Every now and then I have to take a step back from the busy world of graduate school. My schedule is usually filled with projects, papers, and research but it’s nice to let it all go and enjoy the various events offered in the area. As a PR graduate student, I tend to put on my PR hat no matter the situation. It’s no surprise I’ve worn my hat consistently since launching this blog.
Social media is a huge part of PR as companies are able to communicate key messages to their customers in a new way. Whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ or any other social networking site companies must acknowledge the needs and wants of customers. Social media offers an easy way of listening to such desires. The needs and wants are best discovered by listening to the groundswell, “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.” (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Because of social media, customers are able to discuss their experiences with others which can ultimately influence the success or failure of a product. Customers are now more apt to listen to fellow users as opposed to the tradition of listening to the company itself.
With all of this, I believe wine companies, vineyards, and event planners should take the groundswell into consideration. More specifically, listening to the changing needs and wants of today’s young professionals may open the door to more wine drinkers. Most cities have various wine-related events throughout the year; however, this information isn’t always readily available or targeted toward young professionals. I say this as the result of several conversations with friends who are interested in such events but feel lost when looking for fun weekend activities. They all agree wine tastings or networking events would be a perfect way to unwind after a busy week.
This is where the use of social media comes into play. The Winemakers Federation of Australia created social media guidelines for wine companies; however, the guidelines do not include specific tactics which are key components when using any social network. What actions are the companies taking in relation to social media?
Ways Wine Companies SHOULD Use Social Media to Reach YoungPros
- Build personal relationships on Facebook.
At this point everyone is familiar with Facebook. New updates and features allow companies to customize their page to reflect their brand. Wine companies should take advantage of the various Facebook capabilities in order to represent their unique characteristics. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Facebook page is a nice example of a wine company effectively using the social network. Their brand is clearly represented, they interact with visitors to the page, and they vary the content. Wine companies should make use of the event feature on Facebook to promote upcoming events. A savvy company would link their Facebook and Twitter accounts to double their exposure.
- YoungPros are tweeting. You should be tweeting.
Twitter is big. Although it’s still second to Facebook, it’s a quick and easy way to communicate a message to a mass audience. Wine companies should use Twitter to share news, wine tips, and information about upcoming events. Writeforwine shares a list of the benefits of Twitter for wine companies. A major benefit is connecting with the younger demographic of future wine enthusiasts. Bingo! Wine companies should utilize hashtags and tweet ups as a part of wine-related events to connect all ends via Twitter. YoungPros will enjoy sharing their experiences and the possibility of acquiring new followers from the event at the same time. Don’t we all want more followers?
Sidenote: @kenwoodvineyard is an example of a wine company doing “it” well.
- Photos are top dog. Use Instagram.
Pavone Food highlights the opportunities for food and beverage companies to capitalize on the photo capabilities of Instagram. Wine companies can post pictures of their product and other related items. As Pavone Food mentions, varying the content is crucial so followers don’t feel overwhelmed as if a constant barrage of marketing is filling their newsfeed. Wine companies can jump on the hashtag movement by encouraging followers to use predetermined hashtags in their photo captions. Another way to use hashtags? Contests. Have followers share photos using specific hashtag and the best photo wins.
Sidenote: As much as I love Instagram, wine companies must be cautious with this tip as Instagram is not for all. Just like any other social network it takes time. Instagram may not work for all companies so a well-thought out plan is key.
There are several other social networks besides Facebook, Twitter and instagram. I chose to focus on these three social networks because YoungPros tend to utilize them more. It’s important for wine companies to access the new generation of wine drinkers who are interested in experiencing the world of wine. YoungPros are ready to take the world by storm, one glass of wine at a time.