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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

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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.

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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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