How Social Media is Like Wine: Part 3

The Juice

In Part 1 of this three part series, we compared The Fundamentals of both winemaking and social media in setting the right foundation for success. In Part 2, we looked at the process from selecting the vines all the way to harvest and, at the same time, outlined three components that serve to form and grow the core of a social media program.How Social Media is Like Producing a Great Wine

In this, the third and final part in the series, we will look at three final activities that can turn basic wine and social media into a polished and acclaimed results.

Press / Fermentation
Once harvested, the thousands of individual grapes are pressed together into a few large vats of juice and then the juice is fermented (the process of converting sugar to alcohol in which energy is released).  Many social media strategists will talk about engagement of users, but engagement alone simply isn’t enough. Just like pressing the thousands of individual grapes one at a time into thousands of individual vials of juice isn’t the most efficient way to make wine, simply engaging thousands individuals consumers in individual silos isn’t the most effective way to build a social media presence. The efficiencies and true release of energy lay in building communities; that is, enabling engagement among and between engaged consumers, not thousands of disconnected individuals.

Aging
After the press and fermentation are complete, the aging process begins. Whether in oak, stainless or other container, aging is critical to building the complexity of the wine. If bottled before it is ready, the wine will be substandard and the quality will be affected. The key dynamic here is patience. In social media, very rarely is the full impact of the work seen immediately. There may be early signs that social media marketing is working, but, like with the wine, patience is required to fully realize the complex results that social media can bring in brand awareness, preference and loyalty.

Testing
All along the way, proficient winemakers have been taste-testing. With each draw winemakers determine if they are on the right path to meeting the original goals or if some level of correction is needed. In social media, the proficient practitioner will also be analyzing along the way, looking at key metrics, understanding how all of the individual metrics impact the others and determining if the program is on the right path to meet its original goals. Just like one taste from one barrel isn’t enough to give the winemaker full information on the progress of the vintage, neither does fixating on a single data point give enough information to declare success or victory in social media. As sight, smell, taste, texture and finish all come together in a wine, so too must a social media practitioner look holistically at the right combination of metrics to determine the true impact of the program.

After all the planning, nurturing, sweat and patience, the best part of both the winemaking and social media processes is still the final step: the exceptional taste of success that comes from the right decisions along the way.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. davelafontaine says:

    …and then there’s the last part of the process: drinking the wine. In the social media context, that would be where you take all the power that you’ve accumulated in building community & engagement and start directing that towards the final end of the process – increasing profitability. To extend your metaphor further, there is the temptation (if you’ve spent a lot of time and effort in the production process) to bust open all the crates at once and just guzzle as much as you can, as quickly as you can. Hey, you’ve got all these people signed up, paying attention, engaged – why not just blast ’em with mass messages to boost the quarterly sales & make all the charts spike?

    Just as with wine, doing this with your social campaign is unhealthy & wasteful. You get a short-term rush, sure, but then there’s the epic hangover, amidst the wreckage of broken bottles and puddles of spilled and wasted wine. In the social context – if all your careful nurturing of community winds up with your audience feeling like it was all just an elaborate shuck’n’jive, then they are going to either abandon you – or worse, turn on you. Like a great wine, a great social campaign deserves to be sipped over time.

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