Can 2010 be the year the wine industry goes from following to leading in social media?

by TrevR on January 6, 2010

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Way back in the Fall of 2006 we thought it would be fun to launch a Napa Valley-focused blog. Surely there were already dozens of them out there we thought.

However, after doing a bit of research, we were shocked (OK, maybe appalled is the better word) to find the number of such blogs could be counted on a single hand.

Fast forward to 2010 and things have certainly changed, albeit relatively slowly. Sure, there are now thousands of winery blogs, there’s a strong and growing community of wine industry-related Twitterers and just about every winery now has the obligatory Facebook Fan Page and/or YouTube channel.

The thing is, in many other industries all these things are merely table-stakes at this point. So, can 2010 be the year the wine industry goes from following to leading in social media?

Check-in: On 1/5/10 Foursquare announced that users can check-in and play from anywhere, creating a huge opportunity for Napa Valley-based businesses

With the state of the economy it seems not a day goes by where we don’t read a headline about high-end Napa Valley wineries struggling as demand has slipped dramatically or how some wineries are trying ‘new’ marketing tactics to help drive sales.

There seem to be quite a few opportunities for the wine industry to lead in 2010. Here are just a few examples.

Cross promotion and partner marketing
You’ve spent all this time and energy building your following on Twitter and Fans on Facebook, why not do some serious cross promotion and/or partner marketing? Just looking at the Napa Valley there are loads of restaurants and hotels who are actively engaged with these social networks.

Why not tag-team to promote and host events, run contests, giveaways, solicit visitor feedback, photos, videos, etc.? Why not promote your presence on these channels prominently on your website, in marketing blasts AND in the tasting room? These types of things happen on a daily, if not hourly basis in other industries, but we see surprisingly little from the wine industry from where we sit.

OwnIT–Your Wine Your Way
Another obvious step has to be managing how your wine is represented online. That’s why you should get to know OwnIT if you don’t already. In short, OwnIT enables you to enter your product information in one central database and then sit back and have that information distributed across mobile applications, online retailers, social networks and beyond. This is afteral where more and more consumers are getting their information prior to purchase. Simple, yet effective and much needed.

Blending online and offline activity is powerful–that’s why we think the guys at Foursquare are onto something big. The company, which is all about allowing users to find new ways to explore a city, announced yesterday that people “everywhere” can now ‘check-in’ at their favorite local places.

That means the Napa Valley is far more accessible to users and businesses today than it was at any point previously. While there are loads of businesses in other regions doing some fun and engaging things for users, we sure haven’t seen any Napa Valley establishments taking the lead with this emerging platform to-date.

Given the 400+ wineries and countless restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, spas and other activities, it won’t be long before this becomes a missed opportunity. Now’s the time to dive in and do something innovative. Time to lead, not follow…

It will be interesting to see how much, or perhaps how little, things have changed one-year from now. Any predictions?

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, OwnIT, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, wine industry, social media]

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About the Author

has written 726 posts on The Cork Board. He was born and aged in the Napa Valley and has a passion for wine, writing and social media, which led him to co-found this blog in early 2007. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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