Every business misses opportunities in their Web presence, but for such a warm and fuzzy industry, I’m always surprised at the online mistakes wineries tend to make.
With hundreds of wineries starting up every year, there is an increasingly crowded market from which to stand out. Wineries need to use every tool possible to get their story in front of customers.
In my humble opinion, here are the 5 biggest online mistakes wineries have got to stop making if they want to succeed in getting noticed by media and consumers.
1. Not Setting Google Alerts
Google Alerts is an incredibly handy free tool that allows you to set your name, your wineries name, proprietary wine names, and any information about you or your region, and every time these words are detected by search spiders, Alerts will send you an email. How easy is that?
I use this service like a Reader tool, having set it to “wordpress”, “wine”, “blogging,” as well as my name, “Mari Kane.”
When I get an email alert for my name I can click on the link to the site and quickly learn what someone is writing about me. It’s like hiring spies to work overtime.
2. Failing to Comment
Once a winery has Google Alerts set to their name, they have no excuse not to comment on blogs in which they are mentioned. Because now they know when someone is talking about them.
Commenting on blogs that mention you or your wine is a great chance to do three things:
- Show you care enough to engage, while promoting the winery’s image
- Correct any inaccuracies before they have time to propagate
- Expand on any praise heaped on you and educate readers more.
Everybody’s hyper-tuned in these days, so ignoring posts about your winery is like turning away free publicity.
3. Withholding Personal Information on the Web Site
You are not just selling wine, you’re selling your story. Tell it.
Customers want to know who is behind the wine label, how you got your start, what insanity drive you to make wine. The stories you tell makes you seem more human than a corporation, like people customers might want to have a drink with.
People want to see captioned pictures of you and your crew so that if they show up in your tasting room they can recognize you and say hi.
If you don’t have a friendly face on your site and in social media you look like you’re hiding something. That’s why it’s one of the biggest of online mistakes wineries make.
4. Not Having a Media Section on the Web Site
Wine writers visit winery sites as much for research as anything else, and it’s so frustrating to have to hunt down basic information across numerous pages.
To make it easier for writers to write about you, every site should have well-marked navigation to pages that compile media clips about the winery, technical sheets about each wine, high resolution logos, labels, and photos of the bottles.
Not having those resources readily accessible increases the chance that media people may give up and use some crappy image pulled from Google Images.
5. Ignoring Twitter
This is the platform that helped launched a handful of revolutions as well as informing the world on umpteen disasters. Twitter is the most powerful social platform out there.
As a user, when someone mentions you using the “@” symbol, you’ll get an email notification from Twitter. When someone retweets your tweet, you’ll get a Notification or a Mention. Retweeting a tweet you’re mentioned may get you more retweets in the future, so retweeting is always a good idea.
With the use of some well-placed #hashtags, millions can follow your tweets without being your followers.
And the tools to control your tweets are too easy these days. Here’s a list of Twitter tools.
Even if you don’t send out tweets, it’s wise to respond to tweets that mention you. Riding on a Mention or accolade to promote your wine is one of the best uses of the tool.
Ignore Twitter at your peril.
But that’s not all
Obviously, there are more online mistakes wineries and other businesses make, but I think these are the biggies.
If wineries fixed these mistakes, the whole industry would look more transparent and more accessible. Customers love that.
What ways do you see wineries blowing it online and how do think they can improve their online presence? Please comment below.
A version of this article was first posted on Blogsite Studio in May of 2014.