Danene Beedle, Marketing Director for the Missouri Wine & Grape Board is a huge fan of social media and an advocate for what it can do to promote Midwest wineries and engage customers.
From Twitter and Facebook – where Danene goes by the name of MoWineGirl – she practices what
she preaches. Her regular tweets, beaming out to almost 2,500 followers, come from all corners of the state as she travels around promoting Missouri wine.
Danene has a refreshingly holistic approach to her ambassadorial role, embracing all aspects of food culture. In the space of a few hours her tweets can cover chocolate, Guiness and of course, events, news and wines from local wineries.
“Social media is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” Danene told her audience at the recent Midwest Grape & Wine Conference. “…and it’s so great because the only currency for the most part is your time.”
“Social Media is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,”
MoWineGirl’s talk, ‘Let’s Get Social,’ discussed how wineries should approach social media. “It is about a connection, I can’t emphasize that enough.” Danene explained how the key to using Facebook or Twitter successfully depends on creating lasting, memorable impressions through concise messages and then engaging with any responses from customers. As her talk title suggests, it’s all about getting social.
To emphasize the point, Danene kicked off her talk showing slides of real and memorable human experiences. She asked the audience if they remembered their first kiss? How about their first dance? How about their first trip to a vineyard? Their first taste of a Norton? Danene places social media on a level with these real world experiences. “Social media is more than just virtual,” she said, “It’s your electronic second life.”
Five years ago, this electronic second life probably didn’t seem that important to many Midwest wineries. There was utility in a webpage, but many local wineries probably discounted Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other emerging social media as too niche, a technology fad or something for the younger generations. Danene argues that social media has come of age and presented facts to back this up.
Missouri Wine’s Marketing Director discussed a survey of social media users by the Wine Market Council. On Facebook, for example, roughly 80% of Millenials – born after the late 1970s – and Generation Xers – born between the 1960s and late 1970s – are users. The older generations are not that far behind: about 60% of baby boomers and, perhaps surprisingly, 60% of those aged 67 and over, now use it as well.
“Social media is more than just virtual…It’s your electronic second life.”
And in terms of wine drinking, wine sales statistics show that young people – Millenials – are becoming a very important part of the Midwest wine market. In Missouri, millenials now buy more wine than either Generation X or baby boomers. And Facebook is where you’ll find them.
Danene explained the differences between paid media – advertising on TV and radio for example – and social media. The latter is free but to work most effectively, requires regular time committment. On Facebook for example, you need to write concise, punchy messages promoting unique events at your winery, but also listen and engage with any response from customers. It’s like a continuous conversation, one on one, with fans of your businesss.
Danene recommends having an ‘editorial calender’ to help structure and guide the sort of content and ideas you put out on Facebook or Twitter. For example, a set day to send out the online newsletter or post about the weekend’s events.
Social media is a great way to build trust and there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on marketing to find out what customers think: they’re on social media telling you. Danene says if you put the time in and engage honestly and effectively with customers, you’ll build what social media businessman, writer and wine retailer, Gary Vaynerchuk calls “relationship capital.” He believes that people want to fall in love with your product, you just have to give them a reason.
According to Vaynerchuk, quoted by Danene during her talk: “Society has created an ecosystem that rewards good manners, high touch, honesty and integrity.” In this ecosystem we’re all becoming increasingly technology oriented but through social media we’re also going back to being more neighborly. According to Vaynerchuk we’re a cross between the futuristic characters in that animated sitcom The Jetsons and their Stone Age colleagues, The Flintstones.
So if you’re a Midwest winery willing to invest time on social media engaging with customers, don’t resist the urge to shout “Yabadabadoo” with the carefree abandon of Fred Flintstone. And make sure you tweet it too.