Now that social media in wine and hospitality seems mainstream, facebook fan pages are de rigeur, and the twitter, flickr, fb, digg, etc. logos are plastered everywhere, there’s something significant missing in the translation of the message on connecting. Referring back to the cocktail party analogy, would you host a party and not be there? Invite guests to your home to connect and entertain them and leave everything up to a catering staff for interacting with your guests?
I sure hope you answered no to both questions. If you did, why on earth would you launch a social media program and issue automatic direct messages to your guests? Why would you post generic, monthly or weekly messages (imagine a PA system a la high school) announcing, shouting at people something they didn’t ask you about? Do you understand the concept of real conversation? If I come to your home, I’m excited to see YOU…and if you have the butler answer the door, the bartender entertain me and the cook tell me loads of information, guess what…I’m probably not coming back. Nor will I tell my friends anything positive about that experience.
Maybe you’re mislead by the cold, technological tool in front of you…your laptop (i-phone, Storm, whatever). What you must not forget is that there are real, flesh and blood, passionate people on the other end who love wine, hospitality, their friends, family, travel, SCUBA, or whatever FAR more than they love your bottom line. While technology extends our reach by several orders of magnitude greater than we can imagine, you cannot lose your sensitivity, your listening skills, your inter-personal talents in the hopes of automating connection. Businesses hoping to increase their business without getting involved, asking questions, caring and listening are doomed to fail, and fail on a large scale in public.
Our friend @winebratsf is right. And she is doing businesses a service by letting them know what she wants and why she’s there. Many people I know just “unfollow” a business that gets impersonal, automated or uninteresting. If you can’t make the personal investment in the relationships, you are in the wrong place. Give more than you get. Provide value. Care. Share.
This venting session is over.
Thanks for reading. Cheers!