Posts Tagged ‘social media’

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?


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.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.  Cheers!

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Giant strides are very exciting.  In our industry, a slow, seasonally affected, growing, pressing and aging pace sometimes takes over and causes our progress to lag a bit behind faster moving industries (tech, TV, advertising…to name a few).  So when the wine industry makes a leap, it generates a wave impossible to ignore, exciting to watch, and exhilirating to participate in whenever you can.  This summer in particular, Social Media in Wine Marketing has taken that giant stride, nay leap forward opening up imagination, possibility and interactive wine marketing experiences new in the wine world.


Contributing to the leaps forward upto and including the summer of 2009, credit must go to the Wine Bloggers Conference, Twitter Taste Live, The Open Wine Consortium, the Bloggers Tasting and Planting Forums to name a few; accessible, frequent, groundbreaking online interaction between wine lovers, wine bloggers and the wine industry building a critical mass, connecting technology with everyone and anyone with a passion or passing interest in wine.  Then there is the Murphy-Goode, Really Goode Job campaign.  Regardless of what you think about the job (temporary, contractually a quagmire, and possibly vague in its mission) or the campaign (missing some basic social media fundamentals, mysterious in its process, depersonalized), the gimick of the search has splash landed as one of the top 10 topics we wine bloggers talk about.  Some of my favorite Wine Bloggers were on the MG top 50 list (some are still on the top 10 list).  Add to that the VinTank promise to donate $100K in Social Media strategy consulting if Murphy-Goode selects one of the VinTank 4+ and the buzz has gone viral.

LesOpportunity abounds.  And I gotta say that the coolest crest of this wave in Social Media evolution this summer in our industry, in our little Wine Valley has to be St. Supery (and specifically, Lesley Russell’s work) choosing to search, strategize and carve out a position for a highly experienced full time Social Media director to fortify their marketing team. The shift to new media is now working from within the wineries, connecting with and hiring people from a food, wine and social media background. Smart?  Hell, yeah.  Without the gimmick but with a thorough sifting and months of their own experience, St. Supery jumps in the rest of the way.  Their resume of social media history from 2008-2009 includes Lesley Russell speaking on panels (including the ZAP/ Wine 2.0 Social Media Panel and the DTC Summit Panel, “Relationship, Relevance and Results”), Twitter Taste Live wine tasting, a Bloggers Tasting Forum, multiple-avid participants on twitter, real facebook fan page development, and a series called “The Divine Wine Encounter” for trade wine folks.

So we’re talking about St. Supery’s newest hire, Mr. Rick Bakas.  I can’t wait to see what happens now…And I couldn’t be

RBakasmore delighted for St. Supery, the Bakas family and for Napa Valley and the wine industry.  In their continuing leadership in social media marketing, I’m excited to watch them execute a thoroughly thoughtful strategy with great wine, talented people on their team and a tremendous growing network of real and virtual fans.  It also may mean that social media/wine lovers will have a winery to call home in the Napa Valley, a headquarters to start or finish their wine quests…and a place that gets the brilliance and social value of the technology that connects us.

As if we needed an excuse to raise our glass, these are exciting times.  Cheers!

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What?!? I mean really, I knew twitter was just about everywhere…at least in my wine/social media world.  You may even be sick of twitterati:  Bloggers, facebook-ers, and Web 2.0-ers, all tweeting.  Even my real estate agent is on twitter!  But just when I think the slope is leveling off there’s Biz Stone, one of twitter’s founders making an appearance on The Colbert Report and then there’s Dell:

Dell has landed $1 million of sales using Twitter. Even though that’s a fraction of Dell’s $61 billion in annual sales, it costs almost nothing, Binhammer said. Twitter also allows Dell to promote new products and help customers with technical problems, he said. (Article Link Here)

Now that’s some serious ROI.  We also saw the Wine 2.0 Tweet Stream last Thursday.  You can connect your twitter stream to your facebook as well as your blog. You can also connect your 12Seconds.tv to your twitter stream (twitpicing along the way).  And by the way, have you connected your Diggs to twitter (Twiggit) and do you get regular Tweetbeep notices?  Mr. Tweet will recommend new people to follow based on your tweet cloud/interests.  There’s another 20 applications here at TechCrunch with links and a brief description about their use, origin, etc.

So while you’re updating the best new toys for your twitterverse…don’t forget the most important aspect of participating…Tw-etiquette. Good manners.  Remembering that there is always a person at the other end of the tweetdeck, i-phone, Blackberry Storm, computer, whatever.


So of course, @thebetsy said it better in fewer words…there may be understandable nuances to such guidelines on twitter.  So watch the community and take @thebetsy ‘s advice.  Would love to hear your thoughts, resources and input as well.  The Twitter Blog will keep you current on the rest.  And you can follow me @winedivergirl.

This was a public service announcement.  Our regularly scheduled programming will now resume.

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web20logoSo much of the Web 2.0 Expo conversation about Social Media will be obvious to blog readers.  But what is so interesting  and invaluable for long term adoption is that multiple sciences are brought here in this conference to bear out what we have instinctively found: that online/Social Media and Social Networking offers us tremendous value.  Social Media brings us value to our every day lives on a personal level, for example, connecting with our friends on facebook.  Social Media offers us a deep value by connecting us with our families through share sites like flicker or 12Seconds.tv.  And Social Networking offers us immeasurable value professionally and intellectually whether through sites like LinkedIn, Dopplr or blogs that bring like-minded people together for conversation, debate, travel or inspiration.

Seth Godin has famously having dubbed these collectives or groups of people tribes.


It is fascinating to watch giant corporations like Ford level their full array of resources, people, funding, third party consulting and enough legal freedom to pursue a social media program.  They seem to be doing everything right, even when they make mistakes…because they’ll need the grassroots groundswell of support to survive the current organizational and financial fiasco their industry is going through;  however, I am left with the question that is always a bottom line for any business…”Is the product really that good?”  I know, I know, forgive me!  The Mustang is a classic…and Ford = American business success…perhaps.  But only if they can deliver on all cylinders (I couldn’t resist)…product, conversation, community, service.

Social Media and its place in business is still in its infancy.  But you  are all early adopters and therefore building the structure, creating the atmosphere and guidelines and therefore the climate within which this space develops and thrives.  Another relevant, interesting session was specifically dedicated to the sociology and metrics of “the conversation” called Beyond Buzz: On Measuring a Conversation.  More on that in follow-up.

There is also the  session talking more about the people than anything else:  It’s the People, Stupid, hosted by Debs Schultz and Brian Oberkirch.  They talk about human interaction as being at the very core of this technology and online medium.  While it can be so easy to forget while you are posted at your keyboard that your communication goal is to reach another person, the people who can remember that you are connecting with real people with real needs, feelings, quirkiness, passions and so on…those people will succeed the most in this space.

There will be much more in follow up and conversation I hope.  I’m about at my word limit for a single summary.  But because I’d like to leave you with a smile…enjoy the LolCats…and please post your comments and thoughts.


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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?


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.


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.


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The hosts (Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman, Don Lemon, Larry King, Anderson Cooper…) talk about twitter and facebook on cable news shows.  Politicians, internet businesses and even businesses like Whole Foods are on twitter…but many of my friends still say “twit-what” ?  They know what facebook is…but don’t have a profile.  Or if they do, they attend to it maybe once a week or less.  Many have yet to find their social niche on the ning platform  Can you believe many wine folks are now early adopters thanks to Open Wine Consortium, Wine 2.0 and almost 30 more social networks dedicated to wine!!??  Granted most of those participants are in the wine industry or wine blogging world or tech. Heck, the internet, and all of these online social tools, are credited with helping to elect President Obama!  So Social Media is almost mainstream…but not quite.


So what or who am I waiting for?

I guess I’m waiting for folks like my aunt or my mom to be on twitter or facebook or any social network (even AARP has a social site…and of course they should!).  Or even some of my closest friends in their 30’s n 40’s who have no idea about the online world beyond e-mail and shopping.  I’m waiting for them to get connected.  I have faith though:  they all chucked their answering machines in favor of voice mail.  And they all have cell phones; they even text.  So not being the most patient person in the world, I it is only a matter of time.

Then what?

Well, I’m curious and eager for the information and connection that twitter, ning and the blogosphere bring to the conversations.  Perhaps I’m already primed because I’m a news junkie: world, tech, wine, entertainment, travel and politics…gimme news!  And when those folks are connected, I can’t wait to see how the marketplace inserts itself into the conversation.  We’ve already seen them blocked, booted or blasted for spamming their messages into conversations.  It’s like being at a cocktail party and walking up to people chatting (say they are chatting about a back yard bbq with their friends and family) and you start shouting “Hey I have this great deal on Office Copier Machines!  Get it right now!  Go Here to buy it!”.  Don’t you think people would just look at you like you were crazy?!  So I’m curious to find out how the next leap in social media evolution will look…will it be so gradual that we won’t notice?  I kinda doubt it.  Will it make the coolness of twitter, the blogosphere and online conncting evaporate?  I sure hope not.


Whatever it will be, my hope is that the social media tools enhance connecting both online and in real life (IRL); that it will be a hub of information, authenticity and buzz about what’s happening right now, where can we go next and who can we find to engage!

Funny, I just got a phone call from the brother of the president of my company asking me about groups on twitter and facebook…maybe we’re closer to mainstream than when I started this post!

Images courtesy of Google images.

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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!

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Yesterday, the wine industry’s most curious and innovative gathered at Cuvee in Napa to hear VinTank, discuss the strategy, approach, and methodology of their study of social media and the blogosphere.  This report was created to help wine companies sort the relevant from the noise online and focus on developing an e-strategy.  VinTank is the latest start-up that says, “At VinTank we understand the key questions and help industry leaders formulate winning strategies.”  With co-founders Paul Mabray, Joel Vincent, Eric Hsu and Patrick Angeles, VinTank is positioning itself to evaluate and chart the currently flooded waters of social media in the wine industry in an attempt to make sense of this strange new online world.  Sorting relevance, influence and impact appear to be their primary focus.


The conversation/presentation at Cuvee shared a basic outline without giving too much away.  The study (expected later this month) aims to cover the broadest reach of social networks (for wine) and wine bloggers with detailed attention to the math behind their traffic, their influence, their relevance and how these cyber-space tools can help sell more wine, increase value or add to wine commerce/communication in some way.  I have to admit, as the expanse of wine in social media spills beyond my reach, I’d be happy to read multiple evaluations and reports offering me a snap shot of relevant, demographic specific direction.  I do this for a living for Hahn Estates, and I still don’t have time to get to them all.


Finally, the best part was the Napa Tweet Up that was augmented to the post VinTank presentation.  The conversation continued and everyone from bloggers to winery GMs, from Bank executives to Wine Tech start-up founders was able to connect and consider the possibilities for our industry.  There was indeed a buzz as people from more than a couple different generations and multiple disciplines crossed paths to learn about each other’s work, whether it was tweeting on a daily basis or running a winery from top to bottom.  It was technology and the common passion for wine that brought everyone together.


Photos courtesy of my BlackBerry Storm.

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Every commercial for travel, wine, restaurants, tourism, etc. all end up being about lifestyle, hospitality and the extraordinary lengths to which the hosts will go to take care of you during your stay with them.  Once you have the essentials met, a comfortable bed, room essentials (iron, mini fridge, mini bar, toiletries, wifi, i-home …) it becomes a matter of not just making your stay comfortable, but extraordinary.  To me, this includes anticipating your needs, going the extra mile, and a kind of unassuming kindness that’s subtle and authentic.  If you’re heading to New York that place exists in mid-town Manhattan.  That place is the Roger Smith Hotel.


The bar & restaurant, Lily’s, looks like an avant garde art gallery and feels like that artist’s family room.  The bartender Paul (see smiling bartender, Paul, pictured below) makes you feel like most great bartenders and hair dressers…you can tell him anything and he’ll not only have humor, compassion and words of wisdom, he’ll know exactly what cocktail to make for you.  I couldn’t get enough of the house plum infused gin and tonics he made for me.  Brunch on both days were delightful twists on traditional fare:  I had granola crusted french toast one day, vegetable frittata with fingerling potatoes the next …I’m not admitting to any morning cocktails.


The weekend I was there also happened to be the start of Social Media week in New York:  A set of meet ups, openings, releases and social media focused gatherings that includes Twestival NYC and the regular Social Media Breakfasts at…you guessed, The Roger Smith Hotel.  So on Sunday, Mr. Hospitality (see Brian Simpson pictured at top) hosted a Tweet Up (#tweetuprsh)…and since @ChrisBrogan was also staying at the RSH for the week, we amassed an impressive gathering that went for over 12 hours including a raucous, impromptu Grammy watching party to close out the evening.  Some attendees include: @coffeewithian (going for 100 hugs by Feb 14 and documenting them all on twitter via i-phone), @sukifuller (completing her MBA), @emilyspearl, @rachelreuben, @nexeus (NYC DJ, U-Streamer), @robbin_g (East Coast wine goddess), @hvwinegiddess (managing the Hudson Valley Wine Competition this spring), @chazfrench (winner best T-Shirt at the meet up…ask him),  @davekerpen (ZBuzz Marketing), @sandraschubert, @robblatt, @nadiapayan, @daveyarmon, @chrisbrogan, @bsimi, and me…@winedivergirl.  Though there were 20+ tweeters there, if I missed you, please let me know and I’ll add you right into this list!

cbroganrshAn additional set of concierge services from RSH pointing me to fabulous shopping, restaurants, great bars and transportation back to the airport  made my weekend overflow with something beyond satisfaction.  New Yorkers are the friendliest f*cking city people ever (RSH and beyond).  While I was in NYC for an Art Opening at the Walter Wickiser Gallery, my time there was jam packed from end to end with the best of what New York could offer me in a 3 day weekend with only 10 hours sleep total.  I made the most of it.  Now it’s your turn.

Photos from my Blackberry Storm

P.S.  I didn’t even get to Henry, the RSH mascot (see below left…)  That will be it’s own post altogether!

Yamile, Chief Restaurant man at Lily’s…demonstrating hospitality pictured below right.

For the best photographic pictorial : visit @BSimi ‘s Flicker page.



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So how does it feel to be studied?  I have to say, Wine Bloggers, you certainly are a fascinating bunch of movers and shakers.  Vintank issued a survey to research particular data points on wine bloggers just last week.   Joel Vincent calls you BPI’s or influencers as perhaps both your readers and your friends, family and immediate community look to you on which wines to buy.  I’ve called you alpha consumers, the kind of studious winos that search out the hot new or the tried and true tasty value selling right now.  And since you’ve been paying attention over the last few weeks, you know that the Fermentation Blog Awards were open for nominations until February 8.  Mr. Wark was on WineBiz Radio talking about the categories, selection process and so on as he also explained why additional categories don’t exist…finite resources.  Fair enough.  And don’t forget Ms. Tracy Rickman’s pending study, her dissertation en route to earning her PhD., a study on Wine Bloggers, credibility, integrity, readership, authenticity.

As traditional print media continues to fold, suffer lay-offs and generally disintegrate (perhaps phoenix like?), the wine industry looks toward more creative outlets for their story, their PR and communication with the wine loving world…the spotlight has transferred to you, wine bloggers.  Hey, you even get oddly polarizing posts debating Wine Blogger Certification, good for a round or ten of fiery opinion volleying across the bloggosphere and around the world.  You get a bloggers lounge at ZAP, complimentary with internet hook up, in anticipation of your savvy wine experience ending up on our monitors, luscious, logged and already out on VHS.  More Bloggers Tasting Forums will be the norm for 2009 (I’m predicting 2-4 scheduled over the next few months).  So Access may be a fight of the past.

My hope for the wine blogosphere is that the passion and talent you exhibit in life and on your blogs will continue, perhaps with greater ease, frequency and with even more variety in experiences, people and wines;  that your access will inspire you to go further in your tasting adventures both across the land and into the glass;  and that your fresh excitement will spread into the mainstream wine loving community and beyond.  My hope is that you will also maintain the wild rogue personalities that make you so interesting to read and taste wine with, abjuring the pressure or suggestion that you are new media with a responsibility to anyone other than yourself, your palate, your passion.


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