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Courtney Copland
 
December 6, 2013 | Courtney Copland

Pair wine marketing with social media for greater online visibility

Social media started off as a platform college students used to keep in touch with each other, and now nearly every consumer-facing company has a presence on at least one network. Many wineries have been skeptical about the power of these channels for wine marketing, but they can help you build lasting relationships with customers and ultimately increase direct-to-consumer sales. However, many wineries have been reluctant to implement social media into their existing marketing mixes. 

Why are wine and social media a good fit? Wine Business says the combination works because wine is an "experienced good," which means people have to try it before they really know whether they like it or not. There are more than 10,000 labels on the market, so the process for consumers to refine their palettes can be a complicated one. In the past, wine shoppers would ask friends for advice, but this is a process that is increasingly happening online. Social media is basically an amplified source of word-of-mouth marketing.

California wineries slowly coming around on social media
Social media is a powerful tool for building relationships with customers after they leave the winery - no matter where they live. Part of the reason many wineries haven't wanted to embrace social networks is because they have a steady stream of in-person customers, according to The Napa Valley Register. However, even if you have great sales, you can benefit from boosting DTC sales. Social media is a simple way to facilitate this.

The market - particularly in California - is saturated with wineries, which makes it hard for a single facility to stand out.

"We are digitally handicapped in this industry," Paul Mabray, co-founder of social media company, VinTank, told The Napa Valley Register. "We talk about it but we don't hire for it. We don't move functions around for it. We're still being dragged, kicking and screaming, in many ways, into this thing called social media."

Many wineries rely on word of mouth, critical reviews and traditional advertising to fuel reputation, but in the fast-paced world of Internet marketing, social media can supplement these initiatives. In fact, consumers may be more likely to find a winery's social media presence than an established critic's rating, the article said.

How to use social media to complement wine marketing
With all the different types of social networks, the possibilities for marketing campaigns are nearly endless. Since word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful, review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor can make a big impact. You can encourage wine club members to write reviews in exchange for an online discount.

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