Social Media Strategies for Tasting Rooms

By: Kathy Kelley

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We have posted about the information gathered about our survey participants’ use of social media and what networks they feel are mandatory for tasting rooms to implement: http://bit.ly/1RQNVJx.  With one more survey for us to conduct, we will be asking survey participants to answer additional questions about their social media use and what would encourage them to connect with tasting rooms.  As with our other survey data, we will be sharing the outcomes in future postings.

Many of you use social media to connect with consumers, but may want to explore other networks.  Others may not be familiar with the tools and unsure what to post, how often, and where to find content.  In this post, I have described some of the more common networks and a couple that are still “new.”  In addition, I have included data that can help readers decide what network(s) to use based on “who” they want to reach and how to craft a post so that it will get noticed.

Social media usage

The number of social media users is growing, consumers are using social networks to search for goods and services, and businesses are increasing their social media budgets in hopes of better reaching their audience.  A quote by Erik Qualman, “The Tony Robbins of Tech,” may say it best: “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it” (www.equalman.com).

According to We Are Social’s Digital in 2016 report (http://bit.ly/23sKCwJ), “internet penetration” for the U.S. is 88.7%, with consumers between age 16 to 64 spending an average of 6.2 hours a day accessing the internet: 4.3 hours a day using a laptop/desktop computer and an additional 1.9 hours a day using a mobile device.

Sixty-five percent of U.S. adults use social media (http://pewrsr.ch/1Zgn7F7), and they spend an average of 2.7 hours a day on the networks (http://bit.ly/23sKCwJ).

While some networks are ideal for sharing images and more detailed/longer messages/descriptions (e.g. Facebook), others serve the purpose of presenting to audiences “live” (Periscope) and sharing messages that expire within 24 hours of being viewed (Snapchat).  The following table provides a quick overview of the number of active users for select social media networks and type of content that can be shared using each.

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Which social media network(s) might you choose and why?

Who are you trying to reach?

While demographics are not the only pieces of information you should use when selecting network(s), it is helpful to know which tool you could use to reach Millennials, Baby Boomers, women, etc.

According to the Silicon Valley Bank State of the Wine Industry report (http://bit.ly/1Tr2FyR), Baby Boomer (born between 1946 and 1964; http://pewrsr.ch/1DFgGD5) wine consumption market share declined slightly in 2015 compared to 2014; however, a greater percentage of this group purchases wine priced $15 and higher.  Yes, it is predicted that Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996; http://pewrsr.ch/1DFgGD5) will be the largest wine consuming segment in 2026, but Baby Boomers are quite important and Gen X wine consumers (born between 1965 and 1980) will be the largest wine consuming segment in 2021 (McMillan, 2016).

Women consume 59% of wine, by volume (http://bit.ly/YnVRJM), so if you are hoping to connect with them via social media you may want to consider a tool such as Pinterest as 70% of the users are female.  The following figure highlights age range and gender of those who use each of the social networks.

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While these data provide a bit of information regarding consumers in general, I would strongly suggest that you learn the following from your customers and tasting room visitors:

  • What social media networks do you actively use?
  • Do you currently follow/like us on social media? If so, which networks?
  • How would you prefer to learn about activities, events, and new products we offer? Social media, email, etc.?

Facebook and Twitter

You may be more familiar with Facebook, due to its sizable membership and that the network has been available to the public since 2006.  But, are you using the best “type” of post so that your message appears on your followers’ newsfeeds?   Facebook employs an algorithm that decides what users see on their newsfeed “in what [Facebook] believes to be the precise order of how likely you [users] are to find each post worthwhile” (http://slate.me/1MOCM4q), and only Facebook really knows how the algorithm works, but it is hypothesized that the “structure” of the post is one dominant component.

For a number of years, including an image in a Facebook post were considered the “strongest” and resulted in a greater number of Facebook shares than posts with links to external content, and lastly by text only posts (http://bit.ly/1iNpn2o).

Images also influence Twitter users.  Adding a photo URL “can boost retweets by an impressive 35%.” As with any of the suggestions/guidelines provided in this post, it will be necessary for you to evaluate response to your own posts.

Should you use Facebook or Twitter or both?

One study suggests both (http://on.mash.to/1SHZV12):

  • Consumers tend to engage and interact more on Twitter
  • Use Facebook to drive traffic to your website

Pinterest

With so many consumers using Facebook, and Twitter allowing users to post short and timely messages, why should you consider Pinterest?  “Pinterest traffic converted to a sale 22% more than Facebook” (http://bit.ly/1P3r9YS).  Average order values were calculated for each of the three sites, based on a “user following through on the purchase of a product seen on social media,” with Pinterest having an average order value of $179.36 compared to $80.22 for Facebook and $68.78 for Twitter (http://bit.ly/1Fe5tqg).

Pinterest is a perfect network for businesses where visuals are essential: food and drink, DIY and crafts, home décor, and women’s fashion (http://bit.ly/1Fe5tqg).  Wine, wineries, tasting rooms, and crafts made with wine bottles/corks can fit into two or more of these categories. If you have a venue that you rent for weddings, receptions, or photo shoots – what better way to advertise your space and showcase its beauty than with pictures? Hence, Pinterest might be a perfect avenue to showcase your space.

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I use Pinterest, as I do most other social networks I actively use, to learn about consumer and product trends.  For example, I find infographics, tables, and figures that illustrate how wine consumption is changing and what new products, packaging, etc. are introduced to the market.  Winery tasting rooms could search Pinterest, and other networks, to learn about new gift items to sell, get inspiration for tasting rooms, find recipes (that they can repin on their own Pinterest page) that use wine as an ingredient, and pairing suggestions.

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When posting images that you own to Pinterest, consider the following when developing pin descriptions:

  • You have 500 characters available to describe your pin. Include a description that is at least 300 characters long.  According to one study, longer descriptions were repined more than shorter ones (http://bit.ly/1zEqrum)
  • Include a link to the site where the image originated from or to the web page where followers can learn more about the image. For example, if you are promoting a new product or an event that you will be holding at the tasting room, include the URL where viewers can learn more or register in the “source” box associated with your pin
  • Include a price, when appropriate, in your pin description. Descriptions with a price received an average of 1.5 “likes,” while those without a price were “liked” an average of 1.1 times (http://bit.ly/1Fe5tqg)

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Instagram

Why is it important to know about Instagram?  “A recent study by Forrester Research found that Instagram users were 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users” (http://bit.ly/1ntC93B).

Last year, Abigail Miller, former graduate student, wrote a blog post about her experience using Instagram and some information about the network.  The following is the link to the original post: http://bit.ly/1otNqKq. By accessing her post, you’ll learn about her experience with developing a hashtag (#lifedistilled) and encouraging followers and tasting room visitors to use it in their Instagram posts.

Perhaps you have questions about how many hashtags are appropriate.  The following provides some guidance:

  • Do use hashtags – and make sure that you don’t use just generic ones (e.g. the #lifedistilled example above)
  • Opinions vary about number of hashtags to use:

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How might you come up with these five or 11 hashtags?  A website, like Hashtagify.com, can help you find hashtags related to wine.   I entered the term “winery” into the search field and a list of 10 related hashtags was created.

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Check that your hashtag is appropriate.  Doing so can help prevent your business from being associated with anything negative.  To do this consider:

  • Searching on Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites for the hashtag and to learn the messages it is associated with
  • Use a tool like hashtagdictionary.com to learn possible meanings

For multi-word hashtags, capitalizing each word so that it is easier for viewers to read: #LoveToDrinkChardonnay vs. #lovetodrinkchardonnay.  The capital letters help the brain distinguish between words.  For a one-word hashtag, #wine for example, it is not necessary to capitalize it (http://bit.ly/1xIw9dU; http://bit.ly/1Ue9Hrl).

As with the other data presented in this post, you will need to experiment with the number of hashtags you use, as well as the hashtag(s) followers respond to, repost, and like.   It is also necessary to consider the “look” of the images you post to get the most likes possible.

So, what components of an Instagram image gets the most likes?

According to research conducted by Dan Zarrella:

  • Photos with faces
  • “Busier photos”
  • Cool colors
  • Brighter photos
  • Desaturated photos
  • No filter

Consult the following link to learn more about what to consider as your taking and posting pictures on Instagram:   http://danzarrella.com/infographic-the-science-of-instagram.html.  I included a post from Denise Gardner’s Instagram account that shows some of these components.

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Want to know what your top nine Instagram posts were in 2015 based on number of likes?  Simply go to www.2015bestnine.com and enter an Instagram name in the search box. I included a screen shot of Wine Enthusiast’s top nine Instagram posts, below.

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YouTube

According to one study, “YouTube is now bigger than any individual US cable network when it comes to attracting 18 to 49 year olds” (http://bit.ly/1JrDu6P).  Based on data from 2013 (http://bit.ly/1QJjccp):

  • 21.7% of U.S. internet users “checked” YouTube every day
  • 27.5% “few times per week”
  • 10% “once per week”
  • 4% “once a month”
  • 14.5% “few times per month”
  • 13.7% “rarely”
  • 8.5% “never”

Some of the strategies that successful brands have used to connect with YouTube audiences, include (http://bit.ly/1R4fXxF):

  • Thanking fans who view videos and post comments
  • Using viewer created content in their videos
  • Encouraging viewers to subscribe to their channel by mentioning it in the video

Other suggestions, include (http://bit.ly/1uRM1tg):

  • Being authentic
  • Collaborating with established YouTube creators
  • Having a consistent format, schedule, elements (e.g. introductions), and “clear and confident perspective that’s apparent in every video, no matter how different each video is”

Periscope

A couple of months ago, Jeff Hyde and I used Periscope to broadcast a short question and answer session about driving traffic to tasting rooms.  You can learn more about our experience, do’s and don’ts, and our suggestions for planning your broadcast by clicking on this link: http://bit.ly/1TssWy0.  As a reminder, the intent of the tool is to “let people discover the world through someone else’s eyes” (http://bit.ly/1CcAkkl) by allowing them to witness live events and experiences – anywhere in the world.

Snapchat

You may be wondering what type of content is posted on Snapchat.  Users post images and videos that can be:

  • a story (“like public tweets…[Snapchat] friends can see” and viewable an unlimited number of times for 24 hours) or
  • a snap (“like private messages…meant to be watched once…[users] can replay snaps once within 24 hours)

In addition, users can chat and even video chat using the Snapchat app (http://bit.ly/1x8Koha).

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How did the network become so popular? Snapchat does the opposite of what so many other social networks do.  Instead of storing and documenting everything, Snapchat is “predicated on our reality: moments are temporary and that’s exactly the feeling and behavior that Snapchat mapped to” (http://bit.ly/215rM01).

The use of this tool by winery tasting rooms is still quite small. Gary Vaynerchuk, of Winelibrary.TV, provided a response to the question, “Could [Snapchat] be used for a winery?”  Gary relied that, “Yes it could, but the problem is that Snapchat is one to one, not one to many.  You can not find usernames unless someone gives it to you as to whether Snapchat could be used for a winery” (http://bit.ly/1QrtZYs).

For general business purposes, users can measure the number of followers who “opened and watched the snap, and how many took a screenshot of it.” Another way to use Snapchat is to share and track coupon codes, which will need to be used within 24 hours of opening (http://bit.ly/1R2ackX).

As Snapchat evolves and more examples are shared online, we will provide updates as to how you might incorporate it into your social media strategy.

When to post, how often, when you should use a #hashtag, and where to find content

Perhaps one of your concerns is that you might not be positing during an optimal time of the day or that you are not posting enough.  You may also wonder about using hashtags and whether you should include them in your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. posts.  The table below provides some guidance based on a number of different sources.

A word of caution, though.  If your followers are following several other businesses/friends/family and they receive a huge volume of updates during these times, they could become overwhelmed and your post might be missed.  Additionally, if your follows are not using the social network at the times stated in the table, and they do not check their news feeds for several hours, they might also miss your post.  Use the suggested posting times as a guideline and document when followers like, repost, and comment on what you post.  Then adjust your posting strategy.

The suggested number of posts is also something that you will have to experiment with.  You may not have the ability to posts as frequent as what is suggested and that might be just fine with your followers.  The key will be posts useful and relevant information on a frequent basis.

With the increased use of hashtags, as discussed in the Instagram section, it is advantageous to know when and how many hashtags to include in a post.  While including hashtags in Instagram and Twitter posts is recommended, their use in other social networks is questionable and/or discouraged.

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What should/could you post?

The options are limitless:

  • Your achievements, business milestones, anniversaries, and events
  • New wines, products, and services (e.g. event space, wedding venue)
  • Links to other businesses – one way to develop partnerships and cross promote
  • How-to videos
  • Co-sponsored efforts with complement businesses

But, don’t forget to consider posting customer testimonials, comments, reviews, etc., can be helpful (http://bit.ly/1ddZo4j).  Ask customers to provide this information because:

  • People believe customer stories
  • Happy customers love to share their stories
  • Customer stories are memorable
  • Customer stories can differentiate you from your competitors
  • Customer stories can be repurposed and re-used

What if you have gone through your list of possible posts and have shared a fair amount of customer testimonials – and you have run out of ideas of what to post?  Use a tool like Google Alerts to receive notifications about items that you can repost, retweet, etc.   I use this tool to stay current and learn about consumer and product trends. Each morning I receive a series of emails, one for each keyword/phrase I choose, that contain new stories, event accouncements, etc. These alerts save me a lot of time that I would otherwise have to spend conducting multiple web searches.

Google Alerts allows me to customize what I receive in the emails:

  • Though I have selected to receive the information “once a day,” other options include “as-it-happens” and “at most once a week”
  • For sources of information that Google Alerts sends me, I’ve selected “automatic,” so that I get the widest variety of inforamtion, but I could get information just from news sources or blogs or the content could include just books or discussions

Below, you can see my Google Alerts settings, several of the keywords/phrases I use for my alerts, and a screen shot of one of the emails I received that lists a few of the news items that were recently published on “wine marketing.”

Another alert system you can use isTalkwalker Alerts (talkwalker.com/alerts).  You may also find Social Mention (socialmention.com), which provides real-time search results, to also be useful.

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If you are considering adding to your list of social networks, or you have yet to venture into the world of social media, begin by creating an account and following/observing brands and businesses you admire to learn about how they use the tools, if their followers repost/comment/etc. the content that post.

In my next post, I’ll describe some of the tools you can use to analyze response to what you post/tweet/pin/etc.

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