Recently, lockdowns have loosened up a little in Texas and wineries are beginning to re-open under revised TABC rules. Now is the time to get the word out about re-opening. Social media is a powerful marketing tool and great for promoting a winery.
I wanted to share some social media marketing tips and some common mistakes that I see out there. For this industry group, I recommend a multi-channel approach to social media marketing. Facebook is the largest channel, but there are potential customers on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google My Business and others. My philosophy is to be where potential customers are. For this discussion, I will focus on Facebook since it has the most features and functionality for businesses, but many of the same tips will apply across all platforms.
The key to marketing on social media is activity and engagement. Activity is how often posts occur and engagement is people that like, share, and comment. In the social media world, comments are the most valuable engagements, follow by shares, then likes. The goal of any posts should be to encourage comments and shares.
- Goals – As with any marketing or business process, there needs to be goals established of what to shoot for. Increase sales by X%, increase followers by X%, increase visits to the winery by X%, increase wine club members by X% are all good goals.
- Metrics – Key performance indicators (KPIs) need to be established to determine if progress toward the goal is happening. The most important metrics to track are page views, reach, and impressions. Page views are the number of times the profile page is viewed. Every time someone is looking at the profile page, they are showing a high interest level in the business. They may be looking at other posts, looking at the map to visit, or looking for the contact information to reach out. Reach is the number of people who have seen any content from the page. Impressions is the number of times any page content is seen on a computer screen. If activity and engagement are good, these numbers should increase. If these numbers are flat or declining, more activity and engagement needs to happen.
- Posting – Many people ask how often should a business post? The consensus among marketers is 3 to 7 posts per week. Studies have shown that more or less often, result in a decline in engagement. It is more important to make each post a quality post. Facebook recently changed its algorithm, so that page followers do not see every post in their timeline. As engagement increases, the algorithm will show the post to more page followers. Reach and impressions only increase as engagement increases, so make each post count. Video posts get 59% more engagement than other posts, so consider using video in your posting strategy.
- Overselling – The most common mistake that I see in posts is too many selling posts. Don’t make each post about selling the latest, greatest wine. People don’t go to social media to be sold, they go to socialize. Too many selling posts will turn people off and engagement will suffer. A good method to follow is the one third rule. One third of posts are selling posts, one third of posts are informative, one third of posts are about the business. Some examples of informative posts are news articles about benefits of drinking wine, wine industry, or fun wine facts. Some examples of business posts are videos from harvest, employee interviews, customer interviews, videos of events, history of the winery.
- Using hashtags – People search for things and topics on Facebook, so use a hashtag that describes the topic of the post. This is a good way to increase reach outside of a page’s followers. A mistake that I often see is hashtag abuse. They use too many hashtags and most are irrelevant. This is distracting to followers and could turn off people searching for a topic. Keep hashtags to no more than 1 to 3 relevant topics and don’t hashtag the business brand or name. On other channels such as Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, people follow hashtags, so posts with a hashtag show up in the timeline of the followers. These channels will list the most popular hashtags related to a topic and Twitter will show trending hashtags.
- Private Groups – Facebook allows private groups to be created where only members of the group can see the posts. This is a great tool to communicate with wine clubs. Wine club promotions, discounts, pickup parties, and other private events can be posted here and not seen by the general public. Simply create the group, make it private, and invite club members to join the group. This feature makes club members feel special since they are part of an exclusive group.
- Contests – People like contests and prizes. So use this to expand your reach. Run contests such as “check-in for a drawing for a prize” or “comment, share, like this post to get in a drawing for a prize”. This creates engagement and people that engage can then be invited to follow the page. A great way to organically grow followers.
- Boosting Posts/Creating Ads – Facebook is one of the cheapest ways to advertise to a large or narrowly targeted audience. Events and promotions are prime posts to create an ad campaign around. Facebook has the ability to target by geography, age, interests (i.e. wine), job position, how they interact with the business (i.e. follower, friend of follower). This feature gets the business in front of new people, beyond followers and their friends. Always bringing in new people to the page is essential to growing followers and customers.
- Brand Pages – Many wineries have multiple tasting room locations. Instead of creating multiple Facebook pages for each location, create a main brands page, then create location pages under the main page. Posts from the main page can be automatically shared to the location pages and the location pages can post about the specific location. It makes it easier to manage and people can leave reviews and engage with local posts for individual locations. It also utilizes the map feature so that people can find the individual location on searches. This feature builds brand awareness and reach.
- Reviews – 97% of people read online reviews about local businesses. Reviews influence the purchase decisions for 93% of consumers. Monitor reviews and respond to them, both positive and negative ones. Some prominent review platforms are Facebook, Google, Yelp!, Expedia and Tripadvisor.
- Get on Travel Sites – If your winery is not on Tripadvisor and Expedia, I would highly encourage getting listed there. These are the top tourism related websites. It is not only for hotels, there are “attractions” and “things to do” listings where wineries can be listed. The Expedia network has 750 million visitors per month and includes CarRentals.com, CheapTickets, Expedia.com, HomeAway, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, trivago, and Venere.com. Tripadvisor has 390 million visitors per month and reviews are a prominent part of the site. Tripadvisor also has a Q&A section where people can ask about the business. Monitor and answer questions promptly.
Using social media as a marketing platform is an inexpensive, yet effective strategy to build brand awareness, engage and inform customers, and drive sales. To make it work for your winery at an optimum level requires a good strategy, a disciplined approach, and putting in the effort to achieve results.
People are on social media more than ever. There are 3.8 billion people on social media (2.7 billion on Facebook & Instagram alone) on a daily basis and 75% of high income earners are on Facebook. The numbers are hard to ignore. Only Google and Youtube have more traffic. Soon I will write another blog post about how to full utilize those channels to grow your winery.
If you have friends with other types of businesses, share this blog post with them. These tips don’t only apply to wineries. Any business can use them. If you need help or have questions, feel free to reach out to us.