Wine brands using Facebook get a crystal clear message from online followers: get social, but create a casual conversation with images and humour, minus the hard sell

Countless wine brands across South Australia will devour recent research conducted by the ABS’ Dr Steve Goodman, senior marketing lecturer and wine business researcher, as well as the University of Adelaide’s Dr Cullen Habel, adjunct marketing and market research lecturer, and Dr Rebecca Dolan, who did her PhD at the University of Adelaide. The great news is it’s not rocket science, but simply common sense.

Where previous research focused on the social media strategies that are effective in engaging Facebook followers from a wine marketer’s point of view, there was a distinct lack of insight from a Facebook follower’s perspective. Until now.

Customers want wine brands to get involved and be funny

Customers want wine brands to get involved and be funny

Dr Goodman and his team’s valuable research shows that the key to engaging with Facebook followers and getting them to share content is simple: get involved and humanise your brand. That means starting a casual conversation that’s funny, and telling them more about you, and what you do. But whatever you do, don’t do the hard sell. Because people aren’t Facebook ‘friends’ with wine brands to get product information. In fact, too much product information puts them off. They just want a casual, human conversation. And it doesn’t even have to be wine or brand related (though you do need to see to what extent your customers are engaging with you).

To start a conversation, wine companies need to learn more about their followers and encourage them to engage. So they need to ask questions that invite them to share their interests, or what they enjoy doing. And to generate an interactive, engaging conversation, they can’t hit ‘post’ and walk away, especially if their followers are giving great feedback. It’s important to stay around, check back and join the conversation. As one research participant noted, “The brands just don’t get back into engaging with people when they ask a question – even when people are being really polite. So I have noticed that sometimes it seems a little bit pointless to reply, because they’re not really taking those comments seriously”. Wine marketers should not miss this perfect opportunity to engage in a two-way conversation. When they do, more people ‘see’ the activity in their newsfeed as organic reach increases.

What’s more, humanising the wine brand on Facebook is critical. That means talking to followers like they’re friends and letting the personality of the wine brand seep through every post. So the content of all posts is vital. Followers want entertaining updates and photos. And lots of them. Including pictures, memes and infographics. Because good humour and great visual content are more engaging and more likely to be shared. One participant said: “If it’s hilarious, you might share it, and your friends will see you sharing it and that gives them the validation that you know other people see that you like the company, and they might go and like the page too.”

If there’s one thing wine brands across South Australia should learn from this research, its’ this: keep it casual. As one of the focus group participants said, “Don’t take yourself too seriously, Facebook is a casual medium. You know, we aren’t in the middle of a photo shoot, and it’s not a competition. It’s just, casual and social”.
Using this research, the impact on, and benefits to, South Australian wine businesses will be immense. Quite simply, it’s now confirmed that wine businesses can get the most out of their Facebook followers by developing casual, engaging conversations with them, not necessarily about wine, and showing them the human side of their wine brand.

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