Best practices on Twitter: Wine industry

13 07 2009

Monica Guzman of the Seattle P-I said, “How businesses use Twitter is an inherent contradiction.” She referred to businesses’ priority to sell vs. the Twitter community’s priority to converse. However, there can be a balance where businesses converse and maintain a conversation to the benefit of their bottom line. The following wine industry organizations have performed some best practices on Twitter.

Murphy-Goode: Tweeting from @areallygoodjob, Murphy Goode launched one of the latest and greatest social media contests on Twitter. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Murphy-Goode, “devised a dream job – $60,000 and lodging over six months for one savvy social media wizard to make the Healdsburg winery the talk of the Internet. This online “lifestyle correspondent” would blog, tweet and generally sing the praises of Murphy-Goode’s vineyards and wines.” The New York Times, Today Show and LA Times also covered the story. More than 2,000 applicants applied, according to a June 26 Murphy-Goode press release announcing the top 50 applicants. From this perspective, the social media was a best practice.

However, Murphy-Goode is now receiving backlash for not being transparent in its applicant selection process. When contest front-runner Martin Sargent was not selected as a finalist he tweeted, “Thank you all for your tremendous support! But I am not included in the top 50 candidates for @areallygoodjob. Congrats to those who were.” That tweet received more than 2,200 Diggs in just over two weeks. In their Digg comments, people were upset by the unclear selection process. Murphy-Goode quickly went from being praised by the media to receiving negative remarks, such as “Murphy Goode has absolutely no clue what they’re doing” and “Murphy Goode is banned from my cellar and table.” @areallygoodjob is still a best practice for its ability to create excitement in a brand on Twitter, but it’s also a worst practice for not playing by the #1 social media rule: Be transparent.

Guy-Jacques: In The Cluetrain Manifesto, Doc Searls and David Weinberger said, “Your company needs to engage in the new market conversations. Conversations occur in human voices. Your voice is the public expression of your authentic identity, of who you really are, of where you really come from. So let’s draw the logical conclusion: on the Net at least, your company can’t engage in the market conversation without its authentic voice.” Guy-Jacques tweets from his own account, @guyjacques, to promote Vinivino, a wine social network. This level of intimiacy and transparency lend to his success. People talk to and hear from Guy-Jacques rather than the network he represents.

He has no gimmick or contests related to his Twitter account. Rather he utilizes all of its uses from a design perspective:

  • He identifies himself as co-founder of Vinivino (transparency)
  • The Vinivino brand is included in his profile background.
  • He tells people what Vinivino is about in his profile background: “A wine enthusiast community where you build Wine Journal, review and rate the wines you taste. Keep track of your wines with the ‘My Cellar’ tool…”‘
  • He surpasses Twitter’s limited, single bio link and includes additional links in his profile background to promote his blogs.

In addition to a well-designed, informational Twitter profile page, Guy-Jacques uses Twitter conversationally to promote the social network. As a result, he has 5,711 followers to his 6,186 following and ranks #2 on WeFollow under the “winery” category. This is a huge audience for an individual and reflects his best practices on Twitter.

Eagles Nest Winery: With 6,182 followers to its 6,736 following, @eaglesnestwine ranks #1 on WeFollow under the “winery” category. There’s good reason why. From a design perspective, Eagles Nest includes all of the right information on Twitter: who’s who, blog address, physical address, etc. Beyond a complete profile, Eagles Nest seperates itself from the rest with its engagement approach.

First, Dennis and Julie Grimes, owners of Eagles Nest use the “#wine” hashtag on nearly every post. This allows them to be searched easily using a simple and obvious search term. Second, they take Twitter beyond conversation and host “virtual wine tasting” and livestream wine tasting events at the vineyards. The latest, July 10 tasting is hosted on the Eagles Nest Web site. By incorporating offline and online components, Eagles Nest is enhancing the value of its Twitter account and differentiating its content from the next winery. Unlike many wineries, Eagles Nest also publishes its Twitter feed directly on its Web site so that people who are not on Twitter can still see their tweets. For all of these reasons, @eaglesnestwine is a best practice.

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4 responses

13 07 2009
Dennis Eagles Nest Winery

Paolo – Forgive this long folksy reply – it has practical business content too.

Thank you for the fair assessment and kindest of words. Beyond saying we’re real people & we’d rather be making fine wine, I bet many of our followers would be surprised to hear us say WE don’t like marketing and don’t like being marketed to 24/7.

So why are we using Web 2.0 / social media? (answer below!)

To balance the need to sell our wine and offer a luxury wine vacation lodging venue – we also have a compelling drive to “share the wine lifestyle.” As educators, we include a heavy mix of what’s happening in an around our vineyards, winery & in the larger wine world – in our 140 character Tweets & detailed blog posts w/ photos & videos – “Life beyond the bottle” as we call it – we hope the enthusiasm is catching!

The GOOD news – Eagles Nest is located in a wonderful winegrape growing region – California’s Ramona Valley AVA – close to San Diego. We produce award winning estate and Port-styled wines from our sustainable vineyards – see our sheep BTW!

The BAD news – Many say we are located in one of the most (wine) business retarded of Counties in the USA where a $250,000 plus fee is demanded for the privilege of a winery tasting room. To deny a Winery with vineyards a tasting room, is to deny a farmer a roadside fruit or vegetable stand – it’s simply Un-American but lacking lawsuits, they get away with it.

Eagles Nest was forced to go “extreme Web 2.0” to get our word out and direct sell our premium wines & our luxury lodging because there is NO lifetime return on investment (ROI) for a family owned winery with a $250,000 permit fee.

Don’t cry in your wineglass for us. It’s not ALL bad. We’ve met lots of really nice folks via Web 2.0. Free enterprise is what made America great and if allowed to continue, some day it will make America great once again.

In the mean time, we make fine wine and we “Feed the Web 2.0 Monster” as we send our warmest regards to our followers, future friends, and customers. Ciao! & Hey! to all those wonderful wine bloggers out there!!!

14 07 2009
Bob B.

We were in attendance for Eagles Nest Winery’s July 10th vitual wine tasting – a totally new and fun experience. Our short synopsis is the wines are very good, the hard work and inthusasium of the owners and hosts Denny and Julie Grimes is infectious, the venue feeds all the senses, and the Grimes 3 sheep (who have weed duty) are a kick.

If you are in the area, enjoy an intimate and relaxed wine tasting experience you owe your self this adventure. If you looking for a place to have or host a special gathering – you need to put Eagles Nest Winery on you short list of options.

14 07 2009
First Round: Best Practices «

[…] Paolo […]

21 07 2009
Week 5 : Positioning Twitter As Communication Tool «

[…] Discussion: Based on your completing Infotopia, what suggestions do you have for communicators struggling to understand Twitter? [Think beyond AmazonFail! see Second Round – Best Practices] ::  Jon: How your profile can increase transparency ::  Paolo: Best practices in wine industry – lessons […]

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