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How to use Twitter to Market Wine

Why Twitter?

Put simply fish where the fish are. If your (potential) customers prefer to engage with your wine store on twitter then you need to be there. Here’s how Chris Brogan puts it,

“We used to worry about building “a place” for people to come and communicate and share with us. But that led to “place” being all over the web… We used to want people to come to our website, to our forum, to our blog. Now, even if they do go to those places, they also talk about you on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Twitter, and elsewhere. Conversation and community is disparate and distant…”.

And the wine twitter community is huge. Here’s how to market to them.

Twitter Marketing and Wine

In a Facebook post, Facebook Conquers the Universe … and a little bit of the wine world, I looked at Facebook Page Marketing. Many of those same principles apply to Twitter Marketing:

  • Be Up To Date
  • Live Authenticity
  • Participate in Dialog
  • Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions
  • Foster Advocacy
  • Solicit A Call To Action
  • Provide Cohesive Branding

twitter whale
Let’s go through them (to see the framework, originally used by Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang for facebook, please read this report).

The italics are direct quotes. The bullet points are the key measures I’ve distilled from the report.

Be Up To Date

Keep Interaction High with Fresh, Timely Content.
Is this page “alive”? Or a just a passing thought that the company has since forgotten.

  • Tweet regularity: 2+ per day vs 1 per month
  • Tweet at times people are most likely to read: definitely 4PM local time for a wine retailer but also worth testing 9AM, 1PM, 5PM and 6PM
  • Best if 90% is informational and 10% or less is promotional
  • Not good if they are all automated from eg a RSS blog plugins

Live Authenticity

Build Trust by Personalizing Interactions with a “Human Touch.”
Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not force people to reveal their real names. Remember we’re trying to build trust here so you need to remain authentic yourself – not hide nameless behind a brand.

  • First person
  • Conversational
  • Give a name behind the company tweet
  • A link to your website

Participate in Dialog

Connect with Customers by Fostering Two-Way Dialog.
You want to engage with fans to build up trust and spreading of information.

  • Initiates dialog (see What do I Tweet?! Below)
  • Responds to most mentions and helps people out
  • Further tweet discussions, answers questions
  • Comments on followers twitter photos

Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions

Be Efficient and Enable the Crowd’s Help.
Customers are already talking to each other, so help them do it on your part of Facebook and the social media world.

  • Actively encourages peer to peer discussion
  • Active twitter stream board
  • Q and A
  • Active followers
  • Recognition – RT interesting and relevant followers’ tweets

Foster Advocacy

Foster Word of Mouth – the Holy Grail of Marketing.
Your customers’ recommendations mean a lot to their friends and family, certainly a lot more than your own!

  • Specific request to spread the word or retweet
  • Requests to vote, sound off, share photos, contests, submissions
  • Try to keep tweets to 100 characters or less – RTs often need up to 40 characters for twitter names and a RT comment
  • Solicit A Call To Action

    Bring it Back to Business and Provide a Succinct Next Step.
    You’ve done all that hard work – now where’s the Buy Now button!?

    • Sign up to emails, twitter only discount coupon
    • Feature selected wines on your background page with a Buy Now short URL link (note hyperlinks will not link on backgrounds)

    Provide Cohesive Branding

    Make sure your Twitter background has a familiar look and feel, don’t deter potential customer with a page that looks inconsistent with your brand.

    • Uploaded a logo, completed info page and built out profile

    What do I tweet?!

    Send out very short headlines on topic of interest to your customer base, with short url links for more info back to your website.

    So your blog may have a post on, “Latest Bordeaux Releases: Some Real Surprises”. The blog then goes on to say that the whole vintage is poor except for this area and these brands (of which you happen to have in stock for a short time only). Your twitter message would say “Latest Bordeaux Releases: Some Real Surprises see http://short-url-here”.

    At no time would it say, “Man I’m bored, I might have a coffee, then read a magazine”!

    Twitter Follow cartoon

    Wine retailer tweet ideas

    Information: News (preferably breaking news)

    • Just rated by Wine Spectator
    • New Arrivals
    • New from [vineyard]
    • Just awarded gold at
    • The King of
    • Once every 30 years
    • A Discovery at
    • Adventure in
    • Share your love with
    • Sure to Surprise
    • Crisis in
    • No Justice in

    Information: Attention Seeking Emails

    • Alert
    • Top rated
    • 94 point rated
    • Private Selection of
    • Action required
    • The best of
    • Top [40]
    • Best selling wines under $15
    • Deal Alert
    • Vintage of the Decade
    • Pay Dirt at
    • [Merlot] Heaven
    • The [Merlot] Insider
    • [Pinot ] Wine Guide
    • Wine 101 – how to
    • Wines from
    • Wines of
    • Wine and [Food e.g. Salmon]
    • Wine and [Climate e.g. Summer]
    • One of the greatest
    • Cult like


  • Last call
  • Last chance
  • While they last
  • Final chance
  • 3 days only
  • ends at midnight
  • ends tomorrow
  • today only
  • Rush shipping on Us
  • 50% off end of vintage clearance
  • First Buyer Special
  • A great offer from [vineyard]
  • The Maven versus The Brand

    Guy Kawasaki is one of the thought leaders in twitter marketing. I’ve paraphrased his twitters types here:

  • The Newbie – just signed up to twitter, will be boring or will progress to another type
  • The Brand – “balances the tension between using Twitter as a marketing tool and socially engaging people so as not to appear to be using Twitter as a marketing tool.”
  • The Smore – (social media whore) sees Twitter as a self-promotional tool to make a buck only
  • The Bitch – complain, abuse and shock, unhelpful with little to add to dialogue
  • The Maven – an expert in their field, have lots to share in that field and are very interesting.
  • The Mensch – helpful, knowledgeable and very useful
  • Then he says,

    “Now comes the hard part: What kind of Twitter user are you? To make Twitter an effective tool, you need to be a Brand, Maven, or Mensch. To go even further, you need to be able to adopt the roles of Brand, Maven, Mensch, and a touch of the Smore, and that is truly an art.”

    There is another way to rank and rate twitter users though – it’s called Klout – which I’ve gone through in detail here to rank wine tweeters.

    Okay all you wine tweeters what tips do you have to share?

    Photos courtesy of: salve-a-terra–twitter_4251_1280x800, Twitter in Real Life: The Follow Back


    1. This is of great help to me.  We are a printing company that has begun selling wine as an add-on to our other products.  It has gone very well so far, just having trouble coming up with posting ideas for our blog, Twitter and Facebook page.  You have given me somethings to think about and get me pointed in the right direction.

    2. Zoe Geddes-soltess says:

      Hi Bruce,

      Your post covered a lot of ground when it comes to engaging via Twitter. Your point about dialogue hit the nail on the head for me. I always look to see what kind of posts are in a person’s or company’s Twitter feed. If I see a lot of posts beginning with @, I am a lot more likely to follow them than if I see they are primarily pushing content and not engaging.


      Zoe Geddes-Soltess
      Community Engagement, Radian6

    3. useful post! thanks )))

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