I 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?
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.
So 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.
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)
Photos courtesy of facebook and my Blackberry Storm and ICanHasCheeseburger.