An Often Overlooked Way to Use Social Media in the Wine Industry

An often overlooked way to use social media in the wine industryBy Steven McIntosh

Part of my consulting practice involves a lot of work with wineries. I've found that smaller wineries – those that sell less than one million cases per year – are always looking for ways to increase winery direct sales. Many ask me for advice on ways to use social media in the wine industry to gain greater access to customers, increase customer loyalty and increase sales.

My answer is that one of the best ways to use social media in the wine industry is to take advantage of social media listening tools. These tools enable you to see who is interested in your brand and/or currently near your winery, and use this information to invite prospects to your winery to potentially become customers and brand advocates.

How to Use Social Media Listening Tools to Increase Winery Direct Sales

While this approach can be time-consuming, the end result can be well worth the effort. Here's what you need to do:

  • Install the tools – I have used SalesForce's Radian6 and VinTank. These tools allow you to enter a list of keywords (such as winery, merlot, chardonnay, the name of your winery, wine tasting, the name of your city, the name of your event, etc.) and then crawl key social media channels for mentions of these words. But a word of warning is in order here. Although you can start with broad wine and food-related search terms, you're likely to need to narrow things down in order to get a manageable number of hits.
  • Find the influencers – Of course, you're not going to want to contact every person who mentions your keywords. You're looking for leaders in the space who can pull other people with them. Once the tools have identified potential prospects you need to look at how many social media followers they have, how often they post and what types of things they post to determine their level of influence. You can also Google them to see if they're well-known in their field.
  • Start making connections – Once you get the tools set up you can listen to those conversations, determine who is saying what, and use the tool to connect with people who have large followings on social media. "I saw your blog or Facebook post or tweet and I see you're interested in cabernet. We'd love to invite you to our winery for a tasting." Or "I'd like to send you something about our winery that might interest you."
  • Repeat the process frequently – If you have the resources, you can use this strategy to increase winery direct sales every day. At a minimum, though, I recommend you follow this process at least once a week. Just remember to always keep the goal in mind! Don't get so enamored with listening that that's all you're doing. Your goal is to identify the influencers, drive more traffic to your tasting room and website, and gain more business.

Social Media tools are becoming more widely accepted in the business world and it make sense for wineries to these tools to get closer to their customers and to increase their sales and ultimately their bottom line.


About Steven McIntosh

Steve has a proven track record of leadership in IT innovation, transformation and optimization for firms in a diverse range of industries. Clients love the way he combines his business acumen and his technical skills to deliver improved performance, better cost productivity and increased customer satisfaction.

A creative problem solver and out-front, confident leader, Steve builds a performance culture through strong partnerships, teamwork and empowerment of associates. He helps clients plan and execute integrations, achieve accelerated results on key software development projects, improve customer service levels, and more.

About CIO Professional Services

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