Wine trade's use of Twitter is like 'verbal Prozac'

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The wine trade’s use of Twitter is like “verbal Prozac” for consumers, that’s according to  Burgundy’s School of Business Damien Wilson.

 

Speaking exclusively to Harpers at the LIWF debate, Wilson, who heads the MSc in Wine Business, said he was glad to see the message [on engaging the consumer] finally getting through, but hinted there was a lot more to be done.

 

He highlighted the importance of social media, and especially Twitter, as a tool to engage with consumers. Burgundy’s School of Business has conducted research into the wine trade’s engagement with consumers on Twitter, studying 5,500 tweets in October 2011.

 

It found that most of the trade’s communication is “a one-way street”, “promoting itself” rather than engaging in conversation with consumers. On the other hand, when consumers tweet about wine they focus on “how wine is part of their lifestyle”. “They don’t talk about terroir, they don’t talk about soil, they don’t talk about the knowledge they’ve gained from consuming wine”. Rather they focus on the fun aspect. “If we could start talking about wine as an enjoyable topic, rather than as verbal Prozac the trade would be closer to engaging the consumer more effectively”.

 

Helen McGinn, prolific tweeter and blogger at the Knackered Mothers’ Wine Club, said: “Social networking is a conversation - you have to use it and nurture it.”

 

Joe Wadsack, wine writer and consultant, said social media was a “two-way discourse”. Wadsack has recently begun blogging at Vinesack (joewadsack.com) and when he writes about things that are funny, and “how to turn the nomenclature of wine” into something more interestng, that’s when consumer engagement is most successful. “People don’t engage with products - but they do with people,” he added.

 

For a full write-up of the event, see this week’s Harpers, out on Friday June 1.

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