Social Media, Again

A frequent (and therefore stale) debate among wine writers is the value of social media in promoting wines.  On the one side is the establishment, basically saying that social media is a distraction that will never amount to anything.  (Remember when Kodak said that digital was just a flash in the pan?)  On the other side is, well, everyone else who isn't threatened by this irreversible evolution.

In the most recently sparked round of this silly cry for help, the establishment is played by Steve Heimoff, a Wine Enthusiast writer of rather ordinary caliber.  And the other side is played by Joe Roberts, an equally ordinary, but forward looking writer Heimoff would probably refer to as "a blogger, not a real writer" (though not to his face).

Watching the virtual sparring in the comments sections of these websites is super fun - if you're a wine writer...and you know these characters...and you are bored out of your mind.  Otherwise, it's pretty rote. 

Since you've read this far, you must qualify as at least some of the above, so why cover it again?  Because, Joe's right: wineries are stuck in the past.  And why should consumers care?  Because engagement benefits consumers by enhancing the product consumption experience.  Sound fluffy?  This is no bullshit.

Let's recap on the main conclusions from last summer's article on SoMed:

  • 98% of the content generated on social media is complete crap
  • 1% is targeted advertising via tweets and news feeds available to companies on a shoestring budget - a way to get people sampling and talking about your product 
  • The other 1% is where the magic happens: companies actually dialoging with their customers
  • Social media monitoring tools like SocialOomph allow companies to filter through the 98% to see what corresponds to them - or their competition
  • Then, the very nature of the platforms let them engage customers directly
  • Done properly (which basically means not coming off as a pervert), engagement converts into repeat business, customer loyalty, viral exposure to their target market, increased brand equity, etc.
  • All of this is available at zero cash outlay and very little time spent.
So, will wine businesses not leveraging Twitter and Facebook soon be extinct? No.  But the real question is, and this is what Joe gets at in his piece today, why aren't more wineries leveraging social media?

Because, despite having heard this drum beat before, many wineries are part of the same establishment that seƱor Heimoff works so hard to remain a part of.