Twitter for Wineries & Vineyards
Explaining how Twitter can help you attract potential wine buyers, make your current customers more loyal and help your website’s Search Engine rankings — along with ways to gain more followers and some free tools you can download to make Twitter more manageable.
I have to admit, even though I have a Twitter account and have posted a bunch of tweets, until today, I really wasn’t sure what to do with it! I knew to send out a new tweet every time I posted a new blog topic or finished a new design, but other then that — what could I possibly post that people would be interested in? And then I read ‘Twitter Demystified for Business Users’ by Nancy McCord and Boy, were my eyes opened!
Getting to Know You
Twitter is not just about telling people what you had for lunch, its about expressing your personality and allowing your followers to get to know the real you!
Now I’ve met MANY of you small vineyard and winery owners and so know from personal experience what an interesting bunch you are! You come from all walks of life, a myriad of careers and life experiences and you use this rich personal history in your approach to the vine and/or wine making process. You want to share this with your Twitter followers!
So, if you were a history professor in a previous life and have decided to use your knowledge of the past to make wine using a little known historical technique, tweet your ideas and progress to your followers. (And since you can send in tweets from your cell phone, you can’t use "I’m never near a computer" as an excuse! )
Or here’s an interesting scenario I’ve run into a few times — a husband and wife team who’ve both worked full time jobs for a million years and have finally decided to make a leap of faith and start their own winery. Who WOULDN’T be interested in hearing about the trials and tribulations you experience during this grand adventure?
Tweet about how long you had to wait for label approval, what a nightmare it can be getting state shipping licenses or how your adult children won’t answer your phone calls anymore because they’re afraid you’re going to ask them to help trim vines!
Not only is this interesting, but it can also be fun and informative too!
Another thing I just learned about Twitter is you can tweet with pictures using http://twitgoo.com/. Just the fact that you ARE a vineyard or winery means you have access to a LOT of photo opportunities that wine lovers would find interesting. So, if you’re in the middle of bottling, take a picture of the line and ‘tweet’ it!
Your followers will LOVE it!
Power of the Millennials
Another reason to embrace Twitter is to reach out to that growing Millennial market we’ve all been hearing so much about. This is especially important to you small, boutique and micro wineries because according to Leah Hennessy’s phenomenal article ‘Where Millennials Are Buying Wine: Some Tough Love For The Wine Industry‘ most Millennials have NEVER been to a winery! They mainly buy their wines from grocery stores!!! So unless you’ve netted yourself a great distributor, you NEED to focus on Millennial Outreach!!!
"Talk to your favorite wine shop, encourage them to reach out to this age group. If you are a winery and the shop carries your brands, offer to hold a tasting there geared towards younger drinkers. If you are a retailer, look into social media – even if you’re intimidated, all it really takes is a Facebook page. Throw events, reach out to younger social groups in your area, get creative. I know of a young BOOK CLUB in LA that has all their meetings at a wine shop with a tasting bar." (This is a quote from the Leah Hennessy article referenced above and be sure to think of Twitter as part of your social media repertoire.)
Search Engines (especially Google) do index Twitter (in fact, because the content is updated so frequently, tweets probably carry more Search Engine weight then web pages!) and so you want to be sure to link to your site in your tweets.
For example, if you’re offering a 2 hour Twitter sale on your ‘Willamette Valley 2005 Pinot Gris’, then be sure to link to your 06 Pinot Gris ‘Buy’ page. This way, when the Search Engines index all the various tweets your website will be ranked along with the keywords ‘Willamette Valley’, ‘Pinot Gris’ and so forth. (You can learn about more about Search Engines in my Demystifying Search Engines for Winery Websites post)
Now that you’ve committed yourself to the Twitter experience (riiiiiiigggggghhhhhhttttttt), your next step is to attract ‘followers’. Here are a few ideas to make it happen:
- Post a link to your Twitter account on your website so visitors can immediately start following your ‘tweets’
- Make sure your Twitter username is on all your print materials.
- Start posting regularly!!!! (This is something I’m trying to do myself!)
- Be sure to respond to any tweets sent directly to you.
- Completely fill out your Twitter profile with a link to your main website and a picture (I won’t follow someone who doesn’t have a profile)
- There are TONS of wine enthusiasts using Twitter to express their love of wine — these are the people you want following you! So once you have your profile set up and a few tweets under your belt, use Twellow to search for Twitter profiles that involve wine and ‘Follow’ them. This alerts them to your presense and if they like your posts, they will probably follow you right back.
- Use the ‘hashtag‘ (#) in your posts. (I’m still trying to figure this one out, but I take it to mean words that are prefixed with a # are grouped and can be found and tracked back to you — and if I’m wrong, somebody PLEASE correct me
- ‘Retweeting’: Per Wiki Answers, to "retweet" is to repeat/quote someone’s tweet. Usually when you come across an interesting tweet and want to publish it as your own tweet so that people who follow you see it too – you retweet it. The syntax of your tweet should start with the abbreviation RT or the word Retweet followed by the username of the person who tweeted it and then finish with the content of the actual tweet. Example: RT @WineryMarketing Rachell is the greatest wine marketer of ALL TIME!!!!
A little nicety that can spread good will amongst new followers is to reply directly to each new follower with a little note saying something to the effect “Thank you for following us!”
Free Twitter Tools
Here are some of my favorite Twitter tools
and ones I’ve just learned about and plan on using regularly (I’ve listed them in order of importance — to me anyway
Keeps track of conversations that mention you, your wine, your winery, anything — with hourly updates! You can even keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL (like bit.ly or tinyurl.com).
TweetDeck works like a ‘Twitter’ browser that allows you to organize the people you follow into various groups and then displays their tweets within each group to help make some kind of order out of what could very possibly be twitter chaos. I have the following groups set up: Wineries, Marketing, Technical and Fun.
Allows you to add pictures to your tweets
Shortens long urls so you can add them to your Twitter posts and still stay under the 140 character limit.
Qwitter emails you when someone stops following you on Twitter — it will even let you know what was the last post they read before they quit! So if you see a bunch of people quit after you posted "Robert Parker SUCKS!!!" you’ll know you have a lot of Parker fans out there and may have some serious making up to do.
A way to track your ‘retweets’
Twuffer allows the Twitter user to compose a list of future tweets, and schedule their release.
This is just a fun application that allows you to see where you stack up against other Twitter users. Twitter Grader measures the power of a Twitter user based on followers, number of updates, and posting frequency.
Posts your blog posts directly onto Twittter and other microfeed sites.
Twitoria finds your friends that haven’t tweeted in a long time so you can give them the boot!
So, are you sick of everything ‘Twitter’ yet???!!!!! Until I wrote this article I never realized how many things started off with ‘tw’ and am thinking of adding a few of my own: ‘twittercide’ (death by twitter), ‘twitterphobi’ (afraid of everything twitter), the ‘Twitter Defence’ (Twitter made me do it) and
‘twitted out’ (sick of twitter).
But as much as it may overwhelm you, or even if you’re already sick of it, Twitter has proven to be an incredibly effective marketing tool. So why don’t we all just bite the bullet (I’m including myself here), and give it a shot?
Oh, and while you’re here, could you help me out and let me know what kinds of posts from me you’d be interested in? As some of you may or may not know, along with my passion for marketing, design and helping small vineyards and wineries, I also have 2 teenage sons, a housefull of animals (including a pig and a possum), a co-dependent relationship with my pug ‘Pugsley’ and volunteer regularly with at-risk teens and non-profit animal organizations.
So, should I be tweeting about EVERYTHING? Or only things relating to the wine industry? Please check what things you’re interested in in the pole below (because who wants to hear about the pig getting into the pantry when all you really want is more wine marketing advice! Select as many answers as apply.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.