It may seem that there’s an abundance of wine related social media initiatives emerging and something to get involved in on a weekly basis. Having started the first few Australian Tweet ups with #WCATT in August 2010 this really excites me as people surely are embracing the concept and wanting to get involved. Success stories are already emerging of new distributions, increased sales and greater brand awareness and reviews for participating.
So why am I getting behind another initiative like open that bottle night?
The concept is not a new one. In fact it was invented over 10 years ago by former Wall Street Journal columnists, John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter as a way to share the many great wine anecdotes they heard from their wine loving readers. The first OTBN stories were printed in their wine column and proved to be hugely popular with their readers. Every year, the event grew and soon OTBN parties were being held all over the world.
Since John and Dottie left the newspaper in 2009, OTBN has lost some momentum so a good friend Liz O’Connell and I (with blessing from the founders John & Dottie), have decided to ensure this great event doesn’t die. In 2011, rather than printing in a newspaper, wine lovers around the world can post their pictures, stories, tweets and videos for others to enjoy on the OTBN Facebook page. What a better way to encourage participation and involvement in this great industry of ours than to get people opening wines and reminiscing about stories behind them.
The wine could be a special vintage from the cellar, your dad’s favourite wine, the wine you enjoyed on your first date or one you bought on a memorable visit to a winery. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a bottle that means something to you. Or if you aren’t saving a wine (wine is meant to be drunk after all!) OTBN is a good excuse to go out and buy a bottle and treat yourself!
Some tips on how to get involved:
• Join the OTBN Facebook page www.facebook.com/openthatbottlenight and share your favourite wine stories, photos or videos
• Follow OTBN on twitter @Openthatbtl and use #OTBN in your tweets about wine that you could potentially open
• Sign up for the OTBN tweet up on February 26th to keep up to date with ways to get involved http://openthatbottlenight.eventbrite.com
• Organise a dinner or OTBN party with wine loving friends or family and ask people to bring along something special for dinner
• If you’re a winery, consider selling some back vintage wines to your consumers and let them know how to get involved so people can talk about your wines and brand.
Support Flood Victims with #OTBN event
With the recent devastation of the floods in QLD and VIC recently there’s also a great opportunity for people to hold a dinner party, a function at your winery and ask for a donation to the Premiers fund http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html or by calling 1800 219 028. If you’re getting involved outside Australia then a great opportunity to think of the people in Brazil and donate to the Red Cross.
I look forward to hearing the stories behind your wines that are opened on 26 Feb.
2011 starts a new journey for many in the world of social media. It’s a year where people will move on from just talking about why you should participate and get more active and strategic about the way you engage. Let’s face it, we can spend a lot of time engaging directly with our customers and consumers whether it be through twitter, facebook or other platforms, so it’s worthwhile to take some time out at the beginning of the year and really think about what you want to achieve.
Remember the beauty of social media is that it’s often a collaborative platform and all of us are learning, so if you don’t know how to do something or want to discover more, all you have to do is ask and people are more than willing to help out.
Here’s a few tips to get you thinking to start the year…
1) Start with a health check – remind yourself about your reason for being on social media platforms and how it integrates with your broader marketing strategies. What lessons have you learnt from the past that you can optimise and what things do you think you could do better? Now is the time to really think about your social media strategy and how you can integrate with your broader marketing initiatives. Have you done simple things like:
2) Are you truly listening? Have you set up listening devices – it can be as simple as setting up a free google alert for your brand or using sites like socialmention.com or search.twitter.com to make sure you are collecting feedback about what people are really saying. There are some more sophisticated programs to allow you to listen and monitor your brand mentions, but for many small wineries some of the free monitoring tools will allow you to pick up 80% of results.
3) Engage with your followers through extraordinary experiences- Whilst keeping your fans and followers updated on your daily activities is part of the journey, those who are doing things well provide extraordinary experiences – competitions, polls, reasons for people to stay a fan and continue to engage with your brand. If facebook is your main social media platform then have a look at some of the third party applications like Involver or Wildfire or it may be more relevant to have a customised application built for you if the campaign is big enough. Remember you can’t post a competition directly on facebook (eg become a fan and win wine) without it going through a third party application or you’ll risk your page being shut down.
4) Get involved with mobile and geo-location – many are saying this will be the biggest trend this year and it’s worthwhile testing. Many South Australian wineries are reaping the benefits from initiatives like the Great South Australian Wine Australian that SA Tourism and the Qwoff Boys initiatived – If you are choosing not to be active with platforms like Gowalla, Facebook Places or Four Square you should at least understand the opportunity you are missing. If costs you very little to trial and may be a way of attracting and incentivising a new audience with your brand.
5) Think about your influence, not the number of people you follow – There’s been some great recent posts by Brian Solis, Chris Brogan and Rick Bakas, Matthew Creamer talking about your influence on social media platforms being more critical than numbers of people who follow you. Whilst there is some correlation between influence and followers it’s worth having a look at www.klout.com or http://www.twitalyzer.com/ and understand just how influential you are.
6) Keep your Linked In Profile up to date – many underestimate the power of Linked In but it’s a powerful networking environment not just a way of gaining employment. Join relevant groups and participate in the conversations that are happening. There’s many features being developed for brands and companies so if you have not set up your Company or Brand on Linked In it’s worth doing so.