Why Social Media Matters

An interesting experience…

I recently logged some miles in Oregon wine country and participated in a full day seminar on Direct to Consumer Marketing presented to an interesting group that included both large and small Oregon wineries. The morning session was highlighted by a panel discussion with DTC managers of 5 well-established wineries who were asked to comment on 10 key topics of interest by a very engaging and entertaining moderator. The winery audience was encouraged to participate as well.

One of the topics of note was social media engagement and the way in which each winery represented by panel members developed and executed strategies and managed tactics within this important channel of DTC marketing. The common denominator among the group was around the understanding that their wineries needed to be active, at some level, in social media because their customers expected them to be. In other words, and as stated by panel members, if they were not engaged in some form of social media context, their customers would be put off by that.

Within that group dynamic of expectations, there were various ways that panel members met these expectations. One manager of a prestigious large winery with a significant wine club membership felt that if he was able to fill his quota of two Facebook posts per week, he was meeting the standard he had set for himself and the winery.

Another well-established winery had a “more efficient solution to the problem” of time management and social media engagement. He found winery employees who had personal preferences for specific social media platforms, and would allow each of them to independently post on behalf of the winery whenever they liked. So winery brand engagement on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram were all handled in ad hoc fashion by different employees on their own schedules. One audience member jokingly queried if the same winery made its Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs the same way ie. by employee preference.

Of the 5 wineries, only one engaged in promoted posts to boost follower engagement, and only on a sporadic basis.

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Communication is key!

So this begs the question – why do many wineries put so much thought, effort, resources and high expectations into winemaking, but set such low expectations for marketing, including social marketing? Why should brand owners not set the same standards for how they communicate with their brand audience as they do with making the wines they pour for their winery guests and sell online?

Customers expect and deserve relevance (content and context) regardless of the marketing channel — tasting room, web, email, social, direct mail, other. If we set low expectations for ourselves, and our brand followers, we can only expect underperforming results from our content marketing outreach — emails that don’t convert, web traffic and sales that fall short, and social engagement that fails to engage, get attention, and bring in new brand advocates and customers.

The message here, as always, is the same. Brand owners and their employees need to think like customersthemselves. How do we feel when consumer products manufacturers or service providers set low expectations for us? We generally move on to find other vendors who value our relationship and “show their love” across all marketing communication channels.

My passion is helping wineries take every step towards anauthentic connection with consumers. With the number of wineries, brands and consumer purchasing choices only continuing to grow, expectations will grow as well.

Set Your Standards High!