A Social Media Suggestion

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Last week I suggested that the way much of the trade uses social media is not all that  effective – and buy that I am not referring to individuals but more to organisations. The issue here is that to do well on Twitter for instance you need to be able to be part of a conversation rather than standing on your soap box and shouting. To do that you need some access to twitter regularly and that means time. Time as we know is money and for many in the industry the short term gains from that are so unknown that they are unwilling to go down that route.

Here’s a thing though – it wouldn’t cost anyone much money to do it, it would be semi-independent and wouldn’t take up much time. The idea is not mine I hasten to add – it’s come about after a twitter conversation involving Jamie Goode, Bianca Ford from Yapp, Stephanie Searle from The Wine Society and others talking about Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014. It all came from a review that Jamie gave of the wine which rated it highly, there were some who questioned his judgement on it, but Jamie stood his ground. Others waded in, and so Jamie quite sportingly suggested everyone pop to Tesco, the wine was on offer then, and buy a bottle, return at 8pm and taste together using the #sundaywinelive tag.

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It was quite fun, there was some serious tasting, Jamie dug out some pictures and a video of the estate, people larked about a bit, various people, mainly Jamie did some fun impressions of other wine writers – so we got his tasting note written how he would write it but also how others might do it… So all in all it was pretty relaxed and not an air of seriousness about it.

Then people started to ask about doing it again, but at the time nobody was willing to arrange or organise or take the bull by the horns to get it going. And that is a massive chance (I was one who ducked my head down when talking about it so I am as much if not more culpable than any others) to start doing something with the power to really reach people going to waste.

So here’s the thing, it would be really easy to organise. You just need a willing blogger, who picks a wine they have tasted and liked recently BUT that has good national distribution and then once a week, once a  month or whenever (Regularly though), and using that hash tag, or another suitable one for them and plans a tasting calendar, publishes it well in advance so that people can buy and join in and off they go.

But here’s the thing – as a ‘nobody’ in the world I have maybe 500 followers – I don’t hunt down followers, I’m not after a massive audience personally – but it means that I would not be able to do  something like this. That said if the industry, or at least people within the industry got involved almost anyone could.

Here’s how.

1. A Blogger decides to go for it – they pick their day, their hash  tag and so on.

2. They release details of when they are going to do the tastings, what the hash tag is and so on.

3. Brand owners, national retailers and so on come together to tell people about it. After all if the blogger is recommending Tesco Finest Swartland Syrah why wouldn’d Tesco back it if it costs them no money.

4 Brand owners could also submit wines for consideration for inclusion (the blogger would need to be able to make the call on inclusion or not), but part of the deal should be that if you want the wine included you tell your followers about the tweetup.

It is really very very simple, costs  nobody (except wine drinkers) very much and will engage people. You see the first  one of these was done on the hoof, and attracted a small number of people (who were all well engaged with it) but this is something that could easily snowball. It might take a year to really get going but if the various elements of the trade supported it I see no reason why it wouldn’t make some noise in the long term.

There are then ways to take it one from there, the blogger could move into live video broadcast, or even  live video conference with a selection of other tasters viewing online (this again has been done – but as far as I know only once).

Generic bodies, retailers, brand owners and distributors could all support the channel which in turn could generate copies and spin offs all of which add to the overall consumer engagement experience.

Here is the thing though – it won’t happen. Why not? Because I am not sure there is a willingness to to support a venture like this, from either retailers or brand owners. If it’s done on one persons back and they feature their wine they may be happy to support it, but to help it get off the ground? I doubt it.

So here it is then. If you are a blogger or a tweeter and would think about making this something regular then I’d love to hear from you. I’d be interested in your comments but please also send me a message via the Contact Me page to tell me you are interested. If you are a retailer, brand owner, agent, distributor, importer or generic marketing body and would be interested in seeing if we can make this work then please also get in touch. If we can work together to make it happen it’ll be great.

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