Why New Zealand Wine Should Get Serious About Social

Social media is no longer the shiny new toy. It is now ingrained in the daily lives of increasingly connected global consumers. It is an exaggeration to say that everybody uses social media these days. However, of the 7.2 billion people on the planet, 2 billion of them have active social media accounts. Even more significant is that 1.68 billion of those are active on mobile social media!   

Those statistics are incredible. When in the history of your wine business have you had an opportunity to connect with almost a third of the world’s population? Whether or not you want to engage all of them, well that is a different story!  Social media is both a wine marketer’s dream as well as a nightmare.  It has offered immense opportunity to connect directly with wine drinkers, trade and wine influencers across the globe,  but it has also made communicating your wine story and message effectively,  increasingly complex.  


Social Media Global Snapshot



Prior to making purchasing decisions of all kinds, your customers are active on social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and increasingly Pinterest. No longer is the question -Should you be engaging with your existing and prospective customers on social channels? Instead it is How effective is your engagement strategy? 

  • How well are you engaging on these channels?
  • How are you developing trust and meaningful relationships with these wine customers?
  • How fast can you adapt to change in order to ensure that your wine brand and business stand out in an increasingly competitive market?

Social media is a serious business opportunity

With 2.8 million New Zealanders connected to the internet and 65% of those engaged in social networking, this as a serious business opportunity. If you have doubts as to the importance of social media, here are some other global social media statistics to consider:

  • Facebook has 936 million daily active users and 798 million of those are engaging on mobile. (Facebook)
  • Instagram has grown to 150 million+ active users,  adding roughly 50 million users in the second half of 2013. This underscores the growing interest in creating and consuming visual content. (Instagram)
  • Pinterest drives twice the website referral traffic of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined.  (Shareaholic)
  • One in three consumers say social is a way to discover new brands, products, and services.  (eMarketer)

New Zealanders Connected to Internet

Be prepared

One of the biggest obstacles for many wine businesses when it comes to social marketing is fear! What will happen if I unleash my wine business to the world of social media? What are people talking about? What are they saying about my wines? How am I going to control that conversation?  The simple truth is you can’t control those conversations, but you can play a valuable part in them. If you want to be able to influence someone, then you need to be interested in what that person has to say, listen to and also offer your opinion.

Make no mistake, conversations are going on about New Zealand wine in general and possibly your wine brand, every day, on multiple social platforms. Do you care enough about the future of your wine business to join them? Can you contribute something of value and meaning to that audience? Most importantly, are you giving people something to care about or something to talk about? Let me give you a hint…what medals and awards your wine wins is not the most engaging talking point!

The role of planning

The best way to combat fear of the unknown, is to be prepared. When it comes to social media you must start with a solid social media strategy. If you invest time to think about the how, what, why and when aspects of engaging with customers through social channels, it will offer you deep insights into how to achieve success. It will also offer you insights into how to grow your wine business. Social media strategy will be explored in more detail in future blog posts. 

Too many wine businesses think that social media is a quick and easy tool to blast press releases about awards, and endorsements or other wine information out to a large audience quickly. It is no wonder that they don’t believe that social media is not working for them and they don’t see a boost in sales or any brand love. That is quite simply because they are still using a ‘push’ marketing strategy whereas social media is part of a ‘pull’ strategy. Kathie Bartley and I will discuss the difference in more detail in the wine seminar

The importance of having a brand story

Whether you use social media to sell wine, gain email subscribers for wine events or cellar door promotions, or to sway the hearts and minds of existing or new wine customers to encourage them to seek out and enjoy your brand, these people have got to know who you are.

  • What is your story?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What makes you different from every other wine brand available on the market?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, how do you help customers choose your brand? Leading social media strategist, Peg Fitzpatrick shares a really great blog post on what to consider when developing your brand social media persona. She highlights that the biggest question to answer when crafting a social media persona is “Why should your ideal customer follow you on social media?” 

Social media offers you an amazing ability to encourage actions through relationships conversations and trust that your brand will build over time. You can’t achieve this unless you come to grips with who your brand is.  This has to be more than New Zealand Wine, Marlborough, or Sauvignon Blanc. It has to go deeper that Family Estate, Single Vineyard or Premium. It lies in the very heart and soul of your brand story.  

Your potential customers are online, connected on social channels and they’re actively searching for what you have to offer. If you’re not leveraging the channels available to you to get your wine in the palm of their hand and making it easy for them to connect with you, your competition is. It’s time to get serious about social. 

If you have already established your wine brand on social media, but are not getting the results you want, or if  you need to engage on social platforms and want to kick-start your social marketing the right way, then you should attend our workshop The New Age of Wine Marketing in a Socially Connected World It takes place at Wine Marlborough offices on Thursday 20th August. You can confirm your seat here.

In Kathie Bartley’s latest blog post on KB Wine Marketing, she adds additional context to some of the topics we will cover off in the wine seminars. She discusses why the new set of challenges wine marketers face in the way wine is marketed, sold and distributed is even more reason to attend this seminar to ensure the future success of your wine business and brand. 

If you have any questions about the seminar for either Kathie or myself, then please feel free to add them into the comments below and we will be delighted to answer them.