Women & Wine Shares Insight on State of Social Media in the Wine Biz

We are all very familiar with the fact that the wine that we drink is only part of the story. In each bottle, there a person and a place that’s in every glass. When we speak of those origins we use the word terroir to describe the soil or the context of where the wine is from. At its core is the assumption that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that region (from Wikipedia).

Is there a word though that can sum up the passion – the heritage – the people as well as terroir does in describing the land. Probably not. And believe me, I’m welcoming suggestions (do I detect a contest coming?) to use to describe this ‘other side’ of wine. It’s the reason that winemakers do what they do every day and people buy and start wineries. And, as you know, each story is different.

Social media allows us to share our stories, our passions and our purpose with people via various web tools. We create a dialog with those who are interested in wine, food, traveling to wine country – and we can listen to what’s being said to find and engage new potential friends, followers or purchasers of the wine.

facebook recognized the potential for the wine industry to present their stories when they moved earlier this year to the creation of Pages – and even built in the parameters of legal drinking ages across the world to assure that users would be of the right age to participate as fans. As of June 23, 2009, a study shared that over 500 wineries had posted facebook fan pages – I’m thinking that of this date it’s more like 1000. And that 50% of the wineries are in CA.

That’s great but it’s only the beginning and I applaud those who are ‘in the game’. This is not a time for standing on the sidelines wondering if the water is warm enough to jump in.

But the story just starts here. Where are the outlets that you can reach people who are interested in your wine? When you Google the name of your winery or brand what do you see? The first listing should always be your homepage – not a price comparision or where to buy it via the web. You want the visitor to be able to connect to the story so that you build loyalty for your brand and when the consumer pours the wine into the glass they can share your story with the people they are sharing the wine with.

Unless you are a public relations genius, it’s unlikely that you’ll see stories about your winery in the top searches on Google – especially if they are in print magazines who delay the posting of these stories to the web. You probably won’t see the latest Press Release about your winery either if it’s more than 30 days old as Google’s algorithms don’t consider that original content. And yes, if those releases are picked up by other outlets  you’ll see them too – for a while. But this isn’t what the person who is interested in wine is seeking to read.

They want the inside scoop. They want to make a connection, feel like an ‘insider’. Even if they can’t visit your winery they want to know what’s going on and they want to hear it in your own words.

There’s approximately 100,000 people who belong to facebook fan pages that are related to wine. If each of these fans has 100 followers then you are in a position to influence a circle that’s 7 million strong and by 2010 70% of those 21 and older will be on facebook. WOW! That’s a big number.

But how you differentiate your wine and your winery – that’s a whole different story – because once the industry catches on it’s like having your wine on a shelf in a warehouse style store with miles of aisle and no one there to educate the consumer about your brand.

There are other options for telling your story too – sites that you can post on and places where you can add your wine. You’re just getting started.

If you’ve never had a chance to experience our website, I hope that you will check it out today at Women & Wine http://womenwine.com. It’s a universal platform where lovers of wine, food and travel – pros and novices can share their passion, entertain, educate and inspire others with their stories, photos, blog feeds and videos. You can even post your events – all for FREE. Our SEO capabilities will have your story at the top of Google within a few hours if it doesn’t look like an advertisement but rather is posted at original content.

We also create content, contests, promos and social media campaigns for wineries and other brands that want to speak to lovers of wine, food and travel. Some of our A-list clients are movie studios, hotel groups, spirits companies and more. We create experiential offline events too to make a connection to the consumer.  We’ve been in 31 cities since in the past couple of years and had events for over 7,000 people. And we don’t have to ‘fish’ for a passionate audience – we’ve built ours through storytelling since we launched the company.

This is our 4th website at http://womenwine.com – we knew when we started that most consumers don’t want to share tasting notes or score a wine but would rather share a glass, a story and make a connection. It took us a long time to get it right (and this site is just a beta) but it’s working.

And if we can help you tell your story – then we’ve done what we set out to do. So raise your glass to your hard work and to meeting these new challenges and to each victory on your path to increase your wine sales, fans, visitors to your tasting rooms. And if we can be of help, just let us know.

You can reach me at julie@womenwine.com

Become a fan of Women & Wine on facebook.com/womenwine – follow me on twitter @womenwine.

Women & Wine Inc. offers consulting services, content creation and social media strategy and is the owner of Wine Valet at Two Rodeo Drive a hip wine boutique in Beverly Hills, CA.  Julie Brosterman hosts a top rated wine podcast on i-tunes which also can be heard at http://womenandwineradio.com with over 100 hours in archives. She writes for other sites as well as appears as a speaker on panels on the subjects of Finding Your Voice on the Web and Social Media as a Marketing Tool. Phone is 310-880-2442.


6 responses to “Women & Wine Shares Insight on State of Social Media in the Wine Biz

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Women & Wine Shares Insight on State of Social Media in the Wine Biz « Women & Wine [womenwine.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

  2. I agree with you that the people side of wine is missing from the conversation. My wonder is, do consumers care? Are there a enough consumers who do care, to make a difference?

    It is challenging as consumer, to do your homework and learn about the people, places etc. After all, we just want a glass of wine with dinner.

    Who ever cracks this marketing challenge will do very nicely and the consumers who follow will enjoy some very fun wines.

    • Hi Ron – yes I am afraid that when you draw a circle around the number of people who want to talk about wine vs. drink something they will enjoy with friends or with a meal it’s a very small circle. In comparing sites and facebook fans it’s this core 100,000 – 160,000 (give or take a few thousand) that range from very experienced tasters and collectors on http://www.cellartracker.com to those who are posting on sites which let users rank wines.

      I love to learn the story of the wines but don’t care about the scores as it is impossible for most wineries to even get their wines scored and thousands are overlooked.

      The real point of all this is that the wineries are left to educating – and entertaining – the consumer and they have their work cut out for them. This is why I always suggest that people find a local retailer that they can connect with who can give them guidance and recommendations. The jury is out and yes, it is a big egg to crack.

      Thanks for your comment.

      • Reading your post and follow up comment is like standing in the mirror and listening to myself talk.

        I guess it is a one person, one bottle, on story at time exercise.

  3. Sometimes the best story about a wine comes compliment of the server or bartender. What I have found is that you call a winery anywhere in the world you can find someone who will talk to you about their wines. When it comes to email, it can be hit or miss – they love to talk! More people need to ask – here, and in their favorite restaurant.

  4. Hello Julie,

    I have read your article and Ron’s comments with great interest, not just for myself mind you, but for a fellow LinkedIn member and a contributing member of my company’s social media network.

    While her LI profile doesn’t mention it, she is the owner of a winery in New Zealand. She currently lives and works in the UK and is finding it difficult to establish new lines of distribution during these shaky economic times.

    I have forwarded your profile to her with the offer to extend her request to connect with you, to you for consideration. When received, I would gratefully appreciate your acceptance, if you so choose.

    Thanks in advance for your consideration,

    William (Bill) Littlehales
    Global Exec Mentor
    GE Management Team US
    me2everyone PLC ID# 222268
    pers. email – littlehales@att.net
    busn. email – william.littlehales@me2email.com
    busn. web – http://www.me2everyone.com/222268
    busn. profile – http://www.linkedin.com/in/littlehales

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