Social media really does count in the wine industry
So think global now please - how many wine or champagne brands sit in the top 10 global brands that use social media? One or two? Well actually it is none. Moet comes close however there is a void between spirits and beer brands compared to wine brands and that void is massive.
Positioned at number one is Heineken with 56k twitter followers and 11.8m facebook likes. Then follows Smirnoff with 13k twitter followers and 9.1m facebook likes. Number 10 is Coors Light beer (Canadian product), still with a massive twitter following of 13k and 300k facebook likes. These are massive figures but they are having an impact on brand awareness and ultimately sales.
Both Heineken and Smirnoff are using social media to encourage gatherings for their followers in various countries around the world. Essentially they are using immediate and fast communication to arrange events in which they can not only promote their products but bring an experience to their followers.
In a recent webinar I sat in on through Wine Communicators Australia I heard that social media is very important but the focus should be on content; making what is being said add value to a product or a brand. It is not enough to have a website, set up facebook and attempt the odd tweet. The advice given was to have a strong website that acted as the ‘go to’ communication source. From there a business should assess what additional social media could add value to their brand / business.
To know what social media may be relevant to a winery, cellar door, retail or restaurant a business owner needs to know their target audience. To know this is to have some idea about what should be said and in what form it should be communicated. This may not be as easy as it sounds as the assumption then follows that the business owner has a clear strategy, business model or plan and knows where they are heading and what they need to do to achieve this.
If a website should be informative, up to date, easy to navigate / purchase from then facebook should compliment this with shorter news feeds, use of images & photos and provide reminders to followers of events, activities and products. Finally twitter should be immediate, poignant and incorporate news bites, trends and information to provoke discussion.
I am learning this as I go along as with the modern age of rapid transformation in communication a guide book is not an option (change is constant). By watching what others do and noting what catches my eye, provokes a reply or discussion I am slowly seeing how social media can add value to a business or a brand. Content and relevance remain key.
The wine industry has been very slow to embrace modern forms of communication and marketing and with that social media. Websites are often not in existence but if they are they are often out of date and neglected. Wineries and wine businesses need to realise that activity such as communication and purchasing is being done more online, and that by adopting such activity a brand is going global not just staying local.
Now is a time for change for the wine industry - an essential change to compete not just against other wine brands but within the drinks industry against spirits and beer products. The younger beverage drinkers are all over online communication (Facebook, Twitter, Podcasts and YouTube) and as such will be missing any marketing or communication that does not include social media. That is a lot to miss out on!