After a fascinating conversation with some winemakers at Taste Washington last weekend, I was prompted to hold an informal poll about luxury wine brands on Twitter. I posed a simple question to wine industry tweeters and bloggers: “Should luxury wine brands use Twitter as part of their social media strategy?”
At the time, I did not provide my opinion, but I will now: My personal belief is that luxury wine brands should use Twitter as part of an overall social media strategy. But success depends on how Twitter is used. In my opinion, Twitter is an extension of a tasting room – a way to listen to customers, share information and build relationships, brand loyalty and brand advocacy.
I think this holds true for all brands – from large corporations to small wineries. For example, a few months ago, I authored a white paper on how Fortune 100 companies use Twitter. While 73 percent of Fortune 100 companies had Twitter accounts, about three-quarters of those accounts did not post tweets very often, and 52 percent were not actively engaged. And 26 percent only used Twitter as a one-way stream to broadcast information, rather than to listen and build relationships.
In my informal Twitter poll earlier this week, almost everyone shared my opinion. Within a couple of hours, 20 people (from Washington state, California, Texas, New Jersey and Oklahoma) responded in 33 tweets. It was an almost-unanimous yes – but the reasons were diverse and a great discussion took place in 140 characters!
My favorite response came from Paul Mabray in Napa: “Twitter is a utility like the phone. Every brand should answer the phone. How u answer is the key.”
Tom Wark, also from Napa, gave this wise response: “Yes. But it’s not the vehicle for communication that counts. It’s the message and the recipients.”
Other people – whose experience ranged from winemakers to wine bloggers – believe that all brands can benefit because Twitter can help wineries:
- increase brand awareness
- engage with customers
- build brand loyalty
- connect with the younger demographic of future wine enthusiasts
- build a social media presence for marketing purposes
- leverage the accessibility provided by Twitter
- reach audiences of all economic levels
- cost-effectively reach journalists
- expand value to current and future customers
- shape the brand’s future with real-time feedback
- maintain reputation
- influence the “special occasion” bottle purchase
The results were “almost” unanimous because Tom Lee agreed that while luxury brands should generally be on Twitter, there is one exception – the luxury brands that produce small quantities of wine that will sell out by virtue of reputation and do not participate in any kind of marketing. I agree with Tom.
So thanks to all of you who participated in my informal poll – pmabray, joelvincent, NWTomLee, tomcwark, RickBakas, nectarwine, winebeerWA, WineInkByTia, vinotology, hardrow, avvwinery, hornOKplease, writerkathymcd, winebratsf, fieryonetoo, SFDoug, dreawinetrain, Shona425, wino4ever and HughL.
Let’s continue the conversation!