The social winery, a strategy to revitalize the brand on the Internet (the case of Spain)

La Bodega Alicantina Bodega Social 01

By Iza Święcicka

A total of 10 out of the 38 wineries certified by Alicante Appelation Controlée in Spain had no active website in 2013. However, today, the presence of the Internet has become a must for businesses. “If we are not on the net, people even mistrust our existance”, Noel Carrión, director of the Masters in Community Management and Social Media Management, says. “Spain has been sleeping a technological nap because of the type of business which was being done here. There was a good network of contacts and someone could always help you. To sell a plot, construct a building or opt for a public competition, it did not force you to depend on technology “, Carrión says.

This situation has changed with the crisis. People have started to dedicate more attention and time to the Internet. According to the General Framework of the Media in Spain, 60.4 percent of respondents used the Internet in the past 30 days in 2012, while the previous year this percentage reached almost 65. “People have woken up and realized that there is much work to do. Social networks have been the last thing to come, but there were websites, blogs, e-commerce, web analytics and advertising on Google before. We need to recycle and learn skills that will help us in our business”, the director says.

“It is better that others speak about our product on social networks than us directly”, Noel Carrión says.

According to the same study, almost 89 percent of Internet users used this medium to find information. Therefore, “the digital marketing strategy of a company must start from your own website in which you should have interesting content for both your present customers and new ones”, Carrión stresses. It is also important that people have the ability to contact the company with messages on the website or via email.

Social networks

The report on the media in Spain in 2013 put social networks in fourth place, with 60.5 percent of users, following information search, email and instantmessaging regarding the Internet. “Technology is not a tool, but it has come to change the world. To skip this possibility of communication with the consumer is like going against the tide”, Ricardo Sellers, Marketing professor at the University of Alicante, says. But while social networks are not a direct sales channel, they can be used to listen and serve customers. “A path of sales is advertised in Google through the Adwords system or by placing banners on websites to let people to know about your company, but social network sare a relation space with the user, where the sale is always achieved with another person suggestion”, Noel Carrión says.

Noel Carrión believes the digital marketing strategy of a company starts its own website with interesting content for users.  /LBA

Noel Carrión believes the digital marketing strategy of a company starts its own website with interesting content for users. /LBA

This recommendation is being sought. Therefore, if a winery goes to a social network to sell its wine, that investment will not get much result. According to a report of the Wine Market Spanish Observatory (Observatorio Español del Mercado de Vino), 46% of Spanish prescribers indicated that sales or visits to the portals of wineries increased after posting an article on their blog or website. “It is better if others speak about our product on social networks than us directly”,  Noel Carrión advises.

In addition, social networks are a channel of engagement, the emotional bond that a person can hold with a brand or a winery, in this case. Social networks have changed the ways of communication. They are interacting and they are to talk to the consumer. It is a space, where information is provided and received. “By interacting with the client to generate more bonds and more brand recognition, it will ultimately help to make that the winery more known, and that the consumers consider it when they make their purchase decision. So this option should be the guide of action for the wineries on social networks”, Ricardo Sellers says.

“To skip the social networks as a means of communication with the consumer is going against the tide”, Ricardo Sellers says

Maintaining a website and working social networks are communication tools that do not require a large investment. “Social networks seem an ideal strategy in the Alicante province for small wineries, most of the cases are at family level, with reduced production, and few resources to invest in large communication campaigns in media like television or newspapers”, the Marketing professor emphasizes.

The real work and effort is to keep the interesting content in a social media account and respond to messages from people. If you are not going to look after these resorces, it is preferable not to have them, because you give an impression of disinterest for these platforms and for holding a conversation. As Ricardo Sellers advices, a Facebook page should not be opened just because the competition is doing this, but its goal should be visibility for customers who are on those platforms, and also the creation of a space, where the brand will interact. “The wineries would have to take in account that if they want to be on social networks, they should spend a minimum of time a week to mantain their profiles”, the profesor says.

Ricardo Sellers thinks that small wineries, with limited production and limited resources to invest in large campaigns, must focus their attention on the social networks. /LBA

Ricardo Sellers thinks that small wineries, with limited production and limited resources to invest in large campaigns, must focus their attention on the social networks. /LBA

But not everything is useful. Ricardo Sellers stresses that it is not recommended to put just anybody, who is not an expert in maintaining the social media networks or making website even if the person can handle Facebook and having programming skills. Although there is no magic formula, each winery can have a social network with a purpose or another, but if a general recipe is sought, it would be better to have a community manager, a person who is responsible for managing these networks, interacting with people and creating content for the consumer looking for their reaction to them. “The goal is not to open a profile and after only a month get results. You have to give time to our on line community to form around the profile. From then on we will be able to inform and tell them about ourselves, and they also can share with us too”, Noel Carrión says.

“Interacting with the client to generate bonds and brand recognition, so the winery will be better known”, Ricardo Sellers says

In addition, a company can obtain positive feedback with their customers congratulations, but also criticism for something that does not work well. From this perspective, we have two types of companies: those who are willing to listen and try to resolve complaints, and other who only want to produce and sell. The last one, when the customer complains, do nothing. “When customers have the power to speak and tell their opinions, a good attitude is to consider them, because, at least, they are the ambassadors that can make us go up or down,” Noel Carrión advises.

Any media is good because the desire of users to share their experiences is what moves social networks. “When I am drinking wine if I upload a photo to Facebook, it means, that all my friends see it. It’s like advertising on steroids”, Noel Carrión says. Previously transmission of preferences was done one by one, but now, it hits all of the friends on a social network at once. “Therefore, I encourage wineries and businesses, in general, to take advantage of the Internet. It is a world where it is easy to do more with few resources”, Noel Carrión concludes.

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