Wine is a very social product – in fact it’s considered to be the most social of beverages. Talking to other enthusiasts and comparing tasting notes enhances the whole wine drinking experience. Therefore, wine lends itself very well to social media, as both are powerful tools when it comes to building relationships. Social media, like wine, is a great way to connect with people; and wineries can use its various platforms, not only to directly connect with consumers, but also to establish themselves in the industry and increase brand awareness. Wine is very much a conversation piece, and social media presents a perfect environment for that conversation.

Consumers are living, learning, connecting, and buying on the Internet. So anyone who wants to sell or promote a product in a competitive market must be engaging their customers online. If your consumers or buyers are on the web, this is where you need to be. No matter how good your wine is, if nobody knows about it, it does not exist.

Social media gives wine producers the tools to talk directly with their customers, and build relationships online, which can translate into increased loyalty and sales. Wine is a unique product in that people actually want to talk about it. Therefore, I believe the wine industry has one of the highest potentials for success through social media. So why aren’t more wineries and vineyards embracing it?

The wine industry tends to maintain a very traditional market. Therefore, many wineries are hesitant to embrace new media. Though the adoption of social media by wineries has greatly accelerated, it is among the slowest industries to do so. Many wine producers need reminded that consumers – not critics – are the most important.

Wineries have the ability – through social media – to reach younger wine consumers directly and become just as influential on their buying decisions as the Wine Spectator or Robert Parker. If these consumers form a relationship online with your winery, they will be lifetime customers. This presents an amazing opportunity, and those who ignore it are going to be left in the dust by the wineries that are embracing it.

Wineries and Vineyards can also utilize social media as a means of building relationships with wine bloggers, reporters, and other community influencers who may then use their influence to positively promote the winery. It is believed that many wine bloggers have a larger audience than the wine spectator, therefore online bloggers and social media influencers provide a powerful promotional tool that should not be overlooked. By using social networking channels effectively, you can encourage tourists to visit your winery, advertise events, create fans, have online conversations, and engage in dialogue.

Since your consumers legitimately want to interact with you online, it’s important you give them the opportunity. There are endless ways of doing this, from encouraging user-generated content to asking for feedback or hosting contests/giveaways. The most important thing is humanizing your brand, finding your voice, and engaging with your consumers.

There are several online tools to help wineries get the most out of their social media marketing efforts. For example, I enjoy Vintank – an easy-to-use online dashboard tailored specifically to the wine industry. You enter your information and the dashboard notifies you anytime someone mentions your winery, your wine, or any of your other keywords. Listening and monitoring online conversations through dashboards is a pivotal aspect of any social media campaign, and therefore cannot be ignored.

Wine and social media have created an incredible force within the industry that cannot be ignored. From winery-hosted Twitter tastings to placing QR codes on bottles, the Old World trade of winemaking is increasingly becoming more social and embracing technology.

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