I’m kind of in my own world here both at my company and in the wine industry, living in social media. Ok, wait! Yes, there are a few hands-full of early adopters, bless you! The wine bloggers, the tech savvy, the curious, the adventurous…you know who you are. But on average, in the general part of my industry…where I live, we are in the minority. My point is that the leadership at my company (thank you Bill Leigon, Evelyn Pool) are dedicated to connecting online with wine lovers and allow me to participate, learn and share with you all a great deal. But that’s not enough. Within the rest of the company (a couple dozen talented sales reps and admin across the country as well as a winery full of craftsmen & women) I feel compelled to convert the un-initiated at Hahn to a high level of social media participation…to participate somewhere, anywhere online.
I think it is the essential place to start. As a brand or company, you can’t go forth and exist online for your brand alone. Working toward a tipping point within your own company is critical. Your co-workers may all participate at different levels and perhaps even in different places, but that they ARE participating online is essential. It is a slow process inviting and training people into the medium, we’re all so busy already. But, in addition to the presentations I do at every National Meeting, I work to send regular updates, links and direction on participating online whether that is inviting our people to comment on a blog (personal interest OR professional, anywhere is a great place to start), learning about “Twitter in Plain English” or getting them on ICanHasCheeseBurger …whatever it takes.
We all know from experience that once you get the bug, whether it was from wine, biking, politics or just connecting with your family, you get hooked. And that is the addiction I am pushing: an electronic connection with others that broadens our social circle and our filter for information. We all know that amazing things happen when we do that here, on twitter, blogging, on facebook, wherever. But it takes time. It can be frustrating. It can be very slow going….and it must be one of the primary pursuits of any company working to thrive online. So I approach my co-workers with the suggestion that they pursue what they love to do in real life…and find a place that fits in with that passion online. Whatever your passions, professional or personal, there are groups, social networks and loads of sites online where you can connect, learn, share and participate with other people who share your passion. It makes you an essential connector within your company; a powerful brand ambassador, and a socially knowledgable participant in what’s happening right now. It is another way to get an edge in your own marketability too. Just make sure you do it right. (And that is in several other blog posts!)
Now get in there!