With millions of online users posting content from all over the world, you might worry that your own lone voice doesn’t matter. However, studies have shown that even a handful of wine bloggers can have a meaningful impact on the wine market. A few years ago, South African winery Stormhoek wanted to step up its social media game, so they decided to send bloggers free bottles of wine. The winery never asked the bloggers to write about the wine, but more than 100 of them did so anyway. After that grassroots campaign, the winery saw an increase in sales from 50,000 cases per year to 300,000 cases, all because of those bloggers’ posts. When you write wine reviews on social media, or just ask for opinions, you start a conversation about wine with your friends and receive valuable information in return that can improve your own collection.
Why Write Wine Reviews on Social Media?
Writing about wine online is a growing trend. The internet hosts more than 1,300 popular wine bloggers who cover a wide range of subjects, and it’s estimated that the top 20 of these bloggers have a combined audience that’s even larger than that of Wine Spectator. The key to these bloggers’ success is engagement with their audience. Rather than passively reading about wine, readers get to interact with authors and each other by asking questions and getting feedback. You won’t get this from the pages of a magazine.
When you write about wines you’ve tasted and give your own opinions on wines, you also gain knowledge from your readers. Let’s say you love JJ Prum Riesling, and you decide to post about a recent vintage you tasted online. Your readers might recommend a similar wine that tastes a lot like JJ Prum that you can add to your cellar next time you’re in the market for Riesling. Another benefit of online wine reviews comes from the tasting notes themselves. Have you ever read a wine review and thought, “I still have no idea whether this is the right wine for me?” Writing about wine on social media helps you solicit reviews from the friends you trust. If you know your friend has a great palate, and they write a glowing review for a vintage, you can safely assume that it’s something special.
Writing about wine online also lets you build your network and find opportunities that your fellow collectors don’t have. Wine sales manager Katie Leonardini says she loves rewarding wine bloggers for writing about wine on social media. Her winery holds contests, offering winning bloggers free trips to the winery, merchandise, or even complimentary wine. She says, “[It] isn’t about hundreds of thousands of fans, it’s more about the quality and conversation.” The winery tries to be educational in all of their posts, which she says earns them an average of four to seven retweets on every post. When you write about wine and interact with wineries on social media, you expand your knowledge base and you might even get some free perks as well.
Write About Wine on Forums
Where should you start writing about wine? The first place to try is an online wine forum dedicated to collectors. The best forums have active users who post at least one new thread or comment every day; this will give you the largest audience. After you create an account, practice commenting on a few existing threads before you jump right into your own post. This will help you understand the forum culture and rules, and it helps you pinpoint the users who are interested in the subject you want to post about, like California cult Cabernet or Oregon Pinot Noir. Always search the forum before you post your first thread to ensure that the topic hasn’t been covered before. When you craft your first post, follow the guidelines for writing excellent wine tasting notes and include photos whenever you can.
Write About Wine on Facebook
Facebook is one of the best tools out there for collectors, but be aware that not all of your friends will be receptive to wine talk. While more than 90 percent of wine drinkers use Facebook at least 6.2 hours per week, you need to know how to find them. Rather than posting a status update for all of your friends asking whether they enjoy a particular wine, target your posts to the people who will care. If you’re friends with a lot of wine aficionados, create a separate Facebook group where you can talk about wine together. Even if you know few wine lovers, you can search through Facebook’s existing groups to find your audience. Look for fans of a particular winery, varietal, or region, and get as specific as possible. The more specific the group, the more likely they’ll want to engage with you on the subject.
Write About Wine on Twitter
Every day, Twitter users post more than 7,000 tweets about wine. How do these users keep their tweets interesting? To start, they build a strong network of followers. Before you tweet about wine, search for the Twitter profiles that will be most interested in the topic. You can find your peers by searching through the latest wine-related hashtags on the site, finding the people who are talking about a particular producer or varietal. Follow the users who seem to talk about wine frequently, and if possible, message them directly to start a conversation, saying that you’d love to discuss wine with them. When you send messages, users are more likely to follow your profile in return.
After you gain some followers, ask short open-ended questions about wine or link to your posts on other websites. It’s a good idea to tag relevant Twitter profiles and use hashtags for each tweet. For instance, if you’re discussing DRC, it’s a good idea to tag DRC’s Twitter profile so that they have the chance to reply or retweet it, if they wish. If your tweet gets enough retweets, you’ll gain even more followers. The goal of Twitter is to build your network, not go in-depth about wine.
Write About Wine on Instagram
I rarely see collectors using Instagram to talk about wine, which is a shame because it’s a great platform for wine lovers. You should use Instagram like you use Twitter, networking with the wine enthusiasts that have the most followers. Unlike Twitter, you can direct your audience more easily to all of your other social media posts, attracting readers with an engaging photo, then telling them where to go for more information. Don’t just take a photo of the wine bottle you’re about to drink and throw it up on Instagram. Instead, try getting creative; take a photo of what a wine looks like before and after you let it breathe in a decanter; show the difference in color between a super sweet Sauternes and a dry Riesling. For every post, publish a photo, include an attention-grabbing description, then tag the winery’s account, if they have one. Use hashtags so that users can find your post in a search, and always link to your other profiles and blogs so readers can easily find out more.
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