THE BOOZE BIN
By Pia Mara Finkell (@piamara)
Based on a ‘Vint-ed’ post he wrote last month, Edward Deitch published an interesting article in Reuters today focusing on the stunning increase in social media use in the wine industry over the past year, mostly attributed to the effects of the economic downturn.
According to a recent survey conducted by the UC-Davis Graduate School of Management and the Wine Industry Financial Symposium Group® among California wine professionals (including wine producers, grape growers, distributors, retailers and others), the wine world is turning to mainstream social mediums, including Facebook, Twitter and blogs to help promote their brands and drive sales.
Here are some key findings from this study (comparing 2010 vs. 2009):
80% of the wine professionals use Facebook for business, up from 46% in 2009
64% use Twitter, up from 21%
52% write a company blog, up from 18%
41.5% use LinkedIn, DOWN from 60%
This is an industry, like many others, that clearly appreciates the power of all things social. With sales slumping at all price points and competition from imported wines on the rise, it is clear the California wine industry is devoting significantly more resources to communicating with existing and potential customers in the social sphere.
According to Dean Robert Smiley of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, those in the wine business are turning to social media during the down economy “in part because it is quite inexpensive. The challenge is to make use of it strategically without wasting time.”
The study also shows 54% of those surveyed felt Baby Boomers were the hardest hit in terms of wine sales. Social media would appear to be a good approach to reaching this audience.
According to a Mashable article on eMarketer’s Boomers and Social Media Report, Boomer usage of the social web is, well, booming. With more than 40% updating a social profile, up 15% from the prior year, and 73% maintaining a Facebook profile, wineries are apparently fishing in rich waters. Also interestingly, a mere 13% of Boomers are actively using LinkedIn, which paralleled the dramatic dip by nearly 20% of the surveyed California wine professionals’ using this social network. This perhaps demonstrates the industry’s value on their target consumer perception vs. networking with other industry members.
I suppose, also, there are only so many hours in the day, especially when you must first and foremost worry about making great wines.