Wineries need a social networking strategy
Over the last year, Social Networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut etc. have become a major news item. Microsoft’s recent move on Facebook only highlights how quickly the cards have been reshuffled. So why are social networks the latest animal to dominate the online jungle’s food chain? And why should wineries care? Well, first of all it’s about inevitability. Here is a statistic to ponder: ‘One in 20 Web Visits Go to Social-Networking Sites’. That is HUGE.
See the recent evolution of MySpace and Facebook in terms of reach:
More and more people visit a social network; that’s why so much money is being thrown around. If you want to be seen, you must go where the eyes are (why else are advertisers and their financial backers happily spilling millions?). If you want to use the web to promote your wine brand, you cannot avoid social networks. If you want to attract new visitors to your website, your brand and URL need to be on this major online thoroughfare.
If you accept the need to join the bandwagon, be smart about it. Participation is free, sure, but the cost is in time spent. Simply setting up a facebook profile will not cut it. You need to be active. You can’t be on all of them. You should decide which one is best for your brand and who within your company will be most active or prolific in participating on your chosen social network(s). It is better to be highly active on one network than be inactive on many.
Consider a social network as branding vehicle and an opportunity to interact with your existing customers and potential customers. See it as an extension of your tasting room where conversations are held and relationships built. Again, you should participate, but only if you can do it reasonably well. It takes a bit of time every day to be active, so carefully consider the resources and staff you will put in and the return on effort you expect (if you have tech savvy tasting room staff, use them).
If you do not have the resources to be active, but still want to put your wine in fronts of the thousands of wine lovers that surf social networks, there are other ways. Wine social networks or wine related applications are other vehicles to get your brand out there (like WineBeagles on Facebook, or Snooth’s facebook app ). Let wine “social net-entrepreneurs” work for you. They want your content, it just needs to be shared.
Here at IBG we understand that participation in social networks is not a question, it is an obligation. The challenge remains being smart about it, performing good Social Media Optimization. We want to use syndication technology and smart partnerships to help our winery clients capture new sales and traffic. We will partner with wine web-entrepreneurs and help them fill their platform/applications with wine content. For example, this will enable Facebook wine applications to promote wine awareness on behalf of our clients.
It remains to be seen if social networks will become a major vehicle for eCommerce. Notwithstanding, wineries need to get on board if they want to create an edge for themselves, or simply keep the one they have. Exposure is key and, right now, social networks are where it is happening.