Tag Archive - Online Communities

Should We All Quit Facebook? Not Yet (IMHO)

Don't quit, Mike!
Image by SuziJane via Flickr

Last week, the brilliant Josh Hermsmeyer at Capozzi Winery (also known as @PinotBlogger) posted a controversial post entitled: Why I Quit Facebook, And Why Wineries Should As Well – it is well worth a read.

Josh manages to combine a great marketing mind with a brilliant passion for making wine, great technical knowledge and an ability to communicate (yes, a bit of a hero to me). It is just a shame that I may never get a chance to taste his wines. However, his posts are always worth reading.

Having said that, I disagree with him on this one.

The conclusion of his post is summed up as:

Bottom line: Even if you never plan to advertise or otherwise leverage Facebook’s “social graph,” You do not want your brand tainted, even by association, by the sh*tstorm that is engulfing Facebook.

His argument is that the kinds of activities that Facebook has been accused of entering into should not be condoned, and that if you are a winery (or any business) on Facebook, you will be tainted by it by association:

… there can be no doubt that the risks of maintaining a presence on, and thus providing a tacit endorsement of, Facebook far outweigh any benefits you can possibly think to imagine. Act accordingly.

You can read his report and plenty other reports out there about what Facebook is accused of doing, but essentially it seems to be about breach of trust. In his view, that breach is so serious that he simply cannot be part of the network. That is his decision. It is also the conclusion of many other influential individuals such as Jason Calacanis and many thousands of others.

I respect Josh’s principled stand. In the comments he says:

Even if you are using Facebook just to have a conversation where your customers are, you are tacitly endorsing the medium. I can’t do that any longer. I owe the peeps more than just looking out for my brand’s interests.

My actions are communicating to them louder than any wall post what I value, what Capozzi values, and where we draw the line in terms of where commerce ends and a trusting, worthwhile relationship begins.

Wineries who are on Facebook may well be there simply to engage with their customers around the world. This is still one of the best places to do that, even if I do recommend that this is just a means of taking that relationship elsewhere (like a winery’s own blog).

Essentially, I don’t believe that having a business presence on Facebook “tacitly endorses” whatever may or may not be going on behind the scenes between Facebook and their advertisers with our data any more than running a local wine shop “endorses” dubious commercial property deals by banks.

Wineries NEED to communicate with their customers, and if the customers are on Facebook and are willing and eager to engage there, then wineries will have a presence there. IF there are privacy concerns, there is no “ethical duty” to disengage with the network. It is not the business’ or brands’ role to make decisions for their customers about these things. As long as they are part of the network they can & should lobby for things to change and do their best to communicate this to their friends and customers.

“The REAL issue is that this is a closed network that is trying to justify, and monetise, itself …”

As I write this I hear that new privacy arrangements are being made by Facebook. I’m dubious that this will quell the discontent fully.

The REAL issue is that this is a closed network that is trying to justify, and monetise, itself by getting bigger and offering even more options to everyone. I don’t believe it can do this without getting too complex. It is getting so big that the revenues it needs to achieve become astronomical, encouraging “extreme” behaviour. We need to keep an eye out and complain, but not necessarily run away.

There is a precent for this. AOL grew exponentially by educating millions of us about the internet. However, eventually we grew tired of the walled playground and we left it for the more exciting WWW. Facebook introduced many individuals and businesses to the Social Web. The time will come when many of them will cut the apron strings and venture off into the wider social world. But not yet.

——————-

Please read Josh’s full post AND the comments. This is a wonderful example of what kind of conversation a blog can create. This is Josh’s topic, but anyone can respond, disagree or agree, and he engages with all of them to clarify and refine the message.

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Value of social media tools: a wine label example

Do you doubt the ability of Twitter to offer valuable and tangible business benefits? Then check out this little example.

I was at the Wines from Spain tasting today and I met Sarah. In fact we were already “friends” on twitter in our various alter-egos as @thirstforwine and @bottlegreenltd but had not really met in person. In any case, this twitter-enabled chat encouraged us to taste some of each others’ wines, and in the process I was asked what I thought of this label:

Knowing that such things are subjective, I thought I’d ask for wider input, so I shared the photo with twitter. Within 20 minutes, I had 15-20 responses to be able to gauge a more general view. In this case, unlike my own personal luke-warm stance, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Check out some of the reactions below (some are not included as the messages are private):

  1. JohnG
    quaffability @thirstforwine I do like. Very nicely executed. But my first reaction is that it’s vermouth, and I think that is a problem.
  2. ryanopaz
  3. Duarte Da Silva
    wineboffin I like it. RT @thirstforwine: http://twitpic.com/17xb65 – A new ‘retro’ Rioja label. What do you think? Like?
  4. Justin Liddle
  5. Fields Morris Verdin
  6. Champagne Warehouse
  7. Somewhere is Jeannie
  8. Joanna Harris
    joanna_h85 Love them!! RT @elliott_people: @thirstforwine – Bottlegreen are a great company, fab people and product!
  9. Golly Gumdrops
    GollyGD @thirstforwine It’s attractive, but at first glance I’d think – ooo is that Cafe Rouge’s new house wine label?
  10. Seven Springs Wine
    7SpringsWine @thirstforwine Yes I like it, different, standoutish on the shelves, looks a bit ‘devilish’. Tim
  11. Emma Blackmore
  12. Laura Lindsay
  13. Int'l Wine Challenge
  14. Àlex Duran
    AlexDuran_ Fine! RT: @thirstforwine: http://twitpic.com/17xb65 – A new ‘retro’ Rioja label. What do you think? Like?
  15. Richie Roberts
    RichieWine Great label… RT @thirstforwine: http://twitpic.com/17xb65 – A new ‘retro’ Rioja label. What do you think? Like? (via @wineboffin)
  16. Nayan Gowda
    vinosity @WineChallenge @thirstforwine I would say more Nouveau than Deco, but I also like it a lot.
  17. Chris Carter
    ccarter126 Classy RT @thirstforwine: http://twitpic.com/17xb65 – A new ‘retro’ Rioja label. What do you think? Like?

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

How about that for value for business? With a properly planned out strategy for getting input and feedback from fans, friends and consumers in general, twitter and other social media tools can be very useful without being complicated or time-consuming. And they can be fun too!

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Divide and Conquer

Demoiselle Vranken
Image by thirstforwine via Flickr

Apologies for another in a line of short hiatus on this blog. Once again work and family take priority over my online musings, and the good news is that there are lots of interesting projects underway – I just can’t find the time (except just before midnight) to share much about them.

Other than the 2010 EWBC (have you signed up yet?), my priority at the moment is to do something a little contrary. I am considering splitting off some of my content from this site to a separate ‘home’ on Posterous, so that I can then re-integrate it here, but as a separate area. As someone who (tries to) blog about marketing and wine in the UK, I also get invited out to wine tastings, dinner and trips and I want to find a way to allow readers to select those parts of most interest to them. I also want to find the easiest ways to make sure I get you the fun stuff faster and more effectively, hence using posterous (if you have not checked it out, do!).

After that, I will try to properly integrate other content streams so that this site, or something like it, can bring more of my ramblings together in one place.

So, this place may seem a little quiet for a bit, but if you really miss me, you can check me out at any of the following places:

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Can you make money on twitter from wine with breakfast?

If you have ever heard of Twitter, whether you have joined or not, you’ll probably recognise the truth and comedy in this (click on the image to go to original site and make it larger):

Tweet Your Breakfast

Tweet Your Breakfast - from wheres my jetpack

In summary;

Twitter is really a waste of time because it is full of people with nothing better or more interesting to do than tell you what they had for breakfast.

TRUE! and FALSE!

Yes, there are a lot of people who are talking about what they are doing, what they like, dislike and want information on. Some of it is trivial, some of it is not. But, and this is a BIG BUT, you would be wrong to assume it isn’t valuable.

First, consider that we are all preening social animals, so what we project on twitter says something about us and how we want to be seen. It is important to someone.

Second, it is a shared activity that builds networks of friends and contacts who might then go on and do what you might consider “interesting”, so there is always a benefit in it

Third, let’s put an entrepreneurial hat on for a moment. If there are around 3-4m twitter users (recent estimate) telling you what they are buying, eating and drinking for breakfast, is this not UNBELIEVABLY useful for breakfast providers: coffee brands, cereal brands, diet snake-oil-salesmen, media companies and more?

In fact, I’d go so far as saying that breakfast tweets (and their like) are the most monetisable elements of twitter. No joke.

If you are a wine producer you should already be searching and monitoring the Twitterverse for mentions of your wines or even your direct competitors’. If they are doing it with breakfast, they are probably also doing it with lunch (#lunchtweet) and dinner … including what they drank (the audience is definitely skewed towards a wine drinking profile, see some stats here)

If they mention your wine, the users are doing your word of mouth marketing, FREE. They are also potentially spreading bad reviews (maybe because of corked bottles or poor retail experiences) or misunderstandings about your product or brand. You can easily address these by responding in a timely way. You don’t even need to spend much time on twitter for this benefit, just set up an alert and you’re done. The information comes to you. This is a fantastic opportunity.

If they are not talking about your wine, why not?

The full benefit of Twitter comes from getting involved and becoming part of the many informal networks. There are wine bloggers, wine merchants, journalists, collectors, wine makers and wine consumers already there. They exchange information, link, reviews, suggestions and advice. There are plenty of opportunities to contribute, for example participating in online chats, online wine tastings, or maybe offering a unique view of your wine region. Could you not afford a little time to contribute and therefore also share the benefits? If you do, please link to me (@thirstfowine) and send me a tweet

Twitter is only a tool, still with a limited reach, but a potentially very useful one.

Things to do NOW:

  1. Search for your brands and key terms on Twitter
  2. Check out some wine twitterers (or visit my page and link off to others that you find interesting)
  3. Sign up for an account – OWN YOUR NAME!
  4. Respond to customers in a positive way – but don’t preach or ‘sell’ (not until you have twitter street cred)
  5. Join the fun. Follow some people and get to see how it works first hand
  6. Spread the word and get other interesting people involved

Image above borrowed from Where’s My Jetpack - check it out!

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