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Top 5 Reasons Spain and Portugal Can Succeed at Social Media

grapes1000After my last post on Iberia’s state of success using social media, I received several supporting emails and a few others who felt as if I was a bit tough on Spain. My intent was to write a post that motivated both countries to prove me wrong in my assessment that they are falling behind the times. Social Media, the Internet and technology are the future, and in some places, the present when marketing wine online. There are two options for wineries: admit its existence and discuss ways to approach the internet, or bury your head back in the sand and ignore it while your neighbors charge ahead.

So today, I want to tell you, the consumer, and any producers out there who may be listening, why the Iberian culture can will succeed upon the adoption of social media. There are several opportunities and natural ways in which Spain and Portugal can and will soar ahead. So without further ado, here are “The Top 5 Reasons Spain and Portugal Will Succeed at Social Media”:

  1. Stories and History - Social media is largely an exercise in storytelling. It’s a chance to share stories with your consumers, which hopefully, will foster an authentic relationship. Similar to when you meet a new friend, stories are swapped about your lives; thus, bonding and cementing your relationship. In that way, social media lets a wine brand create similar and profound relationships. Here in Iberia, I rarely find a winery who doesn’t have a story worth listening to. As I tell my clients, “The most boring task you do everyday in your winery, is often the most interesting story for others.” With centuries of history and a deep, breadth of culture behind it, stories are the number one reason every winery in Iberia should embrace this unique medium.
  2. Social Culture – Both Spain and Portugal are highly social cultures. And while the Spanish culture is one of meeting out at sidewalk terraces with neighbors and friends, the Portuguese tend towards the opposite, hosting day long meals in their homes. Yet where cultures merge is that they both know how to have a good time. Often, this trait is forgotten when someone tries to get into social media. They think it’s a formula to figure out and not a natural behavior to engage in. In reality, social media is what you’ve been doing offline your entire life, and those who succeed at it are the ones with a desire to make new friends and have new conversations. And similar to the “real world”, if you go on and on about yourself, people tend to shut down. Online this rule also holds true. You may be promoting your brand, but you also need to be a curious, interested in the conversations that occur around your brand. For an Iberian, this is easy. They are always interested in what is happening in their community and transferring this mentality online should be simple.
  3. Rich non-wine culture – Social media is about life and putting your product at the center of your consumer’s existence. However, most consumer’s lives are not about wine. For them, wine merely acts as a backdrop to their day to day experience. Thus, as a Social Media maven at your winery, use your rich world experience to draw upon so as not to bore your consumer. The best winery bloggers talk about their lives with their wines as a backdrop. Both Spain and Portugal are lucky in this respect, with amazing cuisine, rich histories and diverse cultures. Clearly, there is more than enough information to keep your consumers coming back for more. If I was a winery blogger in Iberia, I think I would have more trouble deciding what not to write about than what to talk about. Remember: what is mundane to you is interesting to your readers!bottles1000
  4. Ability to adapt – Currently, there is a lot of wine out there. Much of it is bulk, and surprisingly, much of that bulk wine is of a very high quality. This is a huge advantage! Why? In the world of social media, there are loads of opportunities to create niche brands, and fun one off campaigns, with all of this extra wine. It would be easy for any winery to create a label with user input, or do an experimental blend available only to your subscribers/readers. Social media requires that you adapt fast. And Iberian wineries have an enormous opportunity to jump ahead of the trend and create a very unique blend with the vast amount resources at its disposal.
  5. Passion – Maybe this one is too obvious, or maybe not, but to do social media well, you need to have a passion for your subject. I have seen far too many media agencies try to run a social media campaign based on ideas and numbers. And not surprisingly, it’s failed. While I’m sure someone will point out an example of success without passion, if you are passionate, you’re already ahead of the game. After spending 5 years traveling around Iberia talking to wine makers and grape growers, the passion exuded every time we sit down to taste wine is positively infectious. This passion is what may be the reason why Iberian wineries can succeed. Get online and share that passion. Granted, your experience may feel a bit rough around the edges at times, but don’t worry. That roughness is what makes you human and your product approachable. Without it, we won’t feel as if we’re getting to know the “real” you. Wine is passion, and your consumers drink wine to tap into that passion. Share a bit of yours and you win!

Spain and Portugal can succeed at Social Media, if they jump in with two feet and simply start sharing. Catavino can only tell so many stories, but if the wineries we love begin to share their stories, then we all win.

Don’t forget wineries, if you have a question about social media, simply ask us. We’re here to help you get your voice heard by the rest of the virtual world!

Cheers,
Ryan Opaz

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  • http://www.vinixa.blogspot.com Vitor Mendes

    Great article Ryan.

    Once more you get to the center of the question. This could be a very good sign, because in the last couple of weeks, i´ve seen the pages of Portuguese wineries growing on Facebook! For me, this is really a sign of some changes. Although they don´t know very well what to do or to say, the fact is that they are changing the mentality, and trying to get in the “train” of Social Media! People like us, can help to direct their efforts, in order to get them to spread the word in a more effective way. But the main thing is, like you very well said, to talk about our culture, our social habits, and tell the stories behind the day-to-day work, because that´s exactely what people want to hear from producers!

    Keep the excelent work my friend!

    Cheers

  • Emilio

    Hi Ryan and Gabriella, great article and i really hope for the wineries in Iberia, and for you too, that your 5 top reasons will convince many wineries to start with social media asap. However I feel that wine retailers should reach out to wineries as well. I hope I can make a difference soon. Keep up the great posts!!! Emilio

  • http://www.franklintello.com Franklin Tello

    Hey Ryan, thank you for a great article!

    I very much agree with your point of view, and this is the reason I haven’t been very surprised when I analyze different markets and realize that Spain is doing really well in Social Media. Yes, there is still much to be done to educate companies, but the wave is definitely starting to happen.

    I specially liked this: “In reality, social media is what you’ve been doing offline your entire life, and those who succeed at it are the ones with a desire to make new friends and have new conversations.” Although only a small part of your post, it is great to hear other people who also believe in this.

    I believed we’ve only touched the surface of what’s to come. Pretty excited about the present and even more about the future. Thanks again and I look forward to reading more from you guys. Un abrazo,

    Franklin

  • http://www.cortesdecima.pt Carrie Jorgensen

    As the first Portuguese winery to start a blog more than a year ago (with the support of Catavino), my own experience of social media, confirms your statement – “Social media requires that you adapt fast. And Iberian wineries have an enormous opportunity to jump ahead of the trend….” HOWEVER, as you do NOT point out, that is precisely why there are NOT MORE Portuguese wineries engaged in Social Media yet! “Jumping ahead of the trend” sounds very optimistic. It would be good enough just to see more Portuguese wineries developing their social media profiles, as Vitor Mendes says they are starting to now do. Great!

    • http://www.ryanopaz.com Ryan

      Good point, any step is better than none! :)

  • Ben

    Well said –it’s also simply a good idea to make extra information accessible to us consumers via the web. I’ve heard that supermarkets sell more total apples when they stock more varieties of apples. I have to think that this same dynamic could work for Portuguese wines, given their diversity. But with so many unfamiliar grapes and regions, the consumer needs to learn a bit before he or she will act upon this natural curiosity. The wine world is full of fascinating diversity, culture and history, yet it remains so impenetrable to the average consumer that we just go back to the bottle with a wallaby on it.

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