Wine 2.0 is alive and breathing, and with it comes a plethora of companies working to build social networks around wine. All of these companies do one thing great - bring awareness of wines to more consumers. Moreover, the service they provide helps consumers make buying decisions based on peer reviews.
With so many brands and so little information or ability to test every one,we hope all these new communities thrive as they help consumers help each other bridge the gap to buy more wines (both on and offline). Additionally, if you are a winery in limited distribution or have winery only products - where are they going to go? To your website to buy the product. Wineries should support these communities strongly and even encourage your customers to comment on your wines at their favorite social network site.
There are so many of these companies launching that I only have time to name a few (if I left your company out, please comment):
How will these communities help wineries succeed?
- More brand awareness. Any consumer can put your wine up to review and the entire web can find it in multiple places. In fact, Gary V. at Corkd.com has done an incredible job and when you Google a particular wine, Corkd’s reviews tend to come up through his powerful SEO efforts usually in the top 10 and sometimes in the top 3.
- The power of recommendation has been STRIPPED from the traditional rating magazines and now is firmly placed in the hands of consumers. No longer are you dependent on one single reviewer, but the masses in aggregate will judge your product.
- Helping customers find your wine through powerful search (snooth.com), or through keywords (like food pairings), or through similar taste profiles (tastevine, bottlenotes).
- Interconnecting consumers who share similar tastes and organizing micro (and sometimes macro) audiences that communicate through word of mouth about your products.
- Community content to help consumers understand wine (winelog) and learn more so they try more after being educated.
- And much, much more (plus things we haven’t even thought about yet that will emerge as these tools become stronger and more prevalent through other larger social networks like facebook, myspace, flickr, and more).
My recommendation to you as wineries is engage with all of these. Pick your favorite and support it strongly. Use both your advertising dollars and recommend your customers to use it to rate your wines. Tell them make friends with other people who also like your wines. Give away your content to them en masse. Yes, give it away - all your tasting notes, all your recipe matches, jpg’s of your labels, all your wine information - just give it to them.
Become part of the community (but disclose that you are ITB - In the business). Use it as a tool to communicate one on one with people that like your wine. They are right there. Right in front of you. That is what is great about these communities, you have visibility into the people that rate your wine. This is the 101 of direct sales - finding your audience and communicating with them. You now have incredible visibility to who likes or dislikes your wine and a vehicle to communicate with them. Use it to convince the naysayers differently. If they hate tempranillo from CA and you make a great one (www.paradorcellars.com makes a killer one), engage with them and work to convince them. You may wine an advocate who will shout your name from the top of buildings.
Direct sales for wineries have their window now to engage and own the channel. You just have to turn your attention to it and it is yours for the taking.