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A Wine Retailer’s Perspective on Social Media: why bother?

Why bother indeed.why bother

A wine retailer is at his best, “talking to customers about my passion – wine – not staring at a computer screen !@#$” 😉

An understandable, if not entirely correct, complaint about doing business on the internet.

There are many good reasons, not the least of which is you can share your passion about wine with thousands of potential customers – not just the one in front of you.

However this post is all about the money, not the passion and not the social media per se

Let’s look at why you could be interested in wine social media, from a business objective perspective, not because it’s the latest marketing buzz word.

Here’s a table I’ve compiled from my own general internet marketing knowledge combined with various social media experts (not the least of which is the Silicon Valley based Altimeter Group).

Table: Social Media Objectives (click table to enlarge)

Social Media Objectives Table - a Wine Retailer's Perspective

Look at the Objective column. Choose the particular issue you face and then check out what I recommend in terms of

  • social media
  • how to measure success
  • if there is an affordable way to do this
  • a prompter of whether this is a problem you face
  • some other traditional media choices.

Let’s go through some objectives or problems you may face.

Does Wine Library TV have an awareness problem – hell no!

Does a local retailer on a side street in the suburbs have this issue – probably.

So it’s a valid business objective to increase the awareness of potential customers within 20 miles of your store by advertising on a local wine blog for example.

Does your local competitor drive a Mercedes while you drive an old Toyota?

Could be he’s doing something right on the internet. Do a Google search for his store name. Choose each of the left hand side menu items to see if he comes up. It could be he’s all over the web – and you’re not.

Your objective is to improve your position in the market when your customer are gathering information pre-purchase. Start your own blog, comment on the wine-searcher facebook page or perhaps create your own video tastings.

Those intense customers who have strong opinions – they’re a god send

Would you refuse to talk to customers if they walked into your store? Just watching and reading blogs or forums isn’t enough either – you have an engagement issue.

Take those discussions you have with your best customers face to face, to thousands more potential customers on your blog, others’ blogs and wine forums.

Lots of traffic, no conversion?

Your objective is to increase your conversion. Time to look at where you are spending your time – perhaps an industry blog is not the best place – a consumer blog may be better. (In fact there is a good chance that it’s not related to social media but rather your website eCommerce process.)

No one likes me?

That is you have few repeat customers. Check it out – start to monitor what people are saying about you online.

Easily done with Google Alerts or Social Mention Alerts. You don’t really need the software (especially when they charge you corporate prices when you’re only a small business). I’m currently reviewing and testing SM2 and Row Feeder – both freemium accounts (I’ll recommend these if I think they’re worthwhile in a future post).

All my customers go where the price is lowest, there’s no loyalty any more

According to wine research only some customers do, some of the time. Many prefer the advice you give and your range of premium wines. So start to include that advice to your email list rather than just a tasting note and a special promo.

It’s a very engaged market

As Carol from PostRank said in the comments of one of my earlier posts,

we do see big volatility in the overall site rankings week to week in a number of highly engaging topic areas – wine being one of them. We chalk this up to the publishers and their audience members being extremely interested and very active – an awesome thing.

This ain’t the soap industry! There is a very high level of consumer involvement in wine so it’s not hard to engage in this sophisticated and passionate community.

So what’s your objective? Please comment below.

Photo courtesy of Why Bother


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