Advent of Wine And Social Media
Someone can probably run a very interesting study as to why people blog. I guess that we [bloggers] have something to say to the world, and the Internet gave us an ultimate platform to deliver the message – I’m not sure if this explains the phenomena of mass social media, but I will leave that research to the professionals, and while they are working on the answer, I will keep blogging.
Another interesting question for me is how do we [bloggers] come up with the subjects for the blog. I’m sure that some people have a plan. My method, though, should be called an “opportunistic blogging” – I rarely know in advance what my next blog post will be all about, so I’m blogging as the life takes place. Consequently, the subject I want to discuss here was not planned in advance at all – the idea for this blog post was born after reading the post by Joe Roberts, a.k.a. @1WineDude, which was called “This Is Me Totally NOT Lightening Up On Wine And Social Media“. The best thing you can do is read the original post – but to give the main idea, the blog post is about wineries not investing enough into the social media, not engaging the consumers through the social media channels and not building up their respective brands.
This is definitely an interesting discussion. How much time and effort should wineries dedicate to the social media? I don’t have an answer to that question – just some thoughts. Twitter and Facebook are two major social media outlets for the task of reaching out. The question is – are you reaching out wine professionals or the consumers? If we are talking about the need for wineries to engage wine professionals in the restaurants and the stores, wine writers and sommeliers – yes, I fully agree with that, this is an important way to communicate with your immediate target audience. Trying to reach the consumers? How effective it will be, outside of delivering your message to the people who are already in your club or the mailing list? In the store which has hundreds and hundreds of bottles from all over the world, where appearance of the label is the first deciding factor for majority of the wine purchases, will your social media message help?
Actually, as I warned you, I don’t have the answers. For someone like myself, social network recommendations and discussions play an important role – this is where I learn about new wines and decide what I want to try. But what about the majority? I guess the full blown study needs to be engineered to assess how much of the social media engagement by the wineries will translate into the actual buying decisions. While we can only hope that someone will actually conduct such a study, I decided to compare some simple numbers for wine world versus general food products in terms of the number of followers on Facebook (FB) and Twitter (T).
Here are some numbers. First, for the brands: Beringer Vineyards – FB: 18K, T: 9K; Robert Mondavi Winery – FB: 20K, T: 5.8K; Francis Ford Coppola Winery – FB :15K, T: 4K; d’Arenberg Winery – FB: 6.5K, T: 3.6K. Now, for comparison: Barilla Pasta – FB: 48K, T: 14K; Breakstone’s (sour cream etc.) – FB: 50k; Pepperidge Farm -F: 22K, T: 9K. Food products do have an edge over wineries, but the gap is not very big.
For retail, my comparison will not be fair, but I still find it interesting. Wine world: BevMo! – FB: 28K, T: 2.4K; Wine Library – FB: 39K, T: 21K; WTSO.com – FB: 10K, T: 10K (very interesting exception with the number of Facebook and Twitter followers being practically the same). For comparison: Target – FB: 9.9M, T: 300K; Wal-Mart – FB: 13M, T: 150K; Amazon – FB: 3.1M, T: 229K. Okay, as I said, this will not be a fair comparison.
For publications: Wine Spectator – FB: 61K, T: 48K. For comparison, Glamour – FB: 680K, T: 160K; Wall Street Journal: FB: 461K, T: 1.55M.
When we are talking about publications, I can’t help it but to mention that there are thousands of the wine blogs – of the time of this writing, 659 blogs are registered with the web site called Vinography – and that is considering the fact that you have to request to be listed on the Vinography site. Interestingly enough but that leads back to Joe’s point about social media engagement from the wineries – there are only 72 winery blogs registered on Vinography site. Talking about wineries’ engagement, I want to mention a blog post by Steve Heimoff, an Editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, which was titled “Staying relevant: for wineries, it can be tricky” – while Steve’s point is not directed at the social media, I think that in today’s world, “staying relevant” includes great degree of social media connection and engagement for any business, wineries included.
I also want to give you a great example of the social media engagement – if you look at the picture, you can see @KingEstate printed right on the cork – this cork is from the bottle of a very good Pinot Gris from King Estate winery in Oregon which we had a week ago. If someone needs a proof that wineries are taking social media engagement seriously, I think we don’t need to look further.
Okay, enough is enough. It’s time to round up this post. I gave you a lot of numbers here – if someone knows how number of followers translates in to the actual sales, I would be really curious to know. That’s all, folks. Cheers!