Social media is a marketing strategy used by every type of business and organization in today’s tech-friendly world. With the ability for global reach in an industry that naturally expands to every corner of the world, there are many reasons to set-up social outlets for your winery or wine club. If your clients are purchasing wine online, they are likely interacting elsewhere.

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Using social media means such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can have an impact on awareness and website traffic, which ultimately can increase your sales. While it does take a considerable amount of effort, having a goal in mind will help to ensure your dedication to networking is not wasted.

With Blackboxx, social networking functionality will let your clients know what profiles you use so they stay connected. Clients like Black Cloud Winery have gathered over 4,000 Twitter followers and more than 500 Facebook fans that can now engage with the winery.

Blackboxx additionally engages your members who have purchased wine through your site with a niche social network. Your customers can rate and comment on wines that they have purchased and received, share food pairings or serving suggestions and give general feedback. Use this as an opportunity to create a community within your own site while utilizing Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to drive traffic and awareness.

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Whether you are looking to build your brand and participate in wine culture or excel in customer service, social media can gather a community and audience for your wine club.  A post can attract a wine-lover on any continent, a potential client that without social media would be impossible to connect with. Be mindful not only of your contributions to your social page but also how they are received and what results are generated.

Wine Recognition and Customer Satisfaction

Forbes Magazine recently published “Measuring Social Media,” where results of social media investments from The CMO Survey are highlighted. The survey shows increases of followers and friends (+27.08%) from August 2010 to February 2013, as well as the “net promoter score” (+30.67%), which is built on how customers promote the company to their friends and followers.

Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey ultimately says “[social media] sharing… creates exposure, builds knowledge, generates attitudes, and ultimately prompts purchase.”

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As well, having the ability to connect with customers and attend to their needs via social media is increasingly becoming a necessity for any ecommerce business. Social Media Today posts that by 2014 customer “e-service” is expected to grow by 53% and that “refusing to communicate with customers via social channels will be as harmful as ignoring emails or phone calls.”  While you should have communication between wine club and members in all mediums, flowing with consumer trends will only increase their satisfaction.

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Facebook: The leader of social sites with over one billion users, Facebook has the ability to create a personal page with information about your winery as well as post pictures, videos, events and links to your club’s website and blog. Initially it may be difficult to gain followers; try running a promotion or competition to interested consumers. Because Facebook is excellent in bringing together an online community through Fan Pages, responding to questions through comments is a great way for everyone to witness your customer service. Make sure you note customer interaction on other wine-related pages; if you answer their question first you may direct a new client to a more engaged wine club. It is an open opportunity to easily communicate, reply to criticisms or compliments, get to know your clients and let them get to know you.

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Twitter: A helpful tool in engaging with wine-lovers, consumers, industry professionals and leading them to your profile and website. Hashtags (ie. #wine), retweets and following others in the wine world will help you connect and become a recognized name. Twitter is the second largest social network and very easy to use. Attending to the “Twitter-verse” can really underline how connected you are with the wine industry and wine consumers. Pay attention to what wine drinkers are asking about and give them an answer. Post your own questions and relevant, interesting wine news to get a reaction from your clients. Engagement is key to keeping customers interested. Ensure the staffer running your Twitter feed has access to check into customer issues. A question on shipping can turn into a social media win if responded to promptly and professionally. Show off your customer service.

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Instagram: Its ability to easily connect to other social networks makes this growing community of photos (40 million a day) very helpful in brand awareness. Instagram is simple in that you can snap a photo and share it with both Twitter and Facebook. This convenient smart phone app can show off your wine, winery and team members or prizes for your next competition. It also uses Twitter capabilities with hashtags, which you can use to connect with the wine world.

While you cannot entirely rely on your fans or followers to spread your name for you, regular social media participation can show them that you’re interested in the wine world, beyond selling your own product. Creating a schedule for consistent posts may help to stay on track and further optimize your reach. Thriving in social media will drive you ahead of the uninterested competition, as long as you stay focused on two or three mediums instead of spreading yourself thin.

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The wine industry as a whole is lagging behind other industries in network marketing. Beer and liquor brands have proved that building a heavy list of followers is possible. Heineken leads in social media with 56,000 followers and 11 million Facebook likes. Further, in June 2012, The Drinks Business reported that 47% of wineries in the United States said Facebook helped them to generate wine sales, showing that wineries do need to jump on the networking bandwagon.

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Making way for social media in your wine business plan can be a daunting task. Waiting for your page to spread and become popular takes time and you may have staff limitations or a lack of interest in putting together an online persona. However, as wine ecommerce continues to grow, value in connecting with consumers will only strengthen the industry and your wine club.

Engaging with clients has moved beyond the tasting room. Building relationships between wine still exists but increasingly from behind a screen. The ability to sell your products through an online store allows your social media marketing to connect new fans and customers to the wine experience you are offering. Using a next-generation ecommerce platform that is specifically set up for wine, like Blackboxx, is a must for any winery serious about converting social media “likes” into tangible results.