One of the many challenges of running a winery is marketing. The first step to a solid marketing plan is creating your elevator speech, a term that you no doubt have heard a million times. But, what is it? Well, it really boils down to this: what makes you unique? Are you the first winery that is run by the fifth generation, while canning your wines from estate-grown fruit, urban, biodynamically-curious, wildlife-focused, charity oriented, and exclusively utilizing organic office supplies in your region? The world? No? Not to worry, as there is surely that “one thing” that makes you unique. Does the detail behind that “one thing” that makes you unique matter? Yes, but not as much as the fact that you have that “one thing”, which should be the core of your brand marketing strategy. Now that you have identified that “one thing”, you need to get out there and sell it.
A fact of the modern marketing landscape is that this is the era of social media. It is widely accepted that the social media industry changed the game for all businesses years ago, and if you haven’t caught on to that then it’s time to stop relaxing on the weekends, start getting up early, staying up later, and getting out there to learn about and utilize social media platforms. Does it matter which ones? Yes, but not that much, it’s more important that you get started telling your story. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, believe it or not, it can be. Start a Twitter account, create a few tweets and use a few hashtags; take a few photos for Instagram; make a couple of posts for Facebook. Done. Or not.
Social media is a long game – you have to reshape your winery marketing around a new core of social marketing. It used to be that you would focus on getting people to think of your product when they were in wine country, shopping for wine online, or in a liquor store. Now your marketing job is to connect with your customer on a meaningful, personal level, AND to get them to think of you at purchasing opportunities. This change has been written about ad nauseam, and should you want to read about it, my favorite example is “The Thank You Economy”. The point is simple though- your customer has so much personal information that they put out there for the world to see via social media platforms, your job is to start using it.
You might be sitting there asking yourself what this has to do with content. So far you know that you need to use social media and connect with your customers in a meaningful way, but what about your content? Your content is the other side of the customer connection coin. Everything that you post on the social media channel of your choosing needs to do at least two of the following three things:
1. Reinforce your message about what makes you unique
2. Provide opportunities that appeal to your customer
3. Provide a connection with your customer, apart from your product
Examples are numerous. If you are a passionate fly fisher, then use brand social media to integrate that personal detail into your unique message and help customers connect with you as part of the brand. Love dogs? So do many of your social connections and (take it from us) photos of your winery dog go a long way to establishing a connection with your customers. If you are traveling somewhere for work, keep your social channels up-to-date and connections will pop out of the wood work. Why? Your customers are people and want to show you what they know. You are the expert on your brand – but if you engage them on what they are experts about, it will amaze you how much they have to say, and how much they want to engage with you and your brand.
Skeptics out there will say that there is no demonstrable ROI on this sort of stuff. That is absolute nonsense. With the advent of Google Analytics, Buffer, Hootsuite, TWRW Engine, and dozens more that I won’t list here, tracking the activities of clients and associating them with social media profiles is an easily achievable goal. Does this take a large investment in time, monitoring services, CRM’s and the like – yes. But it’s worth it.