THE BOOZE BIN
By Pia Mara Finkell (@piamara)
I’m a sucker for a bargain.
Though my mother is an avid shopper of the abundance mentality (the experience is something like supermarket sweep), I’ve always taken more after my father in this regard, whose great purchasing success stories tend towards “Check out my new golf shoes! Normally 50 bones, but I found them on sale at Sears for 5 bucks…not bad, ay?”
So, you can see why I got so excited to unlock the Newbie Special at Jefferson Vineyard this weekend and receive an offer for a free tasting! I’ve lived in Virginia wine country for a little over a year, and this was the first local winery I’ve seen take advantage of a Foursquare deal. It was only 5 bucks, but I literally felt like I hit the lotto, and it made my tasting experience that much more fun. I was impressed and will definitely return.
It got me wondering how many other regional wineries and breweries are using social media to help promote their small businesses. With often modest marketing and advertising budgets, social media offers these producers a way to engage their customers and reach out to potential customers without breaking the bank. It may take man power, but what is starting a new business if not time consuming?
In addition to Jefferson’s use of Foursquare, here are some other interesting ways regional wineries and breweries are using social media in their marketing mix to help their businesses thrive in a difficult economy and a competitive market:
Finding the Social Media Marketing Mix at Savvy Cellar Wine – Not forgoing traditional marketing, such as email blasts, Savvy Cellar lives up to their name when it comes to social media, using just about every form to help promote their winery and tasting classes, including Facebook, Twitter, mobile marketing, blogging, RSS feeds, Flickr and YouTube. According to Paul Rosenfeld, the CEO of Fanminder and a local business marketing expert, Savvy has developed and engaged a Facebook following of over 1,600 fans, and co-owner Brent Harrison sees “a cork-popping 32% redemption rate for his standard mobile offer of 25% off a flight of wine.” I agree Paul; I’ll toast to that!
Personalizing your Brand with Geolocation Mobile Marketing at Bridgeport Brewery – Already engaging fans on Twitter, Bridgeport gets an A for creativity in taking their social efforts to the next level. According to The Daily Pull’s Brady Walen, Bridgeport put a face to their brand in the social sphere, developing a character and host of local Portland Bar Crawls, the Hop Czar (also one of their beer names). By creating a seperate Twitter handle for the Hop Czar and tracking his bar crawl route on Foursquare, Bridgeport found a fun way of simultaneously personalizing their brand, engaging their customers and driving sales. Not bad for a little Portland pub crawl.
Community Involvement and Word of Mouth Marketing at Keswick Winery – The voice behind Keswick’s social media presence is winemaker Stephen Barnard’s wife, Kat Schornberg. Increasing event attendance and brand awareness through her Facebook and Twitter activity, Kat is on her game. She says it best in an interview with local Virginia wine blogger Dezel at Wine Spot:
“I think being involved in social media is really important for wineries, especially in Virginia where most of our wine is sold through our tasting rooms directly to consumers versus through distribution. Anything you can do to help keep your customers more involved and let them know how much you appreciate them is crucial.”
She goes on to say Keswick’s social presence has helped drive “brand loyalty with customers because they get to know the inside scoop on everything that is going on here and get to feel more like part of the family, which is ultimately what we want every person who walks in the door to feel like!”
Smart girl. Couldn’t have said it better myself.