After a very long, restful holiday slumber, wineries have woken up with an urgency to contact us. And in lieu of their eager desire to connect with the online social world, I’d like to offer a few suggestions on how to get 2011 off to a great start.
Facebook and Twitter - Are you not on them yet? Still debating if they’re worth it? STOP DEBATING IT AND JOIN ALREADY! Your future customers are on these networks everyday -buying wine, learning about wine, and talking about wine – and if you’re not there, you might as well give up, sell the winery, and find yourself a nice job flipping burgers at McDonalds. At least at McDonalds, you’ll be rewarded for doing things the same way over and over again.
Plancast – Are you visiting wine fairs this year? Going to a conference or two? So am I, and if you’re on plancast, we’ll know about each other’s plans, allowing us to schedule a time to chat. Plus, this is a great tool to tell the world where you’ll be talking about your wines, which is not a bad thing.
About.me – This tool is for all you superstar winemakers and other “personalities”. It’s a one stop shop for all your personality needs. Check out http://about.me/ryanopaz and see all the great ways you can contact me and see what I’m doing. Now that you’re on the social web, let people know about who you are. Also you can now make a business card that is useful rather than including things like “fax” number on it.
Buy a Smart Phone – And while you’re at it, upgrade that laptop from 2001. The world is mobile, and so should you if you hope to sell wine in this brave new world. You have 2 choices if you want to really look cool and have success: iPhone or Android. That’s it, pick one and stick to it.
Youtube and/or Vimeo - A picture is worth a thousand words, but your face is capable of communicating a whole lot more. In this new year of 2011, we can put that face of yours online with little more than a handheld camera and a smidge of elbow grease. Do it. Show us who you are, what you’re about and why we should care!
Things to Stop Doing in 2011
If you are ready to change and begin selling more wine, building real relationships with your customers, you need to stop doing a few things to get off on the right foot.
Stop with the useless business cards! – Eliminate FAX and add WEBSITE, Twitter handle, and even your Facebook page to your business card. Tell people you’re online and easy to get ahold of. If, on the other hand, you do want to keep Fax on the card, please make sure to add Passenger Pigeon so that you at least complete the image of a 17th century neophyte.
Stop Sending Boring Press Releases – I do not want to get another press release this year that tells me how many points you got from Bob, Jancis, Mary, George, your brother in law, or the fruit vendor down the street. I pray that this year I can go without recieving any in my …. DAMN there come 3 right now. It’s wasting room on the interwebs and NO ONE CARES. Let alone, any writer who likes to rate wines themselves are not going to listen to you!
Stop working alone - Make 2011 a year that you reach out to a neighbor winery and begin collaborating to sell more wine. Bite the bullet, swallow your pride and begin selling wine right. You are one producer in a sea of producers. Team up with a few others and work together to build a team brand or a region as a whole. Sell your neighbor’s wine! Why? Because a rising tide lifts all boats.
STOP USING IE 6 – Seriously this is for all you wineries out there with computers from 2001, IE6 is dead. The web doesn’t work with IE 6 and we for one will not support it. It’s flawed, never worked, and in fact, is a danger to your company. Download something safe and fast like google Chrome or Firefox.
Stop whining that Robert Parker hasn’t rated your wines – We don’t care and hundreds of wineries sell their wines just fine without him. If he doesn’t rate your wines, consider yourself lucky, at least then you don’t have to clean up the following year when he doesn’t have time to get to yours and you’re left without a rating to sell with. Invest in your brand instead and do some real work, rather than play the Parker lottery like a mindless drone sitting at the wine industries version of a one armed bandit.
In summary, be daring and be dangerous in 2011. Step out of that safe little box and start interacting with the rest of the world. They are online, chatting up a storm each and every moment of the day. Participate, interact and collaborate!