Taking your social media plans to the next level…

Over the last few years, “social media” has become a buzzword. It’s a concept that not many businesses truly understand or embrace to its full potential. Wineries often feel obliged to set up a presence of core social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter without much thought of how and why they are using them, or who they are targeting. For many wineries, results have been mixed, and without easy ways to measure performance, businesses grow tired of the constant need to produce material to tell their brand stories and often give up on.

After several years of exponential growth, it’s worth acknowledging that social media is here to stay. So how does it fit in to your marketing strategy? Do you even have a social media plan? Do you know how to maximise the energy you put into these platforms? Let’s face it, you can spend a lot of time engaging for very little return unless you have a plan and objectives to help you achieve your goals.

The truth is, for many small businesses, not all social media platforms are perfectly suited to every brand, so rather than focusing on every single platform, why not think about which ones are most relevant for each brand? It’s much more effective to have a solid presence in one or two channels and grow your presence in those, than try to dominate every single platform.

Got you thinking? If you’re starting to reassess the time you’re spending on social media, consider these emerging trends as part of your marketing mix – consumers are responding to them incredibly well.

CORE SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS DEFINING 2013

1)    Visual Content

No longer is content creation focused purely on the written word. Images are becoming more and more important in online marketing as seen from the growth of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.

Up to 250 million photographs are uploaded onto Facebook every day and image posts are definitely the more engaging pieces of content. A 2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s by far the pictures that people enjoy the most. And, 44% of respondents were more likely to engage with brands that have images posted than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default mechanisms of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.

The trend towards “the visual” is also influenced by the shifting habits of technology users. As more people engage with social media via smartphones, they are discovering that taking a picture on-the-go using a high-resolution phone is less tedious and much quicker than typing a status update on the keyboard and uploading an image from your phone onto your computer.

Think about the visual content you’re creating for your brand and consider getting involved with platforms such as Instagram to be able to spread your message via visual imagery. It may even be time to think about updating your professional photos like bottle shots with food or cellar door images and incorporate these on your website so users of Pinterest or Instagram can share and spread the word on your behalf. It’s free marketing working at its finest!

2) Video Content

If you’re not already using video content, now is the time to embrace it. The evidence for adding video to your content strategy is compelling. This is a core medium for the younger demographics and is also driving internet traffic and search engine results.

Digital media watcher Comscore says that visitors who watch a video on your website are 64% more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t. Video is a great tool to attract new customers, improve conversions and grow sales. Research also shows it can improve viewer retention. On average, visitors stay on a website two minutes longer if they watch a video.

Youtube certainly is the most dominant video platform, and given it’s owned by Google it’s a no-brainer step to improve your search results alone. Other video-based platforms like Twitter’s Vine or Vimeo are also worth exploring. Live video streaming or video hook-ups with consumers and customers also represent a growing opportunity to connect people in far-reaching physical locations.

3)    Gamification Content

Games are not just for kids anymore. Content marketers are using gamification to create meaningful content that customers are keen to engage with. As audiences become more jaded by internet marketing and need greater incentive to interact with brands online, creative strategy that provides entertainment, reward and learning features will prove to be a vital differentiator.

Outside the wine industry, we’re seeing gamification increasingly embraced by larger brands such as Coca Cola. A few international wine brands like Gallo Family Vineyards have started thinking about using games as part of their social media marketing mix to engage their audience, but not a lot has been adopted within the wine landscape in Australia.

4)    Growth of Smartphone Usage

Last year, more people purchased smartphones than PCs. While it seems as though we hear the word “mobile” more often than our own names these days, many websites are still not mobile enabled and are difficult to read and engage with on a mobile phone. If you do nothing else with new technology this year, think about improving your mobile strategy – it will serve you well as this method of interacting with a brand is becoming the most frequent and effective.

WHAT ABOUT FACEBOOK?

There’s no denying the power of Facebook. It remains the most used social media platform in Australia and continues to dominate with the April 2013 figures reporting 11,489,380 Australian users/accounts (Socialmedianews.com.au). Some reports flag “Facebook fatigue” as the network starts to reach saturation point, but there’s no denying it has become a crucial part of the way consumers connect with friends, as well as keep up to date with brands. It’s a platform you can’t afford to ignore, but if you’re late to jump on board it’s definitely more difficult to get traction.

What you may not realise is that only 10-20% of the content you post on Facebook makes it to the news feed of your fans. Why? Facebook’s uses an algorithm called “Edgerank” to determine where and what posts appear on each individual user’s news feed in order to give users relevant and wanted content. There are a number of variables that determine whether your post is seen such as; affinity with the post, type of content and time of posting. With so many brands on Facebook, you need to be creating meaningful content and thinking about what content you’re sharing to cut through the clutter and make a connection with your fans.

Facebook makes money through its advertising, mainly because it’s incredibly effective. Use it for yourself and experience the amazing capability to target your audience and ensure that your message is heard. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for Facebook “Graph Search”, which is currently being rolled out and makes sure that the details of your business are up to date in your Facebook profile.

WHERE TO NEXT?

There’s no magic answer to finding the right social media platform for your brand. In the end it comes down to your individual strategies, goals and budgets (and a bit of trial and error, too!). If you’re thinking about adding a new platform to your marketing mix, take the time to plan your strategy and think about allocating resources to be able to produce the best outcomes.

Many brands still fail to measure the results of their social media effort. There is a range of tools available to help, and for many this may be the first step to ensuring your time and effort pays dividends in the long run.

 

How to create good content

By Sophie Knox

So everyone’s talking about creating good content. If you have an online presence – let’s face it, who doesn’t? – you need content. Simple as that. The best designed website with the trickiest features means nothing if it doesn’t have good content. You’re not just competing with your direct market competitors; you’re competing against every other source of information and entertainment that exists on the Internet. It’s the noisiest chat room on the planet. So how do you make it stand out from everything else? Try these tips:

1) Get Help. Once you’ve created your marketing strategy and are ready to implement a content plan, appoint someone with the right skills to help you create the content. It’s important to recognize that you can’t do everything yourself – if you’re not a professional editor and find yourself wading in the waters of content creation, you’re almost certainly going to underestimate the time and effort involved, and possibly the quality of the content will suffer.

2) Develop a style. And be consistent. When writing the blogs, creating the images or filming the video that becomes your content, decide what kind of message you’d like to deliver. Do you want a relaxed, friendly and down-to-earth approach or an upmarket, sophisticated and aspirational style? For example, if you envisage your brand being part of the consumer’s everyday life, at an affordable price and consumed regularly, then the content that surrounds that brand needs to fit in with that lifestyle – talk to them like you’re friends, not a parent with big words and imagery they can’t relate to. Use their language and live in their world.

3) Make them want more. This is the hardest part. Everyone will try something new once. So when creating content, try to make it unique and compelling enough that the consumer wants to come back for more. Whether it’s a food and wine match, an educational guide, how-to article or an opinion piece, if the consumer identifies with your brand, and has a positive experience with your brand, chances are they’ll be back for another whirl. Remember, the content is not about you, it’s about the consumer, and how your brand fits into the consumer’s life.

4) Make it visual. We live in a visual world. Consumers look at the pictures before they read the text, so entice them with the images. Think of your online presence as a virtual magazine – if you want the consumer to pick up and buy a copy, they need to be attracted by the images on the cover.

Keep these tips in mind when creating your content and you’ll be surprised at the success you find at the end of the Yellow Brick Content Road.

Wine, Food and Art – The best of Mudgee comes to Pyrmont!

Sunshine. Great wine. Delicious food. Family friendly. What more could you ask for on a Sunday afternoon in Sydney?

A taste of Mudgee hit Pyrmont in Sydney last weekend and it was definitely an event to mark on your calendar for future. This is a 10-day festival presented by the Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Mudgee Tourism and Wine Grape Growers.

We headed down with the family and some friends, keen to enjoy the last of the Autumn sunshine and try some new wines given our recent trip to Mudgee was limited in what we could taste. It was a sensational afternoon! Not only was the food delicious, music entertaining and the views spectacular (ok maybe I am biased living nearby) but with over 120 wines on tasting there was plenty to enjoy!

The event was well thought out, with plenty of opportunities to try the wines and a great range of different food stalls intermingled amongst the vibrant crowd. Importantly, it was also family friendly. A separate section for kids to enjoy the animal nursery and entertainment by Barnado’s Australia meant that we could enjoy the food and wine whilst the kids were having fun. It was also a plus to be located next to one of Sydney’s best playgrounds at Pirrama Park so when the cash for the rides ran thin, the kids could play whilst we sat down and enjoyed a glass of wine in the glorious sunshine.

See more photos from the event on the Mastermind Consulting Facebook Page

Budding artists, young and old, had their masterpieces on display for the Pyrmont Art Prize. And the grass was scattered with stunning sculptures – I wish I had a garden big enough to feature some of the beautiful work on display!

The festival continues until 26 May with other great events throughout Pyrmont showcasing the wine and food from Mudgee region. Dinners, lunches and wine tastings that highlight all that’s great about the food of Pyrmont and producers in Mudgee like Robert Stein, Bunnamagoo wines, Quilty Wines. Clear your diaries, make a booking and head along!

http://www.pyrmontfestival.com.au

Facebook introduces Page Administrator Roles

If you’re the Administrator of a facebook page you may have noticed that there’s new levels of permission for posting content on your fan page. Page admins can have 5 different roles, each with different abilities:

  • Manager: All content creator powers, plus the ability to manage admin roles (currently everyone set to Manager level)
  • Content creator: All moderator powers, plus the abilities to create posts as the page, edit the page, and add applications.
  • Moderator: Can view insights, create ads, send messages as the page, and respond to and delete comments.
  • Advertiser: Can view insights and create ads.
  • Insights analyst: Can view insights.

This change will give you greater flexibility of who controls information on your page, and in many instances allow you to grant access to staff who look after the customer service aspect of Facebook, without them being able to create specific brand content.

To change the administrator permissions, you need to go into Edit Page, then click on Admin Roles on the left hand navigation and change the permissions accordingly.

This functionality has been much needed, and good to see Facebook finally responding. It’s now time to think about how you involve your staff in the page administration, particularly in being able to monitor and respond to posts by people on your page.

The “Anything But Chardonnay” Days are long gone… time to rediscover this fabulous varietal.

It’s not long to go until the Third Annual Chardonnay day on 24 May, 2012. It’s the perfect excuse to be exploring the range of great Chardonnay styles being made across the world, and particularly across Australia and New Zealand.

According to Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (via Aust and NZ Wine Industry Directory), Chardonnay was the leading grape varietal crushed in 2011 – accounting for over 48% of total white wines crushed in Australia. There’s endless quotes and commentary on the quality and stylistic changes that have taken place by Chardonnay producers on a global scale (no longer about big oaked Chardonnays), and days like #chardDay are a perfect opportunity to discover the vast amount of styles being made. It’s no longer the days of “Anything But Chardonnay”, but as Sally Scarborough quoted to me last week, more along the lines of “Always Buy Chardonnay.”

Peter Bourne (The Wine Man), David Bicknell (Oakridge Wines) and Andrew Spinaze (Tyrrells Wines) give you  an insight into the evolution of Australian Charonnay at last years #chardDay event at Coast Restaurant in Sydney (yes it was a huge event and there’s some background noise).


So what exactly is Chardonnay Day?

This is a global day to talk about Chardonnay via social media platforms. There’s no concurrent tasting, conversations will take place in the time zone of country participating. Anyone can get involved. Simply post up comments on twitter, facebook, youtube , foursquare or other social media platforms. You simply need to use the #chardDay in your posts/ tweets and follow the conversations taking place on the day.

In 2011, Chardonnay day tweets reached millions of people across the world, with Australians getting involved at venues across the country as you’ll see from some of these photos https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150619858750512.692663.196942140511&type=3

If you’re new to Virtual Wine Tastings, here’s an older blog post on how to participate

Love Chardonnay and want to get involved?

  • Check out the official Spotlight Mobile app to see where there’s a venue near you hosting a tasting
  • Michael Ellis also has a list of venues around Australia that are hosting tastings on the Wine Punter Blog
  • Open a bottle of Chardonnay at home and use #ChardDay to get involved remotely.

Here’s a few tips for Wineries to maximize your participation

  • Engage with consumers – sell trial packs of your chardonnay in advance – whether this is a special Chardonnay trial pack on your website, special offers on your Chardonnay through cellar door, features in your eNewsletters or deals to the trade it’s an opportunity to get trial of your products and get consumers tasting. Help the understand how the day works and get them talking about your products
  • Make it easy to join in the conversation – many consumers are intimidated to talk about the wines, particularly on twitter. Help them get involved in the conversations – print out a sheet of your tasting notes to put in with packs sold and create a letter to include on what is chardonnay day and how they can get involved.
  • Create content in advance – Don’t leave it to the last minute to start planning. Those who have had success with similar days in the past have thought about their participation in advance and created relevant content. Videos, blog posts, having tasting notes accessible will allow you to tell your messages. You can pre-load some content via platforms like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck so think about the messages you’re trying to convey.
  • Organise a meet up – Creating an opportunity for people to get involved and meet up is a great way of sharing the wines. This can be as simple as a tasting in your cellar door on the day, approaching local venues about hosting a tasting or just getting together with friends. Whilst not mandatory it makes it easy to follow along with the conversations by having a big screen and watching the flow of conversations on a program like www.twitterfall.com or tweetdeck.com makes it easy to see the conversations taking place all over the world.
  • Collaborate with others – In many cases there’s a regional/ stylistic story to be told as well as a brand message. Talk to your regional wine association about how you can create some regional content and work together to get the message out. A great way to create some videos in advance. If your own cellar door is not participating, why not see if you can get some other producers from your region together and sample your wines up against other international examples?

Retailers/ Restaurants/ Sommeliers- generate some incremental sales… 

This is also a great opportunity for you to generate some incremental sales and generate some further understanding of different styles of chardonnay being produced. Why not consider:

  • Tastings on the day – in store tastings on chardonnays. Talk to consumers about the different styles and regions and get your producers involved.
  • Chardonnay by the glass specials for the week of Chardonnay Day or specific food matches with Chardonnay on the menu
  • Mixed cases of regional Chardonnays sold in advance in tasting packs so people can get involved

If you need more information, send me a tweet to @mastermindTB or email me on Trish@mastermindconsulting.com.au – happy to help you spread the word and get more involved.

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