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The Wine Facebook Page Rankings – How a Small Winery took on a Colossus

This is part of a series on Wine and Facebook Pages. In this post we analyse who has the best Facebook Page.facebook home page

It is based on the Altimeter Group’s report on The 8 Success Criteria For Facebook Page Marketing.

This report looks at some major brands to see how they, “leverage social features to activate word of mouth, the hallmark of social networks“. Their report does not look at wine brands, but brands like Ford, Macy’s, Walmart and SAP.

So I’ve taken this methodology and applied it to selected Wine Facebook Pages.

Two provisos before we start

Firstly the methodology is Altimeter’s not my own – to see more about their approach, read the report, or my own shorter explanation Facebook Conquers the Universe … and a little bit of the wine world. That being said, the way I’ve scored Pages is based off my interpretation of Altimeter methods and I am not associated with Altimeter in any way.

Secondly I selected Wine Facebook Pages based off my previous posts on other topics and Facebook Search – to read more see my post Wine Searcher proves to be the Wine Facebook Fan Collosus.

The Criteria for Facebook Page Marketing

Altimeter calls this the Eight Success Criteria for Facebook Page Marketing.

Here’s the criteria for judging the effectiveness of a company’s Facebook Page:

  1. Set Community Expectations
  2. Provide Cohesive Branding
  3. Be Up To Date
  4. Live Authenticity
  5. Participate in Dialog
  6. Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions
  7. Foster Advocacy
  8. Solicit A Call To Action

Wine Facebook Page Rankings

Here are the results:

Wine Facebook Marketing Pages rankingFirst thing to notice – this is a Quality not a Quantity measure

Despite this, Wine-Searcher still tops the ratings with its 84,000 odd fans, though Robert Mondavi Winery with 4000 odd fans almost takes first place.

Head to Head results by sector

The other key battles:

  • Constellation (Robert Mondavi) beats E&J Gallo (Carlo Rossi)
  • Wine Library beats K&L Wines, wine.com, Bevmo, Vinfolio and mywinesdirect
  • Interestingly K&L Wines beats wine.comproving you don’t need to be big, just more engaged
  • a small store called Saint Louis Cellars Wine Store mixed it with the big guys, and almost won
  • and Wine-Searcher beats snooth.

Before we look at the individual results, here’s a pictorial overview of the average result:

Wine Facebook Pages average score spider chart

On average – not so good

This spider diagram shows how well various Facebook Fan Pages did – the bigger the area the better (5 is good 1 is not good). I’ve highlighted the average score – which is the black area in the middle (ignore the other colors).

On average most Pages did well with Branding and Being Up to Date. On the other hand most did very poorly at everything else.

Let’s get into the detail

Here are my working notes. The criteria and some notes are beneath the scores.

Let’s go through the criterion one by one. The first part is a short Altimeter explanation, the bullets help explain my scoring, then I make a brief commentary and sometimes a suggestion on how to do better.

Set Community Expectations

“Clearly Articulate Expectations to Reduce Confusion and Abuse.”

  • Purpose of Page?
  • Community Guidelines – on: wall, profile or custom tabs?
  • Feedback is consistent ie responds to all comments requiring a response?

No one did this very well and yet it is so easy to do.

Here’s how Chevron does it (one of the best practices in the Altimeter report):

This page is intended to provide information about Chevron. Listed below are a few guidelines we’ll follow to maintain a thoughtful and respectful environment.

We support the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and related Facebook policies, and we expect visitors to our page to do the same.

We encourage open, lively conversation with a few simple rules:
–We reserve the right to address factual errors.
–We will reply to comments when appropriate.
–If we disagree with other opinions, we will do so respectfully.
–You may not post anything that is spam or that is abusive, profane, or defamatory toward a person, entity, belief, or symbol.
–All posts must be in English.
–While we support lively, open discussion, we reserve the right to delete comments at our discretion.

We look forward to the conversation.

Provide Cohesive Branding

“Create a Holistic Experience that Matches the Brand.”

  • Logo?
  • Completed info/profile pages?
  • Custom tabs?
  • Branded landing page?

Easy to get points on this one.

To get higher points the Page needs a branded landing page like Carlo Rossi. This requires a bit of skill in the Facebook version of HTML called FBML, or you can now buy templates (at places like flashmint).

Be Up To Date

“Keep Interaction High with Fresh, Timely Content.”Up To Date Ghost Sign by joseph a

  • Analyzed for the number of posts over the 2 months, 13 July to 12 September (62 days)
  • 45+ posts = 4 points
  • 9+ posts = 3 pts
  • 5+ posts = 2 pts
  • 4 or less = 0
  • If 80% is informational, 20%> is promotional? then +1 pt bonus
  • RSS blog plugins? Eg “Social RSS” automated postings doesn’t count as being up to date

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. For example Wine Searcher has many posts that are unique to Facebook but have a link back to Wine Searcher. Whereas snooth has many links to snooth with little commentary on Facebook, but also to external websites with good commentary.

Live Authenticity

“Build Trust by Personalizing Interactions with a “Human Touch.” ”

  • First person (“I” not “we”)?
  • Conversational?
  • Gives a name or photo behind the company post?
  • Has a tab all about the company posters, moderaters, commenters?

So easy to do most of this, but few do it.

You could just sign off with your name, use “I” not we (I know I know, despite your page being a team effort), outline who you are in a box if not a tab, and/or list the admin people down the side. This is a big difference between normal media and Facebook (if not all social media). That is, this should be an authentic conversation between people, not a person and a nameless brand.

Participate in Dialog

“Connect with Customers by Fostering Two-Way Dialog.”two way sign

  • Initiates dialog?
  • Responds to most comments ?
  • Further discussions, answers questions?
  • Comments on fans photos?

Remember, direct conversations with consumers cascade to their network. Each time a fan comments on a brand’s Facebook page, that interaction is shared with their friends.

Tricky for snooth. I imagine they want the discussion to happen on their snooth forum and blogs – so where does Facebook fit in? Whereas Wine-Searcher seems more dedicated to Facebook discussions and their wall (I’m guessing when I do a review of wine forums that snooth will do much better than Wine Searcher).

=== Sidebar on Resources ===

If you have limited resources (don’t we all?) then it’s difficult to find the time to write posts, tweet, comment on other posts, moderate comments on your own forum and blog, monitor yelp and foursquare reviews, make sure your products are up to date for Google Product Search, Snooth and Wine Searcher, manage your Adwords and Adcenter campaigns, split test, send out emails to your list, write tasting notes and reviews for your own site and other sites…

How do you choose where to spend most of your time, money and effort? Now that deserves it’s own post series.

If it makes you feel any better the big guys like Ford and Walmart were also struggling.


Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions

“Be Efficient and Enable the Crowd’s Help.”

  • Actively encourages peer to peer discussion
  • Active Discussion board +2 pts
  • Active community anywhere on fb page
  • Has a Moderator?
  • Recognition – Showcases, highlights, encourages fans contributions

Few had active discussion boards. There were either no or few discussions with the exception being Wine Searcher. But despite their great facilitation of discussions there was little evidence of active in-topic moderation or showcasing Fans comments and contributions.

However everyone is in good company, as even Altimeter in its review of the larger brands like Ford said, “We found that brands failed miserably, achieving only 2.03, the lowest average of all our Success Criteria. Half of brands (15 out of 30) made no efforts to facilitate peer-to-peer interactions at all, scoring only a 1.00.”

They gave a best practice example of Daipers where the a moderator asks on behalf of a Fan “Kimberley” whether anyone had any suggestions for a poor sleeping 2 year old (actually I could contribute to that discussion but, er, getting off topic 🙄 ).

Foster Advocacy

“Foster Word of Mouth – the Holy Grail of Marketing.”carlo rossie wine join our posse prompt

  • Specific request to spread the word or share, entice fans to share/interact on their own walls
  • Requests to like, vote, sound off, share photos, contests, submissions
  • Bonus for apps and custom tabs that promote this

The most blatant is Carlo Rossi‘s “Join our Posse”, and the most sophisticated is Wine Searcher‘s “Tasting Club”.

One of the best social campaigns in 2010 is Old Spice with it’s 900,000 fans. As Altimeter put it,

Old Spice hits the jackpot by creating content that fans actually want to share with their friends. More recently, it created dozens of video responses to actual fans on Facebook and other social media properties.

Like this post (in the tab: Old Spice Guy),
Since using Old Spice Body Wash, I’ve begun to experience unusual transitions in my personal space-time continuum similar to those depicted in your commercials – is this typical?
Watch the video response, it’s pretty funny, and individualized.

Solicit A Call To Action

“Bring it Back to Business and Provide a Succinct Next Step.”

  • 1 pt – any call to action
  • 3 pts – Sign up, Facebook only coupon, etc
  • 5 pts – Store with Buy Now button

Show me the money. This is a blog for wine retailers, if we get any interest we want to see that become a sale. Now. Or at least soon, with some sort of pre purchase action – like an email sign up.

Which reminds me…

This blog is all about wine retailers, so let’s take a wine retailer’s perspective

Purchase is what we’re after, everything else is nice to have. So in my hard nosed commercial fashion I’ve weighted each criterion as follows:

  • Set Community Expectations 5%
  • Provide Cohesive Branding 5%
  • Be Up To Date 10%
  • Live Authenticity 10%
  • Participate in Dialog 10%
  • Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions 10%
  • Foster Advocacy 20%
  • Solicit A Call To Action 30%

Essentially the closer to purchase the higher it’s weighted with an actual Buy Now button being weighted the most of all.

Which is why Solicit A Call To Action is weighted at 30% and Foster Advocacy is 20%. If we can’t get the sale then a recommendation to lots of friends is almost as good.

And this results in the little store of 4000 fans outranking the Collosus of 84,000 fans. Just.

Wine Facebook Weighted Rating Score bar chart

So congrats! to Robert Mondavi‘s new estate (marketing) director, Carl Jaeger (I saw that appointment on the Mondavi Facebook Wall 🙂 ).

You too Martin and Adon from Wine Searcher – nice job (again).

Robert Mondavi Winery has a store which is directly connected to their eCommerce website. I’m not absolutely sure who runs the technology behind it but I’m guessing its either cruvee or ewinerysolutions.
Robert Mondavi Wine Facebook Store

Regardless there are various ways you can do this, from a simple Buy Now link to a fully featured Facebook eCommerce store like those enabled by Payvment.

Wine-Searcher has something almost equivalent with it’s Tasting Club which I’ll look into further. Many of the others have other good calls to action like prompts to sign up to newsletters or blogs.

Back to the stores

  • K&L Wines has a prominent SignUp! tab that prompts you to sign up to their K&L Custom Email Alerts
  • Wine.com has a 1cent shipping custom tab which is a nice call to action
  • And Vinfolio uses the Social RSS app to propt you to subscribe to their blog.

If you’re not going to put up an eCommerce store then these are good second best practices.

So what’s your thoughts?

Specifically about:
a) the methodology from Altimeter – do you agree with it or do you have better methods?
b) how I’ve rated the different Facebook Pages – have I got something wrong or is it mostly right?
c) my weighting of the Pages at the end – should I have weighted this differently?
d) my commentary – do you agree or disagree?

I encourage any constructive criticism, please comment below

Photo courtesy of Up To Date Ghost Sign and one-way oneway twoway two-way.
Disclosure: I do not have any commercial relationships with any of these companies.


  1. Great commentary

  2. Great job. I love seeing things like this. Keep up the great work.

  3. The Mondavi wine store is by Cruvee, I also have it on my facebook.com/twistedoak page. It’s easy to set up and draws on the database all wineries should be maintaining on Cruvee. Bummer that they have it buried like that though, and not one of the first six tabs!

    Interesting methodology. Be curious to see how my page would score. – Jeff Stai, Twisted Oak Winery

    • Hey Jeff, at first glance you’ve done very well. I’ve purposely been very open on the process so people can rate themselves. I’d do it, but, well, er, that research took me forever… 🙂

      But I’ll come back to it in a few weeks time to review depending on helpful comments like yours. Good point re being buried past tab 6, and thanks for the pointing out it is Cruvee. Do you deal with James or someone else?

      • I understand 😉 Yes, James helped me get it set up. I still feel it is rough around the edges – my biggest concern is to have some control over the order of display, and to exclude old vintages and sold out items. It may be that I’ll go back to FBML to do this (to get that control and to display non-wine items too), but it’s great for a winery that doesn’t want to deal with all that!

  4. Couple of big wine brands (40K+ fans) were missed here.

    • Thanks for your comment (and the other examples in the previous post).

      I actually limited the number I looked at in each wine sector. I wanted to put:
      – the top wine stores against each other (plus one that looked interesting)
      – the two big wine comparison shopping engines head to head, wine-searcher vs snooth
      – a couple of well known American wine brands for context – a E&J Gallo’s Carlo Rossi vs Constellation’s Robert Mondavi
      – and the two wine magazines.
      (selection methods are outlined in the previous post)

      So its “selected” wine facebook pages with the final aim of showing a wine retailer how he can build a good one himself.

      I’ll come back and review this post though thanks to all your helpful comments.

      • Bruce,
        Nice job on this… We are in the process of updating our Facebook page, so this is all helpful.
        Mary Rocca
        Rocca Family Vineyards

        • Thanks Mary. I’m in the process of writing a follow up which should be published Monday or Tuesday. It will be called “My pragmatic recommendation for a small business” or something like that. I just don’t think a small business can do all the things Altimeter demands so I’m applying the good ol’ 80/20 rule.

  5. Nice work. Have you ever checked out Noble Pig Vineyards Facebook page…boutique winery…4,000 fans…very interactive and selling their wine only direct. It’s been quite a success.

    • I have now 🙂
      “Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Not available in stores, only from the winery or our website.”

      They do many things well, I especially like the interaction, they could do a few things better though Dawn. Suggest you direct them to this page, if it’s not obvious then they’re welcome to send me an email and I’ll give them some quick pointers.


  1. […] for a Wine Facebook PageSeptember 20, 2010in Facebook and WineHaving 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 […]

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