branding strategy to promote your social media efforts.  Once you get your customers there, you know what happens eventually: they’ll start talking to you and hopefully providing valuable information on their likes and dislikes, preferences and experiences with your wine brand.

Although this sign was on a table at a tasting, you can also create signage that is representative of your brand’s look and feel and post them in your tasting room, create postcards, add your social media info to your business cards, print out pages and include in the bottom of customer shopping bags, include in your shipment boxes.

If you’re a winery who is already promoting your pages this way, I would love to have you upload your photos to the fan photos section of my Facebook fan page.  That way we can see each other’s signage and use the photos for info on how to fan each other’s pages.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a smiling staff member to promote the info either.

july 2009, wbc, personal 054

2009 Wine Bloggers Conference: Fewer Words, More People Pictures

Live Blogging Fast & Furious

Live Blogging Fast & Furious

There’s been so much buzz about the Wine Bloggers Conference in Napa and Sonoma, CA this year.  With close to 300 attendees (and 75 waitlisted) the WBC has been a dominant topic of conversation for months now among many in the wine community.  There have been several posts already as I’m late to the game.  But I had to show you the Wine Bloggers Conference in pictures.  Recognize anyone?

Jeff Stai aka El Jefe-one of the best social brand builders in our industry

Jeff Stai aka @eljefetwisted-One of the Best Social Brand Builders in Our Industry

Here we are at the Russian River Valley Winegrowers After Party

Here we are at the Russian River Valley Winegrowers After Party

Jeff Lefevere Diving In Before Live Blogging

Jeff Lefevere Pouring for Dinner

Murphy-Goode's Hardy Wallace Bringin' On the Fun

Murphy-Goode's Hardy Wallace Bringin' On the Fun

Bottleshock's Marc Lhormer-Double Fisted

Bottleshock's Marc Lhormer-Double Fisted

For truly exceptional blogger photos, see Bricks of Wine’s Eric Hwang’s photostream.

Academy of Wine Communications-Finger Lakes Chapter

AWC

I have recently joined a group that I foresee as one of the future.  The Academy of Wine Communications is a group of forward-thinking wine and food communications professionals interested in collaborating and shaping the future of the industry.  The AWC is fueled by the passion of my colleagues, Michael Wangbickler of Balzac Communications and Caveman Wines blog who is the Executive Director and Lisa Adams Walter of Adams Walter Communications, Assistant Director.  The AWC is built on the vision of original founders Paul Wagner, Harvey Posert and Sam Folsom.

The AWC has roots in the Napa/Sonoma region but has its eyes on networking and creating chapters throughout the U.S. and beyond.  The first meeting of members and prospective members took place on June 30th at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone where this video was shot.  Michael walks attendees through the history and vision of the AWC…and specifically calls out the Finger Lakes region as one that we’re looking to create a vibrant chapter in.  I can think of several wine PR friends here that I would love to see get involved in our chapter’s development: the Academy of Wine Communications-Finger Lakes Chapter.

As you know, wine public relations and communications is changing rapidly and it’s challenging to keep up with the latest developments and best practices.  Social media is a powerful way for wineries and other wine businesses to engage and tell their stories to their prospective customers and current customers.  There is a unique ability for wineries to personally respond to inquiries which is a tremendous relationship builder for them beyond tasting room interaction.   By getting involved with the AWC, you can network and collaborate with other wine public relations and communications people throughout the national membership chapters and share insights on what’s working and what isn’t in new media, specifically in the wine and culinary industries.

We will also work to become a resource for bloggers and journalists who are looking for industry experts and creative content ideas.  Social media allows wine PR people to get to know bloggers and journalists on a more personal level and keep attuned to their preferences and needs.  The AWC is using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,  slideshare  and video sharing platforms like Ustream to update members and prospective members about the group’s activities.

It’s with this type of forward thinking, collaboration and sharing that an up-and-coming region like ours will move forward and gain more visibility…and respect.

Still Not Utilizing Twitter and Not Sure It’s Worth Your Time?

twitter_follow-copyHow does 15% of a day’s sales measure in your book? Naked Pizza, a New Orleans pizza shop with an eye on national expansion, attributed 15% of their day’s sales to purchases made by their Twitter followers at @NakedPizza. Sales were tracked by asking customers how they came to call Naked Pizza for their pizza that day. To further enhance the campaign, Naked Pizza co-founder Jeff Leach took out a billboard near the restaurant advertising their Twitter handle… simple and brilliant!

AdAge’s Abbey Klaassen includes a quick list of tips for local businesses looking to use Twitter in her article, “Twitter Proves Its Worth as a Killer App for Local Businesses.”

If that hasn’t convinced you to put Twitter on your radar, check out cnet’s “When Twitter met food trucks.” Now you just need to brainstorm and implement a strategy that is true to your brand and gets that register ringing today.

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

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.

Winery Marketing: It May Be Time to Create a Plan B

After reading an email update about New York Governor Paterson’s proposed 2009-2010 budget plan that would eliminate the budget of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, I sat back and thought about what that would mean for my friends here in the Finger Lakes wine industry. It certainly would make promoting the region more challenging with a smaller pool of capital to work with. So during this time when funding from NYW&GF is uncertain and cannot be counted on, it may be time to create a plan B for 2009.

A good place to start is with an assessment of your current marketing position. Which strategies have been most successful for you to date? Are there low-cost ways to continue to spread the word about your winery and the region? Who are your core customers and where do they spend time consuming information and doing research? Do you have a charismatic, inviting spokesperson who can actively promote your winery brand? What have you tried that hasn’t worked?

Next, dig in and do some research, look to your current best customers and ask them what keeps them coming back to you. Explore your options for actively pursuing new customers/visitors with a marketing-savvy friend, colleague or consultant. And certainly don’t forget to take special care of your current customers and keep up communication with them. Social media platforms provide a low-cost way to actively engage with your customers and prospective new customers. Explore social media platforms such as Open Wine Consortium, Facebook and Twitter and seriously consider introducing them into your marketing mix if you haven’t already.  There’s a group on Open Wine Consortium for wineries to interact with each other and the discussions in the general forum of the OWC contain valuable insights from the thought-leaders in our industry that may help you.

Plan for the worst-case scenario in regards to funding from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. That way, you’ll have a bare-bones plan in place that can be put into motion without losing a beat. There is strength in collaborating with others in the industry both here and in other wine regions. In my experience, those in the wine industry are passionate, friendly and helpful and you may discover a new idea that may be the one that makes a difference in your bottom line.  Don’t be afraid to contact me or comment here if you would like to continue the discussion.

Winery Marketing: Getting to Know You Via Social Media

The back of my business card

The back of my business card

Looking back on 2008, one of the best decisions I’ve made in regards to starting Melissa Dobson PR & Marketing, was to jump in and engage in social media. Initially skeptical, it didn’t take long for me to realize just how powerful some of the platforms can be for establishing a brand presence. Although informal and personal in nature, there are a few key things to keep in mind before engaging.

Contribute to the discussion by providing resources or links to relevant articles

Think of your target audience and what their needs are. The key here is to contribute and add value to the conversation, don’t simply tout your business or blog. You will establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry and establish trust and credibility. A book I read earlier this year and highly recommend that ingrained this approach in me is Michael Port’s “Book Yourself Solid.” Although written as a small business marketing system, some of the basic tenets of the book ring true in many situations. Michael recommends that you focus on giving first and building relationships long before you have a proposition.

Be mindful of keeping a balance between personal and business posts

The strength of social media platforms is in the human factor. Yes, we’ll want to hear about your latest business ventures and offerings, but we won’t care until we get to know you. Be yourself, talk about what’s on your mind, post pictures and videos that show your outside interests. In doing so, you’ll attract social media friends and possibly business from like-minded people who connect with you. And as Adam Urbanski teaches in his social media seminars for entrepreneurs, the key to success is to build relationships, educate and entertain. He also recommends that you create your own personality or flavor and connect. People engage with people that they know, like and trust. The way to establish yourself on networks like Twitter and Facebook is to share some of yourself and keep the business-oriented posts to a small ratio of your overall updates. This may seem counterproductive, but in my experience, it isn’t. I’ve seen well-intentioned people turn their followers off by only showing their business faces.  If you’re uncomfortable with this approach, search for some of the people in your industry or a related industry that you admire and respect.  Take a look at their social media interactions.  Use your best judgment and carefully consider what you post because with each update, you’re establishing a brand identity.

Don’t forget to have fun

Social media is a fun way to engage with your friends, prospects and colleagues.  For those of us who work from a home office, it creates a virtual community to tap into for ideas and feedback and is a great way to keep on top of the latest news in your industry and showcase your abilities.


Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma: An Online Community Connects and Demonstrates the Collaborative Nature of Social Networking

My expectations for the first Wine Bloggers Conference were high when I decided to attend early this summer. After months of getting to know several wine bloggers on Open Wine Consortium and Twitter, I was going to have the opportunity to meet my friends and fellow wine bloggers in person. I know it may seem strange to hear me call a bunch of people I’ve never met in person my friends, but that’s what they are.

As a community, we have cheered on each other’s achievements and new ventures. We have jumped in to provide insights, ideas and resources with enthusiasm. We have comforted each other when one of us is down in the dumps or not feeling well. And like all other friends, we can pick good fights in jest, debate a point of relevance (or non-relevance!) and be mad at one another one day, but not the next. We have come to count on and deeply respect each other, whether or not we agree on things.

We share a love and passion for wine and those involved in the industry. We are excited to learn more, share our insights and push the envelope forward to better ourselves and our blogs. This is a strong, vibrant and exciting community and I’m very honored to be a part of it.

This weekend, I met many of my blogger friends and happily recognized several by face from their avatars which made it very easy to walk up and introduce myself or have someone seek me out. The awkwardness that usually accompanies breaking the ice with conference attendees was not an issue, as was pointed out by Joel Vincent of Open Wine Consortium, one of the Wine Bloggers Conference organizers when he addressed us during his wrap up speech today. Another tremendous advantage of social networking, in my opinion.

This first post on the conference is a foundation for the others that will follow to report on more specifics and important take aways. I have some new insights on the Finger Lakes Region after seeing some of Sonoma County. I will fill you in on new ideas that were uncovered at the conference. And I’ll walk you through some more specifics of our weekend activities as soon as I am feeling back to myself. I am still not well after suffering from motion sickness on the bus ride back from our dinner at Sebastiani, but I’ll report more soon and have some great photos to share with you as well.