email. It’s fundamental customer service
to answer a tweet, or a post on your Wall.
And you don’t answer in stupid promo-
tional ways. You just say, ‘Hey, how are
you doing?’”
But social media success does require
a slight shift in thinking. Traditional mar-
keting was about push. A marketer pub-
lishes a notice about a holiday sale, or the
arrival of a scarce Bordeaux, hoping cus-
tomers will come pouring in.
Social media is about pull. Instead
of broadcast-and-pray, a marketer goes
where the customers are, connects
with them, and engages with them on
their terms.
A restaurant, for example, might
monitor their mentions on Twitter and
follow and reply to customers who tweet
about them. A retailer might set up a
Facebook page and run a promotion tar-
geted at locals with food and wine in-
terests. Or they might share a photo of
a bottle one of their staff had on vaca-
tion and loved so much that the store is
now stocking it. The engagement hap-
pens in bits and pieces, and not just be-
tween one customer and one marketer,
because others can chime in, too. It’s
a conversational marketplace; and not
just two-way, it’s multi-way.
Over time, the conversation takes on
a life of its own. Alex Moskovitz, who
runs social media marketing for Anfora,
a wine bar in New York City, might post
a tweet about what’s happening in the
bar, then watch as followers start kibitzing
with each other. “I don’t have to be the
only one talking with them all the time,”
she says, “And that’s what a bar is.”
Not surprisingly, the online chit-
chat reaches a peak on evenings and
weekends—and it’s always wine-o’clock
somewhere. Hospitality pros can’t expect
to connect with their core customers if
they’re only online from 9 to 5, Mon-
day through Friday. “It takes constant
monitoring,” Moskovitz concedes, so that
SOCIAL MEDIA:
WINE
After the people behind the Vibrant Rioja
campaign noticed that the majority of traffic
to their website and social medial channels
was coming via smartphones, they made
a concerted effort to ensure that all of their
online content was mobile-friendly.
Getting Started
with Social Media
Get an account (or two).
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
are my top recommendations.
Add Yelp and OpenTable if you’re
a bar or restaurant. If only one
account seems manageable, fo-
cus on Facebook if you’re a retail
store or restaurant, and Twitter
if you’re an importer, distributor,
producer or brand manager.
Start by listening.
Find and
follow people in your circles—
retail shops, restaurants,
neighbors, customers, writers,
winemakers. What are they
saying about your category?
Also monitor mentions of your
brand and staff. Use a dash-
board tool like HootSuite or
TweetDeck to keep track of sev-
eral threads at once. Hashtags
(e.g., #malbec), are used on
Twitter to categorize tweets and
facilitate searching.
Engage, share, link.
Ask
questions! It’s a great way
to get conversation started.
Thank anyone who praises
you publicly, and re-post to
your own accounts. Respond
open-mindedly to critiques and
address problems quickly. On
Twitter, follow-back anyone who
looks legitimate so you can
communicate via Direct Mes-
sage—another demonstration of
trust. A common misperception
is that channels are awash in
people (over)sharing mundane
details of their lives. Tweets and
posts are frequently executed
with links that connect to more
content on a website.
Be yourself. Remember
that companies don’t talk,
people talk.
It’s OK to post an
occasional update about your ski
trip or your car breaking down.
Christy Frank, of Manhattan wine
shop Frankly Wines, has only
one Twitter account for both her
personal and professional life.
“That’s one of the reasons my
Twitter strategy has been suc-
cessful,” she says. “People know
who they’re talking to. It’s not
just a black box.”
Tell stories.
Show people
what’s happening in the
trenches. If your buyers are in
Spain, have them take a slew of
pictures. If a winemaker or rep
is pouring wines in your shop
that evening, post it or tweet
it. Visual media is especially
powerful.
Monitor, measure and
adjust your mix.
If you don’t
have Google Analytics on your
website and online store, get it
installed. Track inbound traffic
from social media and tie it to
resulting sales.
Be opinionated.
Tell your
customers why you think
this wine matters. Share your
enthusiasm, and ask for theirs
in return. “Brands can have a
kind of heart—a pulse,” says
Melissa Sutherland Amado. “If
you show that, you’ll get that
love back.”
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