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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

SMicons2Now 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?

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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.

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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.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.  Cheers!

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fbI have been on facebook for a while…maybe a year or two.  Several friends dragged me after I had already spent time assembling a MySpace page…also a year or two ago.  At first it seemed like a great place to semi-connect with friends and family through photos & messages.  Fast forward to today.  In addition to the hundreds of friends I have on my personal facebook page, I (co) manage a Fan page for Hahn Family Wines, Cycles Gladiator and Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans.  I am fascinated to watch as people become fans, contribute photos, discussions, questions, and as the content fills out on these pages.

Did you know there is a Fan page for facebook?  It is packed with great information, it is easy to sort through and essential if you are an administrator for any fan or group pages.  We’re all still collaborating and working together (within the wine company and among fellow wineries) to figure out how best to use the facebook group and fan pages.  What kind of content is interesting to the fans?  What keeps them coming back to the fan pages?  And why?  How will these virtual gathering places bring value, content and wine interest that wine lovers want, need and keep current in their lives?  And the bniggest question:  Will they buy wine as a result?

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This is the first post in a series on facebook in the wine industry.  I have been to the facebook offices and met with my new friend Andrew who built News Feed for facebook (thanks Cortney Erin).  Andrew and I are working on a conversation for the Wine 2.0 event on April 2 to answer questions and walk wine industry guests through the “how to’s” and “why for” on facebook for wine lovers.  We know Gary V and facebook’s Dave Morin are hanging out …and further, facebook and Wine Library are in a partnership.  LOVE THAT!  Once again, anything that brings wine to a wider audience I am in favor of, indeed!  And leave it to Gary to convert the unconverted.  He has successfully uncorked facebook…there are no limits.

facebookwineSo the whole point of this post is to set up musings about facebook for businesses, groups and the wine industry…asking why?  What do you have to say about how you use facebook?  Do you participate in groups?  What for?  Community?  Information?  Facebook is doing an awesome job of staying ahead of the curve…redesigning the home page, adjusting status updates, offering feeds from blogs, twitter, flickr, and so on.  And what about facebook connect?  What will that mean for facebook interface, blog commenting, posting, etc?  We’ll find out much more about facebook connect when we sit down with Andrew on April 2 in San Francisco.

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I see a lot of potential here, both for users and for wineries on facebook.  Yet, a lot of the functionality, value and interest will be (like most successful Web 2.0 sites) user generated.  So is the wine community interested and engaged enough to participate on facebook when it comes to groups and fan pages?  That means both the industry, providing the fan pages and intital content AND the consumers, adding interest and content as they become more engaged.  Is there enough content and need or desire to bring people back to the Fan/Group pages again and again?  The great thing about wine is that it engenders social activity, conversation and participation.  Our industry is uniquely positioned to partner beautifully within social media, to  inform, educate and  connect…all in conversation about wine.  There are already dozens of wine groups and fan pages.  Check these out and let us know what you think.  And share additional wine group or fan pages in the comments section here as well.  There’s a lot we can learn from each other as we sort through this new meduim.  I find more to learn and additional ways to connect through social media, so I am thrilled the wine industry has found its way here.  Because as we have heard before: “Better relationships drive better business, period.” (Amber Naslund)

Cheers!

Photos courtesy of facebook and my Blackberry Storm and ICanHasCheeseburger.

iiznotalcohol

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It’s getting pretty weird out there. Well, it probably has been for awhile. So what are you going to do about it? You have some options: My least favorite and perhaps one of the most popular positions is the fetal position. Either mentally or physically, people may consider adopting a curl-up-until-it’s-over attitude. And maybe that works for some people. However, while I don’t look forward to crisis, I do recognize the opportunity for, leadership, new deals, new connections and being the carrier of light across the darkness.

Marketing, PR and all new e-marketing opportunities are bursting with possibility right now. Twitter has posted their Top 50 Tweeples (are you connected to them?), AND is partnering with Current TV (watch their amazing “Hack-the-Debate” programming of the Presidential debates posting real-time tweets). YouTube is experimenting with click-to-buy placement with Amazon.com. Blogging, Video blogging and many other forms of Social Media are exploding with popularity while corporations race to figure out how to maximize advertising in web’s social-sphere. The video version of Twitter, 12Seconds.TV is about to go public, currently in their alpha testing phase. The Wine Blogger’s Conference is completely sold out in Sonoma County with special guest, Gary Vaynerchuk this month. The list goes on as Facebook upgrades their applications and races to keep up with their users. Google is working on a browser (Chrome) that, when completed, will change the way the average Mom, Senior and student not just uses the web, but interacts with and seamlessly integrates online experiences within their lives. If you think that is dramatic, I haven’t emphasized enough how life changing all of these tools will be.

So what does all this mean to you?

You still have a minute to figure out where you will fit in. But only a minute. When New Media goes super-nova, you could be left unconnected. And thereafter, you’ll be running to catch up. Whatever your business, you must find out how you will thrive online. Meanwhile, the bottom line is still your communication and connection to your customer base. Nurture and nourish that relationship; especially during tough economic times. They will remember that and thus be even more loyal customers. A sense of connection, security and belonging is important anytime within our community; it is invaluable during these times and will go a long way in defining the quality and commitment of your online community. You’ll extend your reach and achieve greater bang for your marketing buck this way, while offering something of value to your client base. And they won’t forget that. You can’t beat being human. It’s way better than being a corporation…even if you are a corporation. (for more details on this perspective, check out this post on the Silicon Alley Insider) Then you become that light in the darkness…and that light is contagious.

I have two thoughts from Bill gates to leave you with.

“There will be two types of businesses by 2010- those that are online and those that are out of business.”

“The Internet will help achieve “friction free capitalism” by putting buyer and seller in direct contact and providing more information to both about each other.”

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