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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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, “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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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!

Two Smart Ways to Control Business Costs

At the beginning of each month I receive a great newsletter from Resnick, Amsterdam, Leschner, an accounting firm in Bluebell, PA. There is always something interesting in their newsletter and this short article from the September newsletter, piqued my interest.

“Attempting to reduce expenses can be either wise or foolish, depending upon where you make the cuts. Eliminating costs that are crucial to attracting and retaining consumers is a direct route to failure, but spending less on wasteful areas without losing sales is a thrifty way of increasing profit.

You can save plenty of cash by paying less for marketing, but spending too little prevents people from finding your business. Trust the statistics about how shoppers in this century typically conduct online investigation of purchase options. In some markets, little risk is involved in reducing or even canceling your advertising in the newspaper, phone book and broadcasting.

Meanwhile, use some of those savings to revitalize your website. Obtain some consulting on search engine optimization (SEO). Hire a freelancer to create content for your website, write a blog, issue press releases and deliver social media messages. Set your advertising budget for next year with a focus on online marketing. Even if you only use word-of-mouth marketing to obtain sales, spending on your Web presence helps turn prospects into committed buyers.

Secondly, remember that employees are the most important assets of most businesses. Staff members enjoy perks, but prefer job security far more. The cost of small perks such as free food, gym membership and attending conferences can add up quickly. Concentrate your spending on workers by annually granting cost-of-living increases in wages and providing a top-quality health insurance plan. Smart spending decisions will reduce your costs and simultaneously improve the quality of your business.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

There’s More to Social Media Than Post and Click

Social Media for many retailers means posting something about their product and hoping that it interests your fans. Yet, as social media becomes more sophisticated, we need to be more aware of what our fans want from us.

The fans don’t only want to read what we have to say, they want us to read what they have to say, whether they are saying it directly to us, or putting it out on the internet in different places.

It’s important that we monitor what our fans (and those who may not be fans) are saying about us. Good or bad – we need to know. It’s also important that we respond to the comments, whether they are positive or negative.

Responding to negative comments is as much about letting others know that we care as it is about reaching out to the person who has made the negative comments. As more and more people use social media, we need to be there to say “thank you” to those who have positive things to say and “how can we make it better?” to those who are not so positive about their experiences with our hospitality or our brand.

We should also respond quickly (with 24 hours if possible) to those who ask questions or want more information from us.

There are sites you can go to (some at no charge and some paid) in order to find out what people are saying. So type in Social Monitoring into your browser, find out the tools to follow on what people are saying about your business, either directly or indirectly, and respond nicely (of course) to the comments.

Create two-way conversations with the people who regularly follow you. They will appreciate you, your business and your brand more – and appreciation sells product.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Email Not Always The Best Way To Communicate

The summer and fall are when wineries do most of their events and when consumers are looking for things to do. The good weather gives people the urge to get out and do something fun and perhaps something they haven’t done before. So make sure they know about you.

Which brings me to the gist of this week’s blog: what are you doing to bring new people into your winery? And more importantly: how are you doing it? These days many wineries communicate almost entirely through email, their website or social media. You might reach a small percentage of your current customers or people who have visited your winery before, through these avenues, but when you take a look at your email open rates you will find that a large percentage of people on your mailing list are not opening the emails and definitely not clicking through to find out more about what you are promoting.

Email is a double-edged sword. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to send information to your customers, but most wineries have low open and click through rates and the conversion rates (the number of people who click through and actually take advantage of the offer) are lower, still.

Incorporate other ways to reach people into your advertising and promotion mix.

•  Send out press releases to local magazines, radio and TV stations as well as wine bloggers and wine-related Facebook sites.

•  Let local and regional bloggers know what is happening at your winery.

•  Consider postcards and follow them up with emails as a one-two punch. This has proven to be more effective than sending either one alone.

While email, the web and Facebook are all good ways to get the word out, they are not the only ways and you shouldn’t rely on them alone to promote your winery, wines and events.

A tip of the glass from me to you!