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For social media success, do what the wine industry does

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For social media success, do what the wine industry does

Published: December 1, 2009

Producers, distributors, marketers, equipment manufacturers, and representatives from just about every area of the domestic wine industry have embraced social media strategies with plenty of enthusiasm. What have been the results of this emergence in such accessible technology that is still new but clearly powerful? And what does it mean for the rest of us?

Here are five ways you can benefit from what the online wine world has accomplished. In short, do what they do:

1. Boost your involvement in a trade group. What could be more thrilling! Hey, whatever the field, we all love schlepping to annual national association conferences and trade shows, right? (Is it in Vegas this year? Then, no. We don't.) But what if the new paradigm for what is too often less than thrilling suddenly seemed engaging and fun? Would you go more often, make more contacts throughout your field or industry, or at least find more motivation to participate in face-to-face events? Users of social media are transforming that experience, in many fields.

A great example is the second annual Wine 2.0 Expo* in New York City a couple weeks ago, where more than 1,000 people connected around all manner of new ideas and digital sales strategies for the wine industry. And just had a good time, apparently. But more trade groups of all types are making use of Web social networking technology to boost participation in and value of live events. When you can easily connect with an active community online throughout the year, showing up in person seems easier and, well, even worth it.

2. Find your community online. Wine groups online, formal and otherwise, are multiplying fast. They mix consumers with industry people, experts with amateurs, serious and silly. One of those is TasteLive!,* which describes itself as 'a direct link between consumers and winemakers, no filter, no middle man. Never before have consumers had the ability to directly interact with the producers making wine and beer no matter where they are in the world.' Think about that: Never before.

3. Can't find an online community that suits you? Create your own. Facebook and Twitter are among the few leading first-generation social Web tools that have drawn such wide participation because of not only their vast reach but for their capacity to quickly build small communities as well. One example is Twitter's new high-end tool with the fancy name: 'Lists.' Twitter wine-focused lists are everywhere. Connect to one or two or 10 that have already been created, or start your own. A couple searches, and there you are. Then just like that you can interact with those passionate about what you are passionate about. In seconds.

4. Become an instant expert. This is one I have been critical of, since the Web makes it so astonishingly easy to create the image, real and otherwise, that you are a noted force on your subject, field, industry, business, whatever. But made use of in a way that is, well, sane, the power of this characteristic of the social Web cannot be denied. Many wine-oriented sites are gorgeous, smart, engaging. One of our favorites is Vinography,* which has deservedly won a slew of awards. Not a great touter of your brilliance? Then get good at sharing what you are learning. That tactic alone, using any social tool out there, will earn you followers and friends and commenters. And the value of all this is simple: Socializing and networking and connecting brings value to you when there is a big value-add to the world. So get blogging on what you know. Check out this post from the Small Business Matters blog on getting started.

5. Be an informer. Not a meformer. The Miami Herald reports* on a new study that reveals the two types of Twitter users: 'The majority, or 80 percent, were what the researchers called 'meformers' -- Twitter users who sent out messages that revolved around themselves, updating others about their activities or sharing thoughts and feelings. The other 20 percent are 'informers' -- people who were actually sharing information. Not surprisingly, the informers tended to have larger social networks and be more interactive.' Online wine lovers, regardless of the type of site they are using, love to share and share and share. Links, gossip, news, knowledge, opinions, tips, advice. Be an informer. And you'll benefit big from social media use.

Craig Colgan is a writer and blogger covering technology and media based in Washington, D.C. Find him on the web at CraigColgan.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ccwriter. His email address is craigcolgan (at) ymail.com.

* This link is to a non-government site.

Message Edited by CraigColgan on 12-01-2009 10:21 AM

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thanks for sharing this great information!

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