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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

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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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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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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grapesrbeebe1If you love wine as much as I do, wine blogs are the best reading out there on the subject… and they are FREE!  The variety, depth of knowlegde, wines tasted and reviewed, wine events, images, humor and scope of topics covered in the nearly 1,000 wine blogs world wide have something to offer everyone.  And the wine blog writers?  They write about wine because they love it.  They have a passion for all things wine.   Wine Bloggers are getting more access to wineries and winemakers, conferences and social sites (thank you Joel Vincent) are growing at breakneck pace.  Then there’s Wine 2.0,  “the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry“, Mutineer Magazine, a fascinating, independent publication on all things beverage.  And MANY more wine sites online and beyond.  Is there a local wine bar in your neighborhood?

As this segment of our industry grows and finds their niche, I think their readership will likewise find them in 2009.  But how?  It has to be classic word of mouth.  Fortunately, there’s nothing quite as powerful as word of mouth.  As we all work a little harder and wade through the contraction of our world economy in 2009, it is up to us to share the (free) resources online with our friends and family.  That might include teaching them about RSS feeds, subscribing to a blog, commenting on a blog or even shopping online.  

Mutineer Magazine did a great spread called “Blogs You Should Be Reading” in their latest issue.  Hahn is hosting regular Bloggers Tasting Forums, and other wineries will be doing the same in ’09.  The Wine Bloggers Conference, after a Sold Out weekend last October, will likely be planning for an even bigger event in ’09.  And the Wine 2.0 calendar looks poised to make significant connections throughout the wine world and perhaps beyond.  

Whatever series of resources you find to spread the word about your favorite blog (and your own blog as well), reaching beyond todays readership to access tomorrow’s wine blog reader is the next step in our evolultion.  Perhaps wineries will take the risk of posting a wine blog roll?  And maybe the old wine media might reach beyond their top 100 blogs list to find the depth, vitality and diversity in the other 90% of wine blogs written around the world?  And maybe we’ll find the tipping point in readership that the quality and passion of your content deserves.  

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Photos courtesy of Russ Beebe: The Wine Hiker.

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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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You can’t explain social media, twitter, networking or online connecting to someone who has never done it and expect them to get it.  It is an experience,  kinda like a Grateful Dead concert.  (Ok, that was a strange comparison, but still apt).

Fundamentally, these are the basic principals I’ve experienced while connecting online:

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  • Be there
  • Care about your community (an idea from Gary Vaynerchuk)
  • Selling CAN NOT be your priority.
  • Participate as a real, 3-D human.  That must be your priority.
  • Don’t BS or lie: You can be clear about who you represent, but please don’t make that the only reason you are there.

You can’t just show up and tweet or blog about something you have to sell.  Just like commericals on TiVo, we’ll fast forward through those and continue on with our conversations about wine, bacon, NPR, technology, Sonoma County chocolates, …you get the idea.  Join the conversation.

Care. So many options here.  Participate in the conversation, add something interesting, valuable, conversational.  Research your community: what do they care about? What do they talk about? Caveman Wines recently posted an elegantly simple reminder to people pitching to bloggers: know your audience!  That’s caring.  Humanitas Wines cares by giving back to communities where their wine is purchased.  That’s caring.  Forget about selling and invest your time, energy and $ into caring.  That may seem counter-intuitive, but I’m telling you, it is the social business model for the 21st century.

Selling is so out.  But buying is still in…we just don’t trust advertisers any more!  Really, at all!  Reuters posted this article this week about tech companies turning to social media to reach consumers.  It said “These social networking sites harness the age-old power of the word-of-mouth recommendation and can be potent marketing tools. If nothing else, they demand a higher level of consumer engagement than conventional ads.”  Recommendations from people we know and trust is how 78% of us connect with a product we’re looking for. (from What the F**K is Social Media)  No more billboard, shouting, passive audience selling.  That’s so 20th Century.  That’s so over.

Instead, participate, have conversations, engage with groups, connect.  It will take longer, metrics may be more difficult to accumulate and measure, but you will have impact.  You will garner trust.  You will cultivate a groundswell of support for a brand that will then sell itself.  That is of course assuming you have something of high quality for a low price and more to contribute to making the world a better place.

Don’t lie.  You can’t fake this.  The scrutiny of the clan will uncover any disingenuous participants.  And they will talk about you, honestly, ruthlessly to everyone.  Ask Motrin about the internet wildfire it started with a bad idea.  Really, the internet community is savvy, meticulous, and VERY interested in the truth.  The best part is, you’ll get honesty in return.  So I hope you want to know the truth.  Either way, you’ll get it.  You’re better off if you give it.  People appreciate honesty.

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Let’s put it this way, you really aren’t in charge of your message that much any more. Reuters had this to say: “”Historically, companies have been really focused on controlling the information they disseminate … and the fact is that’s dying…“.  What that means to me is that you’d better have a great product at a great price (period)  We LOVE great stuff at great prices…and we’ll tell everyone we’re connected to about it!  And with the help of blogging, twitter, facebook, etc, that is literally hundreds of thousands of people, instantly.  The rewards will be well beyond what you imagined.

Being a fan of simple elegance, I had to offer this video in the post as well.  It is the best tool out there that comes even close to explaining twitter to someone who has no idea what the online social thing is about.  Still, I’d say just do it.

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As we watch and participate in the transformation  currently taking place in the wine industry, it is exciting to watch the doors open wide.  Wine in many places in the world has been a daily part of family meals for hundreds of years.  It’s very function is about bringing us together to share and nourish ourselves.   It’s function is inclusive.

But somewhere along the way wine became exclusive.  A language developed and surrounded the product. Wine became a symbol of status instead of a daily ritual of coming together.  No longer.  Wine evangelists like Brian Duncan (Bin 36, Chicago) changed the way we talk about wine, the way we approach wine and the way we think about wine.  Meanwhile Web 2.0 and social media brought user generated content, online communities and interaction to a new level.  People are connecting, sharing and building networks that change the way we live and interact both with our computers but also with each other.

Wine is about coming together and so is social media.  The wine industry, both trade and consumers are coming together to talk about everything wine related from the root stock to the (online) sales and beyond.  People are stepping up to help create the structural network by offering virtual and real space for these wine  networks including: The Open  Wine Consortium, Wine 2.0, The Wine Bloggers Conference, WineLog, Twitter  Taste Live, Inertia Beverage Group, Wine Library TV, and many bloggers contributing regularly to the conversation on wine.

The social media & networking format proliferated by the internet means that participation is open to anyone (as long as you can get to a computer and an internet service).  Exclusive is in the process of transforming into inclusive. The Two Buck Chuck phenomenon confirmed wine as a drink for everyman and the demographic for who is buying wine has become as varied and diverse as the thousands of wines available in the US alone.

The opportunity here is for both wine producers and consumers.  Access to so many wine lovers gives wineries an opportunity to engage in this community, add value and learn from them.  We also hope that means increasing the value of a wine consumers experience with wine, and what they want,  how they get it, and so on. For consumers it means a variety of avenues to enjoy, learn about and connect with wine and wine lovers. Whether for entertainment value, for social interaction, or education, consumers have a powerful network of, well, online networks to engage with, participate in, contribute to and enjoy the wine life.

If wineries are smart, they will figure out how to join this online wine community, add value to it and participate genuinely and frequently.   I hope they do.  Marketing is changing from the billboard, shouting format where the buyer is passive, to an interactive, connecting model where people and brands overlap and engage with producers.  And what a perfect marriage wine and social media will be.  Two inclusive elements that bring people together to connect and share.

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