How well are you tracking your social media?

While distributing information to your customers and potential customers through social media is important, it’s also important to know how the people that you are reaching are reacting to what you have to say. Are they paying attention to your posts or tweets and passing them along to others or do the posts just disappear?

Know why you regularly posting on social media: to become more engaged with your customers, to gain more publicity for your brand, to attract more customers, to sell product or to present your customers with reasons to buy from you. Keep a list of goals handy, to keep you on track.

To discover whether or not you are successful, track your social media posts to see where they go after they reach your audience. This can be accomplished through tracking keywords that relate to your company or products.

Track your brand or company name. Know who is talking about your company or products and why. Whether it is a complaint or a compliment, a response to the person who responded to the post will positively affect how they feel about you. It is easier than you think to turn around a complaint by paying attention and doing everything you can to sort out the problem either on- or offline. Tracking your brand or company may also give you more information about questions that customers are asking each other, or whether there is talk about your products.

It doesn’t hurt to track your main competitors also. It helps to know what they are doing and how they are being perceived on social media.

Track key employees through their own sites and through what people are saying about them. In the wine industry, you know how important the winemaker, the owners and even the people in the tasting room are to many of your best customers. They feel connected to these people and will be loyal to the brand because of them.

Track industry keywords to see if your brand, company or products are being mentioned in the broader industry by consumers who may be looking for the type of product you produce.

Social media may not cost a lot when compared to print or electronic advertising but if you are going to be successful it does take time to do it right.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Social Media – External and Internal

Are your employees following the company on social media? If not they should be. Social media is a great place for employees to get reminders of the information or offers that you are broadcasting to customers.

In the days before the internet took us to worlds we had never anticipated, it was common in business that employees (especially part time or occasional employees) were not up-to-date on what was going on as far as specials or events were concerned. It was not unusual in the wine business when wineries were doing AVA-wide events and selling tickets for these events that customers would visit a winery asking for tickets and the person at the tasting bar would tell them that they didn’t have tickets for the event. This is just one example of how information is not been disseminated to everyone who needs to have it.

As part of the dissemination of information, encourage your employees to follow the business Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, etc. In fact, you may wish to make following the business social media mandatory, just as it’s mandatory that they read memos and other information relating to their jobs.

If you are an employee, it is going to make your job easier if you know what is going on in the business. In most consumer-oriented companies, customer specials, events, and other customer oriented information can be hard to keep up with, so being aware of what customers are seeing on social media will help you remind customers of things they may have forgotten. Not to mention helping you with sales. You can keep up on what customers are thinking, and whether they are happy or not. Also, keep track of any personal mentions you may get. It doesn’t hurt to know how many customers have appreciated your help, especially if you are hoping for promotion or a raise in pay.

Be aware of everything that is happening in your business on social media. It will keep you at the top of your game.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Getting Heard Through an Overcrowded Medium

Don’t you love the Internet?? Well sometimes you might (when an order comes in from an email you sent out) and sometimes you don’t. However, if you are looking to make a splash on Facebook, for example remember that there are 50 million small business Facebook pages. So you have some competition.

When I typed in the search engine “popular social media sites” one of the top search results was a post from 60 second marketer.com, “Top 52 Social Media Platforms Every Marketer Should Know.” So before you go to that site, how many can you name?

The Internet, email, social media, etc. have changed our world both personally and in business in ways that we would have never thought possible. And every day there are new things coming out that are changing it all again. There is no time to stand still.

As a business, you have to be aware of the next new thing and choose to adopt the ones that will enhance our businesses, products and abilities. For example, a company creates a Facebook page to introduce information about the products, service and business. Now just putting the information out is not enough, you also need to be involved with social monitoring (also called social listening). It is equally as important that you know what is being said about you as well as what you are saying.

Also important is social response, where you respond to people who make comments (good and bad) about your business or products.

Content, of course is still king.  Is what you are writing about interesting, amusing, targeted towards you readers? People enjoy stories and stories make a stronger impression. Good stories sell; by buying your products, especially in the case of wine (or especially a case of wine) buying the product will make them happy. Sometimes your customers need to be reminded of that.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Are Your Social Media Posts Hurting Your Business?

There are lots of examples of people using social media to say or do things that it would be better if they didn’t. It is common now to hear of some celebrity tweeting their opinion on some topic that they have to explain later. Very recently I saw on the news a clip of a young woman, using the social media app Periscope, to broadcast herself driving while very drunk. I was reminded that we should think long and hard before we put anything out on social media for our business.

It is even more important on a business account that puts up posts that are born from frustration. I recently came across one of these and am sharing some excerpts from the post. I have taken out any reference to the type of business, name or location, even though this was posted on the business Facebook page.

“…We are extremely proud on what we do. And yes, we get it… (our products) are not for everyone. Understand our (business) for what it is – not what you think it should be… stop making us regret our decision to stay true to what (our business) means to us.”

Berating your possible customers on an open site for everyone to read it not a great way to encourage people to visit your place of business. I know owning a retail business can be frustrating sometimes and yes there are times that we would like to tell people exactly what we are thinking, but it is very rarely a good idea.

What you do on your own private social media accounts is up to you. Though, if you are using a business account, it’s good to keep your personal opinions – especially your opinions on politics, religion or other possibly incendiary topics – to yourself.

What goes up on your business’ social media accounts is a reflection of you and your business. It’s hard enough to gain customers without losing them because of differing viewpoints that may have nothing to do with the quality or price of your products.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Be Careful With Those Tweets

With everyone out there tweeting away, when you are a producer of alcoholic beverages it’s important to know the laws around, regarding what you can and what you cannot say. Just knowing the laws is difficult, as there are so many – especially surrounding alcohol, but not realizing that you are breaking the laws can have dire consequences for wineries, breweries, distilleries, etc.

I was reading in the Wine Industry Advisor Afternoon Brief today about the wineries in the Sacramento, CA area that tweeted information about wine tasting event in Northern California called the Grape Escape. SaveMart sponsored the event. By tweeting the name of this retailer the wineries and breweries were breaking the tied-house laws, laws that don’t allow alcohol producers to promote retailers. The eight wineries and breweries who tweeted the information could have been subject to a license suspension or a fine. While the California Alcohol Beverage Control send letters threatening 10-day suspensions, they opted to allow businesses to admit to wrongdoing and put them on probation for a year – which means that any future violations would cause the 10-day suspension to go into effect.

Rules and regulations concerning the marketing and advertising of alcoholic beverages are available through the TTB and your state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control. Anyone who handles marketing, advertising or social media should be aware of the rules regarding what you can and cannot say in ads, tweets, on Facebook, emails and on your website, etc.

The other thing to remember is that new laws are coming out all the time, and, as we all know, “ignorantia legis neminem excusat,” which is Latin for “ignorance of the law does not excuse.” While that may not apply all the time, you don’t want to spend your hard earned money to fight that.

A tip of the glass from me to you!e_T4Q6892 low-res -c bw s

TTB New Rules for Social Media

The TTB has been busy lately. They have always spent time reviewing advertisements that appear in print, on the radio and television, on billboards and websites, etc. They have now included all types of social media in those advertising guidelines. As the TTB states in their information on using social media in the advertising of alcohol beverages, These outlets include, but are not limited to, social network services such as Facebook or MySpace, video sharing sites such as YouTube or Flickr, weblogs or “blogs,” forums or comment sections directly on websites, and applications (apps) for mobile devices.”

The TTB is expanding the reach of its advertising reviews to include all types of social media. So, what does this mean to you? It means that any “fan” pages are subject to the provisions of the FAA Act and TTB regulations. Which means that mandatory statements that appear in any other ads also must appear here.

In short, you now have to adhere to the same regulations in your social media, links, QR codes, mobile applications, websites, etc. that you have to in any other form of advertising. In addition, the TTB considers any description of links included on industry websites to be a part of the advertisement.

Information on the laws and regulations governing advertising of alcoholic beverages can be found in the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, Chapter 8, Subchapter 1. According to section 207, the penalties section, any company not following the rules may be found guilty of a misdemeanor, and possibly fined up to $1,000 for each offense.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

One Hundred Blog Posts

Simona, my very able associate, who got me started on blogging, Facebook and Twitter a couple of years ago, informed me the other day that I had completed 100 blogs since I started.

Hard to believe that I’ve been blogging and posting for just shy of two years and have covered a multitude of topics, all related to retail sales, winery retail practices, social media, tasting rooms, merchandising and more.

Thank you for all of you who read my blog, Facebook posts and tweets, and a special thanks to those of you who agree, disagree or comment on the posts. The more information we can put out into the world, the more successful more of us will be. There are so many smart people out there and so much information to be passed along.

Also, if there are any topics that I have not covered that you would like to see on this blog, just let me know. I love research, so if I haven’t already done research on a topic you would like to see explored, I am very happy to do it.

So, thanks again and keep smiling. There is always something very interesting just around the corner, waiting for you.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

E