Getting the most out of virtual wine tastings

There are 3 virtual Australian wine tastings coming up at the end of March and early April are a golden opportunity for anyone who's in the wine business.  Wineries, sommeliers, retailers, importers and restaurants can realize ROA (return on attention) by following a few steps.

If you've never participated in a virtual wine tasting, the idea is simple—get a bottle (or bottles) of wine, taste and tweet along with other people at the same time on Twitter.  The reason why you'd want to participate is to capture the attention of participants while it's happening.  If the virtual tasting is planned properly, it's possible to have significant reach.

With traditional media, ad dollars are spent on reach.  If we run an ad in a magazine, we're paying for the reach of that magazine.  If we run an ad on television, we're paying for the reach of that station.

With new media, we can create our own reach through our fans and followers.  When virtual tastings are orchestrated correctly, we can create a wide reach by bringing together an audience for a defined period of time.  For #Cabernet day we had 3,000-5,000 participants who all had their own followings.  If we average each person with a following of 300 friends/followers a conservative estimate for reach was 900,000 people (3,000 x 300).  The upside is the community can scale up to an unlimited numbers.  The downside is once the tasting is over, the community disbands.  So we have to be ready to seize the opportunity.  Here's some tips for maximizing the reach before, during and after:

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1. Search the hash tag (listen)-

Search for each hash tag while the virtual tasting is going on to "hear" what others are saying.  Use Twitter Search, TweetDeck or kurrently to track the tag.  Personally, I like Twitterfall.com to put up on a monitor for others to see or TweetDeck on my laptop.  I watch to see what others' experiences are.

2. Prepare content ahead of time (share)-

Videos, blog posts, recipes or any other educational content can be created ahead of time, then posted during the virtual tasting.  For example, during the #YarraWine virtual tasting wineries can do videos about their vineyards, soil or climate then post them during the virtual tasting.  Because people are searching the hash tag, the content is likely to be seen by someone.  You may even end up chatting with them real time during the virtual tasting to continue the conversation.

3. Share real time experiences -

What wine or wines are you drinking?  Share photos of the label, including the hash tag.  Share your impressions of the wine, including the hash tag.  For example, during the #HunterWine virtual tasting I'll be interviewing winemakers in the Hunter Valley and posting the short vids online during the tasting.

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For wineries or wine shops wanting to sell wine there are different strategies on how to make it happen before, during and after.  Before any sales, coupons or offers can be made, there must be a level of trust with the online community.  The worst thing anyone can do is start blasting out offers.  If, and only IF the winery or wine shop is engaged with their community through lots of @ replies and one-to-one communications can they even think about selling anything.

If there's a healthy level of connection, then taste packs can be sold ahead of time.  If a winery is hosting a virtual tasting, they can offer wines on-site at a promotional price.  The most powerful use of new media is what happens after the virtual tasting.  A savvy winery or wine shop will make the most of the opportunity and engage as many participants as they can.  This is a targeted community of people who are participating—the community has already told us they like wine because they opted in to the tasting.  Create Twitter lists or maintain communication with participants to grow the brand's own following.

East Coast Wine Tweetup Tour in October

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I'm going out on the road and I need some dedicated wine drinkers to come help me drink some delicious wines.

Hard to believe how things unfolded over this summer.  On August 3rd, the Bakas family moved to Napa Valley so I could start my new role as Director of Social Media Marketing at St. Supéry winery.  The first 60 days have been a blast not only from talking wine and food all day, but also because #harvest09 was just beginning. In October, I'll be taking the winery tasting room experience on the road for the wine industry's first ever Tweetup Tour. I'll be stopping in each city listed below visiting restaurants and wine shops sharing the delicious nectar known as St. Supéry.   All are welcome as there is no charge to attend. St. Supéry wine club members will enjoy club member benefits at these events.  We'll have special guests, including our wine maker and chef, who will be appearing via U-Stream.

If you aren't able to be there physically, you can follow along on St.Supery's custom TasteLive page or Twitter using the #stsupery hash tag.  In an effort to get wine drinkers to taste along online, the winery has created "taste packs," 4-packs of wine sold at a discounted price.

St. Supéry East Coast Tweetup Tour (click on the city below to RSVP to that event)-

October 13th BOSTON Twitter Taste Live with Bin Ends Wine October 14th NEW JERSEY at Gary's Wine & Marketplace October 15th NEW YORK CITY Roger Smith Hotel October 16th NEW YORK CITY Harry's Cafe & Steakhouse in the Financial District October 20th ATLANTA at Murhpy's October 20th ATLANTA WINE SCHOOL hosted by Ed Thralls aka @winetonite October 22nd WASHINGTON DC at Pearson's (speaking at TWTRCON that day) October 23rd *to be announced October 24th ORLANDO at Gran Cru

Hope to see you there!  This is going to be fun so grab your tickets now...

Cheers,

Rick

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