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9 Pragmatic Recommendations for a Wine Facebook Page

Having just completed a review of selected wine Facebook Pages, I’ve been mulling over just how serious a small wine retailer should get with it’s Facebook Page. There is only so much marketing time and budget – darn it!

Here is how I’ve come up with my recommendations. First let’s review how important a Facebook Page is for wine retailers.

Fish where the fish are

It’s not for me as a marketer to be judgmental about where people spend their internet time. I have only one objective and that is to boost sales at my store (or client’s stores actually).

If potential customers are spending most of their internet time on Facebook, and they probably are, then we need to ensure that we interact with them in ways they want to. And given that their recommendations mean a lot to their friends and family, and are shared via the News Feed tab, then this can have a powerful multiplier effect.
Fishing at Blenheim

I have little doubt that a Facebook Fan page has a significant part in a wine retailer’s overall internet marketing strategy. The issue I have for retailers, and myself, is how much of your limited time and budget to spend on each.

The 80/20 Rule and Facebook

I’m a big fan of the 80/20 Rule also known as the Pareto Principle or “the vital few and trivial many“. In general it means a few people/products/customers/stock/tasks etc are vital and many are trivial. For example about 80% of your volume will probably come from about 20% of your products.

I, and many other professional marketers, also use it for marketing effort. The idea is that you should maximise your effort by using a marketing activity just enough to get 80% of the benefit. That can often mean that you don’t do something perfectly. Just enough could mean only doing 20% of “perfect”.Pareto principle flickr

It’s also a pragmatic approach. As no matter how big or small you are you never seem to have enough time to get all the things funded or completed that you’d like.

One way to be more efficient in your use of scare marketing time

I am strong proponent of writing content on your blog and then reusing that in other internet marketing tools: the eCommerce product page, twitter, email, review websites, comparison shopping sites and a comment plus link in wine forums.

It’s the informative conversation (what I’d call a “respectful sales pitch”) you have with a customer that we want to replicatefrom one to one in-store, to one to many on the internet.

I’d also extend that to Facebook

In my previous post I rated a bunch of wine Facebook Pages based off a standard developed by the Altimeter Group. This Group mainly consults to large resource-rich corporates and tech companies. If they need to find a million bucks to set up a social media team or hire an agency these companies just do it. Not so simple for a smaller company.

Here’s what I said while reviewing Pages for unique content based off the their methodology.

Rating pages was made tricky because of the inclusion of links back to the original content on the blog, store or website. Nothing wrong with that in itself except it is arguable whether the Facebook page is being kept up to date, or has just become a content distribution mechanism with little engagement. I guess reasonable people could have reasonable disagreements over this.

I actually disagree with Altimeter on making original Facebook posts such a prominent component of their rating system. Indeed, later on in that post I de-weighted it significantly when customizing it for a wine retailer.

Write your unique content once

Then republish it where your customers hang out. Many times. Your blog, store, twitter, facebook, MS Outlook…and Facebook.

Altimeter consultants will mark you down – but I’ll understand 😉

The content may be spread automatically but the commenting is still individualized

When you send out an email newsletter and get a response form a customer you (hopefully) reply. Likewise for any comments on your blog or messages addressed to you on twitter.

And comments on Facebook. The good news – it shouldn’t take too much time.

A reasonable approach

It seems to me that almost all Facebook discussions are not in-depth – but quick and fleeting. A “quick comment in the hallway” (facebook update) not “an hour long in-depth meeting in an office” (blog post and comments).

So I wouldn’t spend much time on Facebook Updates.

“Nice shoes!”nice shoes Positano

…is what I’ve sometimes said to female colleagues as I pass them in the hallway. Sure I meant it, but really I was just being friendly and polite (okay okay, maybe I was just checking out their legs 🙄 ).

It seems like that same brief engagement works fine on Facebook as well.

So I’d make short personal comments about a Fan’s choice in wine, or respond quickly to their question.

Perhaps even a regular Wall Update with simple questions like, “what’s your favorite Pinot?”, or “Burgundy vs Oregon Pinot Noir, what do you prefer??”

Actually the phrase “nice but shallow” springs to mind – is that being unkind? I don’t mean it in a negative way, perhaps “nice but efficient” is better.

Right – men, stop looking at that woman’s legs. Ladies, stop looking at that woman’s shoes. Let’s sum this up.

My pragmatic recommendations for a Wine Retailer’s Facebook Page

The Tabs

1. Store – have an integrated Facebook store

I’m researching this topic for a later post. If you have any Facebook eCommerce suggestions please post them on my new business Facebook Page wall or discussion topic.
EDIT: see 2 Facebook eCommerce Recommendations, and 15 Others for the results of my research

2. Blog – a tab with republished content from your blog

Either using Import Feed in the Notes tab or a free RSS app from someone like Involver.

3. Info and Wall – filled in the Basics

By Basics I mean you’ve uploaded your logo, and filled out the Detailed Info section of the Info tab. Include your name, a little bit about you, any staff members who comment on the page, store website, contact details (telephone) and physical address. I think you should also include community guidelines a bit like Chevron does.

4. Sign Up and/or Like

Have a sign up form or links to an email newsletter. I use MailChimp – here’s how they do it. Your own email marketing provider will have their own way.

Have a prominent prompt to become a fan or “Like” your Page. The aim being to get an update on all the friends news feeds as well as the Fan’s own. This may be a tab all of it’s own.

5. Landing Page

St Supery Winery Facebook Landing Page

St Supery Winery Facebook Landing Page (thanks to Rick Bakas)

When non Fans arrive at your page they can be directed to a Landing Page with a simple custom Facebook page. If you have a friendly web designer then perhaps ask them to put one together. If you’re happy with html then do it yourself. Google can see a Facebook business Page (though not a personal Page), so make sure you follow good SEO practice.

You’ll also have a Discussion tab which I’d keep. And photo and video tabs which I personally would delete to free up tab space. If you don’t then your Store could get hidden behind the >> tab.

The Practices

6. Every day check for Fan comments on the Wall or in the Discussion Board.

And make a quick friendly comment back, it should only take a sec’. That’s the engagement part of social media, it doesn’t take much time, and is strongly appreciated by the Fans (who are, after all, your fans – however mild that feeling might be).

7. Always give your name

Sign it off formally or informally e.g Bruce McGechan – Wine Store Founder, or Bruce@WineStore. On your Info tab (or create a new Staff tab) ensure that every staff member who comments on the Page is introduced. Yes a little privacy has died, for your staff, while they represent you.

8. Have a regular simple question

I’d pull together a weekly calendar.

For example on Thursday ask what about favorite varietals e.g. what’s your favorite Pinot Noir?. On Friday update the wall with a simple “What are you drinking?”. On Saturday, “Anyone been to [trade customer’s] restaurant? If so what did they drink?”. In theory you would do this every day. In practice it is going to depend on how many engaged Fans you have.

(BTW check out #winewednesday on twitter).

If you do have a regular group of Fans who comment then try the discussion board. You could even have staff discussions on the board about favorite wines – nothing wrong with a bit of disagreement!

9. Promo messages

Not explicit unless it really-honestly-truthfully is a good deal – this is social media not a newspaper ad. You’ll lose your customer’s interest if you go all promo on them.

So a tasting note with a price for example – if there is only a case then point that out. If you have in-store tastings then do a wall update on this as well. If you’d tell your wine friends in the real world then it passes the test. If it’s just sales hype then it doesn’t.

The rule of thumb is less than 20% of your updates in social media should be promotional.


In a perfect world we’d follow the standards proposed by the Altimeter Group. But the world ain’t perfect and we face the real issue of diminishing returns for any particular marketing task.

So I’ve given you the 9 recommendations for how I’d do it for a small business. What are your thoughts or recommendations?

Do you think these recommendations will give 80% of benefits with only 20% of the work (less or more)? And do you have any more tips yourself?

Photos courtesy of: Pareto principle, Fishing at Blenhiem, nice shoes Positano.


  1. […] Recommendations, and 15 OthersSeptember 27, 2010in Facebook and WineIn my last post I gave 9 Pragmatic Recommendations for a Wine Facebook Page – the first of which was to have an integrated store. In this post I review Facebook store […]

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