Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Can Social Media Sell Wine?

Steve Heimhoff asks the question "Has social media ever sold anything, besides itself?" It's a great question and has prompted a good discussion on his blog.

There is a lot of evidence that making social media a strategic part of a winery's overall marketing mix makes good business sense. I've been working to create a concrete ROI for social media's use in wineries and in my research thus far I've have found a lot of evidence that a dollar spent on social media can be much more effective than a dollar spent on traditional media.

According to Nielson online we trust the recommendations of friends (90%) and online reviews (70%) a lot more than traditional media (62% and lower). A good wine review from a friend is going to influence me more than a good review by a known wine critic. Forrester's recent Social Technology report found that the prime wine buying demographic of 35+ year olds grew their online participation by 60% last year prompting them to conclude:
"... marketers can now safely create social media marketing for people ages 35 and older."
In a recent survey by Viralvines.com on Twitter use in wineries, in answer to the question "How has your presence on Twitter helped your business? 96.4% responded that "It has helped us engage more with our customers"

Furthermore the conversation about a winery's brand is happening even if a winery chooses to ignore it and that carries a real risk of negative effects. According to Nielsen BuzzMetrics 25% of search results for the worlds largest brands are links to user generated content. This extends to niche brands as well and a bad review without the appropriate response can have long lasting effects.


Fred said...

Richard: what you have here is a few bits of directional statistics and some intuitive thinking but no real data that directly links sales to social media.

This puts social media in the same camp as awareness advertising, public relations and word-of-mouth marketing. Which is to say: an okay thing to do if you have the extra bandwidth but no substitute for targeted, measurable, offer-driven direct marketing.

Lest I mince words, the answer to Steve's question is "no."

Richard Treadway said...

Here's some real proof that social media sells wine and how it's done. Thanks to christopherswinecheese http://bit.ly/mzTII