Here’s the question: Is it worth it for wine businesses to invest the time and effort into working with Facebook?
Short answer: If you care about the Millennial Generation, YES IT’S WORTH YOUR TIME. Every argument that I have heard to the contrary seems to be lacking some crucial and basic knowledge about the use of the social networking site. Let me fill in the blanks.
A (VERY) BRIEF HISTORY
Facebook was created in a Harvard dorm room as a student directory for the school. This was in 2004 and was originally called “The Facebook.” Within 4 months they had expanded out to 40 colleges. Mark was roughly 20 years old when he moved the company to Palo Alto the following summer and you can pretty much guess the rest.
Take a good look at the picture. This is the founder and CEO of facebook.
Facebook was created specifically for the Millennial generation by one of our own. This is very important to keep in mind. In reading and listening to wine industry social media-types rail on the uselessness of this network, I hear a basic lack of understanding in how my generation specifically uses facebook. From all that I’ve heard from these conversations, those with strong opinions tend to dismiss facebook as simply a way for old high school acquaintances to re-connect and play goofy vampire/mob/zombie games online. Which in all fairness may be exactly how they use the site.
For millennials, however, it is much more. I’ll only speak for myself and my friends here, but to us facebook is a lifeblood of communication. We get to work in the morning, log into our email then log into facebook. This networking site is how we know who broke up with whom, who’s birthday it is, where people are going on Saturday night, and who just got engaged.
It’s also a very effective way to communicate privately via the “Send A Message” (which is an in-system email). Carol Phillips, a Marketing Instructor at the University of Notre Dame, clearly gets it. She is the president and owner of Brand Amplitude, LLC and the mother of two millennials. On her excellent blog, Millennial Marketing, she states “I completely change my habits when communicating with Millennials. To reach my daughter and son quickly, text is the only way to go. My teaching assistants? Facebook messages. I once sent my TA’s Amazon gift certificates to their email address. It took a suggestion to their Facebook account to look for it before they even noticed.” You can leverage this effectively by tagging your fans in your notes & posts.
When you create a page for your winery or business on facebook, you allow others out there to become your “fan.” Let’s say we’re facebook friends and you just created a page for your winery, FB WINES. I’ll see on my newsfeed that you’re a fan of FB WINES and I click on the icon. I’ll be taken to the page, where I can add myself as a fan. Done. You can also post it to your status or publish it as a note tagging basically everyone you know. It’s very simple to get your page out to your network, then THEIR networks will see on your friends’ profiles or in their own Newsfeeds that people are fans of FB WINES and so on and so forth.
Creating a page facebook is INCREDIBLY easy. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php a great guide on the new pages format is here. You can also reach a link to create a page right at the bottom of the login page at http://www.facebook.com .
There’s some initial set-up time – anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour if you’re a type-A like myself – but it’s completely offset by the benefits. Of all the Pages that I’m a fan of, 95% of them I added because I saw it on my Newsfeed from a friend or on their profiles. Once you get your page out there, let it work for itself.
Now, once you’ve got some fans you can have as much or as little fun as you want, but remember, the more you update it, the more your name will be out there in the facebook community and the higher your chances of gaining more fans. You can add events and invite people, upload photos of new products, even just updating your status message will bring people to your page.
This isn’t just for wineries, by the way. A great example of a retailer taking full example of a facebook page is Silverlake Wines. This is a local LA wine store that embraces the younger generations (millennial and x) of their neighborhood and greater LA. Customers are rabid fans and jumped all over their page. Next time you are on facebook, I encourage you to check it out, become a fan and see just how they’ve mastered the medium. You can link directly from their page.
Now that we’ve de-bunked some of those myths, get out there and create your page. If you’re having trouble with decisions on what to include, do a quick search and see what else is out there. Or you can grab the nearest millennial – odds are they can offer some valuable insight.
And feel free to comment with a link to your shiny new facebook page so I can help you get the word out and become a fan. Best of luck and have fun!