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Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

Cheers!

Photos courtesy of my BlackBerry Storm.

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I like the combination of Educational Sessions for the Wine Trade, paired with Trade and/or consumer tastings the way ZAP and Wine 2.0 programmed over the last few days.   These smaller opportunities to connect and learn from other successful wineries or wine businesses is both valuable for guiding and directing our business as well as helpful and refereshing for the obvious networking opportunities.

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Thanks to Smoke & Anitra Wallin, Abdi Humphries, and the rest of the Wine 2.0 company, I was honored to moderate a Social Media in  Marketing panel for ZAP.  Along side Joel Vincent (of Open Wine Consortium, Wine Bloggers Conference and now VinTank) and Lesley Russell (VP of Sales & Marketing DTC at St. Supery), we chatted with attendees, outlining social media practices, especially in the wine industry including visibility, ROI and authenticity online.

Two other sessions at ZAP/Wine 2.0 talked first about Compliance Issues with tools, strategies and solutions to address wine industry challenges.  The final session was led by Lesley Berglund presenting, frankly fascinating findings from a study Benchmarking Direct to Consumer/Wine Club practices.  The study  illuminated statistics outlining the best practices that the most successful wine club practitioners exercise.  It is this kind of analytical study, sharing and strategic collaboration that makes great consumer experiences wherever they happen.  Dry for most, perhaps, but I am pretty excited about conversations and learning more about new, improved and best practices across the wine industry.

And the best part?  After the focus and exchange on best practices, we all connect and share the fruits of all the labor.  Either way, isn’t that what it is all about?  I’ll be sharing the follow up information on the DTC Benchmarking Practices and Compliance links here as well when I receive them.

wineglassesWine 2.0 panel photo courtesy of Smoke Wallin.

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Proof of ROI in Social Media:

That’s for the boss’ bottom line.  But I think the real ROI isn’t measured by the bottom line.  The most valuable investment we all make in social networking is our time and ourselves.  Without those two things invested…and invested authentically, there is no real return.  How do you measure and put a dollar value on connecting, shared information, generating ideas, developing conversations?  I’m sure there are social scientists that will study and follow these activities and endeavor to measure the trail and where it leads.  And as soon as the numbers are in black and white, I think the measure will have already missed the essence of the most valuable return from social networking.

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In this particular case, however, I have been VERY lucky to have a short, direct trail with a couple people in the chain to point to a measurable outcome.  Brian Simpson, (F & B at the Roger Smith Hotel in New York City) and Shannon Marshall,  (Northeast Divisional Manager for Hahn Family Wines ).  Through the power of social media, twitter and 12seconds.tv, Brian & I have connected & have been posting 12 second videos of the RSH daily lunch special paired with wine.  We started in early November.  By request, I connected Brian with Shannon & by early December we have the menu above :  5 wines from Hahn Family Wines by the glass with 3 more by the bottle.

For me the return is in the relationships and connections I am allowed to cultivate world-wide through social networking.  The bottom line ROI is a secondary result I am grateful for…but not my primary pursuit.  The connections are.  Which brings me back to wine.  I feel the same way about sharing a bottle with someone.  Happy New Year everyone.  Cheers.

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Sure.  Why not?  Our goals may be different, but our passion for wine is shared.

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Yesterday Hahn Family Wines hosted the first ever Bloggers Tasting Forum at their offices in Napa.  (disclosure: I work for Hahn, but do not write this blog as part of my employment for them.)  Bloggers, winemakers, winery Presidents, winery owners, a journalist, a filmaker, a Director of Vineyard Operations,  and a PhD candidate studying bloggers were all in attendance.  There were also wine lovers who create content either via podcasts, (Vintuba.com) or a wine search engine (1,000 Corks).  Most folks were from the bay area, but some came from as far as Los Angeles, Tennessee, and Washington state.  The goals:  1.  To taste some of Hahn’s finest examples of Santa Lucia Highlands terroir, learn a bit about the AVA and each other.  2. Continue the conversation about wine bloggers and wineries working together.  How could that work?  To what end?  And how do bloggers and wineries manage credibility and integrity in exploration of the Wine World 2.0 experience.

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The variety of guests made for a fascinating and significant conversation.  Here’s what I took away from the event at first blush:

  • We’d like to host the Blogger Tasting Forum regularly, maybe quarterly. And perhaps at different wineries.
  • The variety and inclusive nature of attendees was essential to the chemistry in the room.  People from 3 guest wineries were there.  We poured from 2 who brought their wines: Twisted Oak, and Pianetta.  I wish Judd had brought Humanitas and Schlumberger.
  • There are absolutely a number of opportunities for bloggers and winereies to work together in ways totally appropriate and in ways that add tremendous value to the consumers experience, the bloggers experience and the wineries’ business.
  • The shift of influence in the wine world from old print media to new on-line media, especially in the form of blogs with character, variety and accessibility to the variety of wine lovers out there is essential to the success of a growing wine industry.  I can’t overstate this enough.  Those born digital are a massive, significant segment not just of the on-line world, but re-creating the on-line world.
  • Anything wineries can do to contribute to wine bloggers readership will help the wine industry in general and wineries and bloggers in specific.  It is the best, most interesting and direct access between wineries and consumers to cultivate conversations.  The more the better.
  • Anything bloggers can do to cultivate relationships with restaurants, wine bars, and their wine buyers to participate in their blog conversations and/or connect with the restaurant/wine bar blog could also have a great impact on the winery, blogger, consumer conversation.  Those wine directors and sommeliers are the influencers we’d love to have join the conversation more often.  They make the decisions about which wines appear on the wine lists.  Bloggers:  if you have them contributing to your blog conversations, wineries and many segments of the industry will absolutely HAVE to follow along, or get left in the dust.

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The questions that remain are many:

  1. How do you measure the value, i.e. the bottom line, for how a blogger can positively influence your wineries’ business?
  2. What is in it for the blogger?  Readership?  Wine? Consulting/writing fee?  Access to their subject?
  3. What does the wine consumer and wine blog reader gain by this collaboration?
  4. Is it enough to maintain your own integrity if you disclose the nature of the relationship between the business and the blogger?
  5. Another important question, squarely in the laps of bloggers, was so well put by Joe Roberts from 1WineDude:   “Heaven knows I’ve got no problem whatsoever being courted by winemakers, PR contacts, or the wine media in general (in fact, my view is that it’s about time this has happened). The trick is maintaining the willpower to keep a unique, individual, and (hopefully) credibly opinionated voice as a blogger while the “courting” ramps up.

Based on what Bill Leigon, President of Hahn, Adam LaZarre, winemaker and Andy Mitchell, Director of Vineyard Operations had to say yesterday, yes, Hahn wants to sell more wine: AND, “…we all have a passion for wine, we’re interested in educating people about our wines, our Central Coast wine region, our winemaking practices.”  And frankly, in the new media world that is 2.0, it is more possible to have a far reaching, diverse, informed conversation with more people without filters more than ever before.

So to the evolution of the conversation, in person, on-line and over a glass of wine.

Cheers!

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Photos provided courtesy of Thea Dwelle and Lisa Adams-Walter and Chris Butts.

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2986846355_e3b8d8f2c6_bThe Wine World is not quite all in on the 2.0 part of social networking, connecting and the blogosphere.  But soon, they will be.  No, I don’t have a date for when that will happen.  I have heard respected wine industry professionals suggest that when it comes to online technology, the wine industry is anywhere from 2 years to 10 years behind the rest of businesses.  So we watch and learn what the tech pioneers do in this space as we position ourselves to engage and develop the community for the wine world 2.0.

Technology and communication online are not the slam dunk tools or obvious replacements for anything in our industry, yet.  I frequently forget, (operating in this space for hours a day) that many people are only answering e-mail and maybe making purchases online and that’s it …so far.  And this time lag (between industry scouts and the general public)  is what gives us an opportunity to define best practices, connections and modus operandi.  Meanwhile, I have been suggesting wineries take advantage of the bloggosphere, the talent and passion of the people writing here and listen and learn from them.  I believe there is a valuable exchange between the wineries and bloggers for the benefit of consumers; Brian Solis articulates why this may be applied to the wine industry here: Monologue has given way to dialog. Social media has created a new layer of influencers. It is the understanding of the role people play in the process of not only reading and disseminating information, but also how they in turn, share and also create content for others to participate. This, and only this, allows us to truly grasp the future of communications.”1111734161_beadef031a_o

So what might that look like?  I think it looks like bridging the connection between wineries and the average consumer, personalizing the wine experience, including MORE people in the conversations we have.  I think that bloggers can help wineries do that so that a majority of the wine drinking public have that bottle of wine every night, share wine by bringing it to their friends’ or neighbors’ homes for dinner and talk about the experience that brings us together.  We want them to think of wine as a primary part of their dining experience, not an afterthought.  I think that means engaging them.  I think bloggers do that.  Whatever your style or content preferences, wine bloggers offer a variety of humor, entertainment, education, information, reviews, opinions, etc.

That’s why I think starting with conversations with bloggers, listening, and looking for ways beyond old media to reach out to the consumers is of tremendous value to wineries, consumers and the bloggosphere.  It’s not as great a leap as some make it out to be.  It is happening in business and across industries now, as reported by Guy Kawasaki in the Razorfish Report, posted on the OWC page by Joel Vincent.

Heck, even beyond the savvy wineries with blogs, web sites, and twitter accounts who are listening (or engaging their community), including Twisted Oak, Michel Schlumberger, Sacre Bleu, St. Supery, the most exciting thing I find from these wineries is that there are people who care behind the technology.  And let’s not forget, that more than anything, whatever the technology, social media, i-phones, BlackBerries,  or whatever comes along, it is about connecting …authentically.

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Web 2.0 photo from my flickr photostream.

Additional photos courtesy of Dan Wharmby.

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