What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer Marketing

If there is one marketing trend that has accelerated this year, it’s influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is working with individuals who have a large following and high engagement to help spread your brand’s message. It’s a form of third party referral that has audiences everywhere paying attention.

In fact, 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.

That is exactly why brands should consider influencer marketing when planning their social media strategy. So, how do you do that?

Find Influencers

It starts with finding the influencers. Start by searching industry hashtags on Instagram or Twitter. You can also use a number of social media listening tools. Then create a spreadsheet or use a CRM to track their names, handles and number of followers by platform.

Build a Relationship with Influencers

Once you have identified potential influencers, start to build a relationship with them. Connect on each social media platform and be sure to like and comment on their posts. Remember, by being "social" on social media, you can build long-term relationships.

Partner with Influencers

After you have built a relationship with an influencer, reach out to them via direct message or email, to inquire if they would be interested in partnering with you. Working with influencers around a product launch or for general brand awareness are both tactics to increase organic reach.

When partnering with influencers, be sure they are aligned with your brand messaging. Influencers should be like-minded individuals who’s following will find value in your product.

How Much Does it Cost?

Not all partnerships are paid, but many are. The more “influence” or following, an influencer has, the higher their fees may be due to demand. Celebrities endorsements are a great example of needing a higher budget, whereas, working with a micro-influencers, (someone with a smaller but engaged audience), could possible trade product for a post.

Establish your budget and amount of product you can dedicate to sending influencers before reaching out to your list.

Create Guidelines

Be sure to create guidelines for your influencer partnership. The FTC has strict endorsement guidelines to show transparency in sponsorship. For that reason, Instagram recently released new Branded Content Tools which allows brands and influencers to communicate sponsored posts and track analytics. We recommend requiring the use of these tools for any influencer marketing campaigns on Instagram.

Interested in working with influencers for your brand but not sure how to start or manage the process? Work with us and gain access to our Influencer Marketing Database.

Wine Harvest offers a Gold Mine of Social Media Opportunities

Wine Harvest and Social Media

It’s September, which means, wine harvest is about to be in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere. For wine marketers everywhere, this is a juicy time of year. (Pun intended). For those specifically in charge of social media, this time of year is a gold mine for content possibilities.

While timely posts of harvest activities, from the blessing of the first grapes to early morning picks, are appropriate, harvest also provides a huge opportunity to capture valuable content to be repurposed throughout the year. Take these examples:

Food and wine pairings 

If food and wine pairings are of value to your followers, harvest helps to elevate this conversation on social media. Capturing crush activities from destemming grapes to fermentation, creates an opportunity to speak directly to the interplay of acids and sugars, and their impact on food. Create content that illustrates food pairings from the fundamentals in a whole new perspective.

Similarly, show behind the scenes photos of what the harvest crew is eating for staff meals. Invite your community to vote on which wine they should pair with the meal.

Winemaking

If your winery has a strong messaging around the details of winemaking, it is imperative that you capture as much content as possible. It’s no secret that video is increasing in popularity, so grab your camera and film every element of the winemaking process. Each stage of the winemaking process from harvesting the grapes, to fermentation, to racking, can be developed into bite sized educational videos. As Winemakers tend to be a little busy this time of year 😉, once harvest is over, work with your Winemaker to include voiceovers. Have them speak to the details of your unique process. Then, create a social media campaign using these videos. Heck, you can even include it in emails and on your website.

Another idea could include setting up a camera high above the cellar and creating a time lapse video of the day’s activities.

And, another idea, (cause we can’t stop!), is a day in the life of an Assistant Winemaker or Enologist. Have them do an Instagram Story takeover and let followers get to know the people behind the glass.

Education

If your winery has a strong emphasis on wine education, create a video or photo series that chronologically tracks a wine from start to finish. Create a video of your signature label being produced, from the time the grapes are harvested, to the time it is bottled. Show the value and level of attention that goes into making your wine. This content could be repurposed at points-of-sale such as your website, at a release party, or in your wine club emails.

Entertaining

If the above components aren't in line with your brand, or maybe your brand is more spunky or sarcastic, use harvest imagery to create an entertaining video. This could come in the form of highlight how messy harvest gets or telling harvest from the perspective of grapes -- seriously! Think about, what would the grapes say after spending all that time on the vine developing only to be smushed and fermented?

Regardless of the content you develop, we’re all fascinated by how things are made. Use harvest as an opportunity to tell your story. The ideas are endless!

By incorporating a content plan into the harvest season, wineries can leverage content year round to bring customers closer to their product. The more creative you are, the more you will stand out amongst your competitors and attract new customers.

Need assistance in creating your harvest content plan? We invite you to get in touch, we’d love to help!

Why Social Media isn't a Cakewalk

Social media isn't a cakewalk

Ask any social media professional and they will tell you that developing an authentic following on social media is no cakewalk. There is no “quick fix” or magic hashtag that makes you an instant success on social media. While our news feeds move quickly, it doesn’t mean that social media for your business should be a scramble. It’s about owning your social media process.

It is critical to be strategic to build brand awareness, community, and yes, sales. But if you approach social media solely as an injection to your bottom line, you won’t see ROI on your social media.

So what should your social media process look like?

  1. It starts with knowing your brand inside and out. Create a brand book or style guide that outlines the look and feel of your brand online. Be sure to include language guidelines for phrases to be used and words not to be used.
     
  2. Know your audience. Knowing who you are speaking to will help drive your content creation. Dig into your customer avatar and go beyond the standard demographics of income, family size, location, etc. Ask “what websites do they visiting?” “Which social media platforms are they most active on?” “What products do they buy?” “What they do on their weekends?” The more information you can gather, the better you can serve your community.
     
  3. Have a strategy. No business should be on social media without a strategy. Social media should support your overall marketing objectives and business goals. Create annual, quarterly and monthly goals.
     
  4. Create monthly content calendars to stay consistent and anticipate which content you need to create. Knowing what you need ahead of time will allow time for a photo shoot or writing that next blog post. If you are in need of a content calendar, download our free template here.
     
  5. Execution and Community Management. Once the posts are planned, don’t post and run. Stay and respond to comments, engage with influencers and answer questions as it relates to your area of expertise.
     
  6. Measuring results. The last key to having a strong social media process is to measure results. When creating your strategy be sure to set some KPIs (key performance indicators), to assess which content is most successful and which isn’t performing as strongly.

By taking charge of your social media process, you own the conversation being had with your customers. Now, that does that mean you can’t outsource some elements of the process, such as content creation, but by taking charge of your social media strategy, you will be happy to eat cake to celebrate each milestone of success.

Want to set up this process for your business? Get in touch or download our Social Media Checklist to get started right now.

How to Empower Your Social Media Team

Empower Your Social Media Team

No matter if your social media team consists of one individual or 10+ people, having a social media workflow will empower your team to drive social media results.

Systems and procedures create an established protocol allowing your team to focus on strategy and the creative for upcoming campaigns.

So what protocol should you have in place to empower your social media team? We’re glad you asked. Here are 5 ways to empower your team:

1.Brand Guidelines

Having a robust brand book creates an established baseline for communicating your brand promise and what it represents. A brand book also houses creative details such as RGB colors, font(s), image templates, and the language to use or not to use.

This last part is very important. Often times, a brand book will contain words and language that identify with the brand, but by taking it a step further and identifying what words not to use, you further empower your team by not leaving anything up for interpretation.

For example, with Twitter's 140 character limit, it can be difficult to shorten a message to fit a post ending with, “You can find all of our products on our website.” By shortening this to “U can find all our products on our website,” this might not be in line with the brand and could devalue your message. Outline these details in your brand book to make sure each message is of high-value and on-brand.

2.Established goals and strategy

Create annual, quarterly and monthly social media goals with actionable steps. It is very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of social media which makes it even more important to take a step back and evaluate the larger, overarching strategy.

3.Have an Established Social Media Workflow

Do you have a social media handbook which outlines the flow of content creation all the way through to recording the results? Who is in charge of which platforms? Community management? Design? Post creation? Post approval? Advertising strategy? Budgets? Influencer partnerships?

Establish a flow from start to finish which outlines each person's responsibilities so there is never a misunderstanding on who is checking notifications or scheduling posts. This will ultimately help you better serve your online community.

4.Use Social Media Tools

Having the right tools in place will help you automate what you can. This might include websites and/or apps, which help you edit photos, schedule posts, monitor hashtags, monitor followers, and create reports. Establish what your top priorities are and research the best tools to help your team.

You can always email us and we are more than happy to share our favorites. Or download our Social Media Checklist for instant recommendations. 

5.Ongoing education

It’s no secret that social media is ever changing and evolving. Just in the past few months, there has been an increasing amount of updates. Having strong social media procedures in place will allow your team to be nimble and apply your brand messaging to any platform. This is also why building in dedicated time for your team to have ongoing education is important. This could be in the form of online trainings, in-person trainings and or subscriptions to publications, etc.

The more you can set your social team up for success, the more ROI you will see from your social media.

Ready to empower your team? Our Social Media Training might be right for you.

What is the ROI of Social Media?

Wine and Social Media

If you are a savvy winery owner, marketing or brand manager, you might be asking, “What is the ROI of social media?” or even “How does social media serve our brand?”

These questions are ones that have long plagued the wine industry since social media became a marketing tool.

To help answer these questions, we can look to data. According to a recent study released by Facebook, connecting mobile use and beverage purchases, one third of people use Facebook and Instagram in restaurants and bars. And of that one third, more than 50% of those patrons reported trying a drink that friends and family posted about on Facebook. Knowing that there are now 2 billion Facebook users worldwide, that is a significant amount of people recommending beverages on social media.

Granted, wine isn’t the only beverage being recommended. This means a portion of these posts are related to beer or liquor. However, this study also reviewed the top hashtags used on Instagram during both April and May 2017, two of the top five hashtags were #wine and #drinklocal.

So let’s build a hypothetical situation. Let’s take that 50% of restaurant and bar patrons who are ordering a drink based on a social media recommendation and divide it equally between wine, beer and liquor. That means, 16.6% of people who see their friends and family post on Facebook purchase wine in a bar or restaurant as a result. Can you imagine if your winery held just 1% of the total recommended? That would have a significant impact on sales.

But how do you attribute that 1% increase in sales to social media?

While data can show us results based on specific activities, there is still the “social” element to social media which can’t always be tracked. Take for example, networking. What is the ROI of networking? You attend an event, meet new people and possibly get new business. But, for the most part you meet new people and increase your brand awareness, meaning more people know who you are and what you do. You don’t have an exact ROI but you invested time and resources, (business cards), into the transaction.

Your social media presence is much like networking. You are posting and creating dialogue with your current and potential customers. Yes, you might gain web traffic which leads to direct sales, but you are also gaining brand awareness. For example, if your winery hosts a Facebook Live Q&A with the winemaker and a new fan comments with a question, which then the winemaker then spends 5 minutes answering in detail, you have now provided huge value to this fan. Now let's say, two days later, this new follower is in a restaurant and sees your wine on the list. They decide to purchase a bottle because they were so impressed with the Q&A and the time the winemaker spent educating them on their winemaking process. Not only that, but they take a photo and post it to Facebook recommending your wine.

Is there value in that? We’d say so!

What if 10 people who saw your Facebook Live then purchased your wine in a restaurant or bar within a week and posted a picture to Facebook? This perpetuates the cycle and that hypothetical 1% could easily become higher, solely due to YOUR presence on Facebook alone. Can you imagine how being present on Instagram, Twitter and various wine apps could also help move the needle higher and higher?

And if you’re still not convinced, another study by Hootsuite shows that “fans who have positive experience with your brand are 71% more likely to recommend it to their friends.”

So what is the ROI on social media? It’s substantial and can be directly impacted by your level of participation. In the case of the wine industry, not investing in social media, literally means leaving money on the table.

By developing a strategic social media plan, your wine brand can gain brand recognition, build customer relationships, and create brand advocates who help strengthen your bottom line.

Ready to connect with your wine customers on social media? Let’s chat about how social media can serve your brand.