Categorized | Marketing

Twitter Lingo for Wine Geeks (Part I: Finding & Following)

So I hear you’ve recently set up a new Twitter account but you’re lost at what to do with it now, eh? Well let me tell you dear reader friend, you are not alone.

As I’ve written in a previous post, social media is transforming our media landscape and for some, it’s not so easy to grasp this newfound concept. If you’re like most of my readers, you’re probably asking questions like,  “How do I…” or “What does “RT” mean“, and “How do I find winos?“, or what the heck is a “#wine“? …and for my wine biz friends, you want to know “What’s the value“, and “What’s the ROI“?

Unfamiliar territory would bring anyone to the brink of bonkers and believe me I understand your pain — but in all honesty, it’s not so bad after you understand some of the basics.

Some of you in the wine industry biz probably want to cut to the chase and get right to the “value” aspects of Twitter but I’d like to convince you to chill through a few posts before we dive into that topic. Trust me the ride will be worth it.

Let’s get down to business. This is the first part of a follow-up series that will dig into the lingo of Twitter while addressing it’s usefulness in the world of wine. Today we’ll focus on, “How do I find wine Twitters and why should I care about my followers?”

THE BASICS

Having 2+ years Twittering under my belt and humbly reaching 5K followers, I’d like to share my experiences and recommendations on it’s usefulness for wine aficionado’s and professionals alike.

First, don’t bother with third-party auto-follow applications  (or for that matter, any application that automates anything on Twitter.) It’s not that these applications are bad (by any means), it’s just that if you want to build your brand the right way, the last thing you want to do is alienate followers.

Twitter is about building relationships, and you certainly won’t be doing yourself any favors by automating messages. Yes, it’s certainly more time consuming to tweet your messages by hand, but trust me, it will be well worth your efforts in the long run.

Second, don’t BUY your followers.  This will come to a surprise for some, but many marketing services sell followers — at a hefty price, of course. DON’T by into the hype. You won’t become a rock star overnight and marketers that guarantee $1,000 per month per 10,000 followers is a crock. Do you know why? Because most marketers couldn’t possibly collect the kind of personal data you need [e.g. is this new follower a potential buyer?] to produce the results you are looking for as far as wine sales go.  If you believe this, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. You’ll prosper a higher rate of success by finding your own followers.

Let me reiterate. I see Twitter as a mechanism to build relationships amongst those who share similar interests.  Based on my observations, I don’t see Twitter as a platform for moving product. Sure, there is nothing wrong about Twittering occasional specials, but most of my Twitter winos are using this application to build relationships with those that share similar interests. If you have a success story that debunks this reasoning, please share.

Third, promote your Twitter handle from your website. Your loyal consumers will follow you if you advertise it.

THOSE WHO FOLLOW

The first mistake is to think that you have no control over those who follow you — followers make informed decisions on who to follow based on how you present yourself, what you say, and how you INTERACT with your followers, so think about the image you want to portray. For obvious reasons, this affects industry tweeters more than consumers.

Building followers will take a conscience effort for industry tweeters. Be prepared to tweet with passion and build your brand by interacting with your followers. Your marketing person might be a good match for this job, but in reality, any team member that enjoys virtual interaction with your customers and shares your vision is a good fit.  If you’re not sure who would be the perfect contender, talk to your staff. Marketers, winemakers, hospitality, managers and owners all make good candidates.  You might even consider rotating tweeting responsibilities.

HOW TO FIND WINE TWITTERS

Whom should you follow? Seems like a bizarre question, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t you follow everyone that follows you? Not unless you want a windfall of spammers — that, and I can guarantee you won’t share interests with your followers. Do you really want to follow those who tweet every 5 seconds about tooth whitening products? I think not.

Now on to the good stuff — finding winos on Twitter. Let’s attack it from a couple of different angles. For a generic approach, I’ve found the Twitter search page easy to use for finding wine friends, consumers and wineries.  Browse through the list and find those that interest you. Roll over the first icon on the right hand side and click on a popup “follow XXX”.  Simply click on it and you’ll follow them.

You’ll also find a number of  “Top Wine Twitters” on wine blogs. Ken, from Alawine.com, built a cool little “Top Wine Tweeters”  page, which happens to be one of my favorite top wine Twitter lists and ranks each Twitter accordingly.  He bases his rankings on a respectable mix of quantities and ratios of followers and friends, updates, retweets and Twitter lists (with some exclusions for noise, off-topic and similar factors). One simple click and you’ll be following famous wine Twitters such as Jancis Robinson, Kevin Zraly, Wine Enthusiast, Natalie MacLean, Dr. Vino, and Vinography.

We happen to come in #7 on the list (dude, I feel like breaking out the Wayne’s world, “I’m Not Worthy” video).   Awesome Ken, and thanks for the kudos.

There’s another cool application you might find useful. Check out wefollow.com “Top Winos” page.  By default, the page shows the most influential wine Twitters and ranks them based on number of followers for each tweeter.

There is another cool feature that Twitter recently launched. It’s a ‘list” feature which allows users to create groupings of people for whatever reason (e.g. winos, wineries, distributors, wine writers, etc). Mashable compiled a great “How To” on the subject so head on over there for a good overview on what it is and how to use it.

…and to get you started, here are a number of recommended lists to follow:
Alawine Top 100 Wine Tweeters
Alawine Top 100 Wineries
Alawine Wine Social Media List
Elizabeth Dehoff’s Bloggers List
Enobytes #VinQ List
Nectar Wine Bloggers
Northwest Winos
Steve Paulo’s Wine List
The Wine Sleuth List
Wineaday List

This raps up our lesson for the day. Stay tuned for our next post: Using Twitter #Hashtags.

Until then, be sure to hit us up with comments on the following Q’s:
•    How do YOU find Twitter winos?
•    Do YOU use auto-follows?
•    What is the value of buying followers?
•    What is YOUR favorite Top Wine Twitter List?

This post was written by:

- who has written 299 posts on Enobytes Wine Online.

Editor and co-founder of Enobytes.com, Pamela is a former restaurant manager, wine buyer, and sommelier with WSET, CMS & Center for Wine Origins certification. She has contributed to or been quoted by various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sommelier Journal, Vegetarian Times, VIV Magazine, UC-Berkeley Astrobiology News, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and USA Today. True to her roots, she seeks varietal and appellation integrity and is always passionate about finding the next great bottle of wine.

Contact the author

41 Responses to “Twitter Lingo for Wine Geeks (Part I: Finding & Following)”

  1. Thanks for this useful info – I’m not using lists so far and now I will get more on board with this. Your info sharing is awesome and I love your hosted quiz – I’m a fan. Cheers – Denise

  2. Michele Brune says:

    Hey enobytes, great write-up. I wasn’t familiar with the wefollow or lists you mention on twitter. Thanks for the informative report. I also agree with the building relationships aspects of twitter. Looking forward to the next report as I have no clue what a hashtag is.

  3. Thanks for this very useful article. I great appreciate it and though I’m twittering I don’t really know how to use it or lists – I love the idea of being able to actually build relationships.

  4. ChrisO says:

    Great post! Some really good info for people starting out and those frustrated with lack luster results. The one thought that I have is that some twitter automation is good! I would recommend setting up auto notifications for key word searches so that you can react in a timely manor to posts that may be relevant to you. As far as auto responders and auto follow applications I am in total agreement that this is the wrong way to going about it, almost analogous to “coold calling”.

    Cheers! Chris

    PS love the twitter quizzes

  5. Christophe says:

    Great stuff.

    People need to know it is quality not quantity that really matters here. I find that there has been a recent trend of what I call “hollow follows” or people just trying to ramp up numbers. This is spamming in the worst way.

    Twitter is a great platform for brand transparency, conversation, and fun.

    Cheers!

  6. Jose says:

    Great source of info.
    I’m surprised you left out 1WineDude.
    According to many people’s accounts he’s doing a great job in his posts and has a lengthy following.
    Salud!

  7. Another great post! You might find the top Wino Re-Tweets interesting too:

    http://bit.ly/4rQqLm

    Cheers,
    Natalie

    http://www.nataliemaclean.com

    Nat Decants Wine Online

  8. Barbara says:

    Hi,

    Perfect advice, better than most I’ve seen. Only problem I have is what to say when tweeting.

  9. Ski Sullivan says:

    Extremely useful info, especially w/ wine aficionados and industry mavens embracing social media so fervently. You’re so on track with what you share and how you share it. It’s what social media is meant to be. Thanks.

  10. enobytes says:

    Denise, Michele and Sondra, thanks for the kind words and kudos. I’m glad you find the article useful.

  11. enobytes says:

    ChrisO – YES! Excellent point and I agree with you 100% on setting up auto notifications for key word searches. Could you share with the viewers how you go about doing this?

  12. enobytes says:

    Jose – 1winedude rocks and I agree! The list I have above is specifically twitter generated. He is listed on many user created twitter lists, but I don’t believe he has created one of his own. To understand what I mean, go here: http://twitter.com/alawine and midway down in the right hand column, you will see the lists this twitter user created. So, the list I created above its not really blogger/website centric, it’s the “Twitter” specific “list” capability you see in the alawine profile.

    Thanks & Cheers! Pamela

  13. Brett says:

    I’m curious about the auto notifications ChrisO mentions. How do I do that?

  14. James Halloway says:

    I’ve seen those “buy” followers marketing initiatives and always wondered what that was all about. Good post.

  15. enobytes says:

    Thanks Natalie, and congrats on making the top wine twitter list!

  16. enobytes says:

    Barbara, good question. My advice is to be yourself and to twitter what you are passionate about – It will take some time getting accustomed to the lingo but things will fall into place once you give it a chance. Patience (and diligence) is a virtue!

  17. enobytes says:

    Thanks for the kudos Ski! Cool name BTW.

  18. enobytes says:

    James, Glad this post was useful! Stay tuned for our next post, “#hashtags”! Should be a good read.

    Brett, I’m hoping ChrisO can chime in on the auto notification feature. I’m familiar with twitter’s key search terms but I’m not familiar with the ins-n-outs of setting this up as an auto notification. Stay tuned! Sounds like good stuff.

  19. @ says:

    Enobytes. This is a very cool way to ‘teach’ people about twitter. So often we that are into the tech or are early adopters assume everyone gets the basics. I can’t wait for the hashtag post. Please DM me before it goes and I’ll help you promote!

    Josh @nectarwine

  20. enobytes says:

    nectar dude, agreed 100% regarding your techno comments. Thanks for your 2¢ and I’ll hit you up prior to the #hashtag post. ~Pamela

  21. Karl Laczko says:

    Great post and good advice, but dude…. surely at least one of @ReignofTerroir s lists deserves a mention ? ;)

  22. Markus Stolz says:

    I would like to emphasise just how important true engagement is. The one goal any industry tweeter should have is to build up twitter connections to the point where they become real. By this I mean that you start “knowing” other twitter users. This can only be achieved by showing a sincere interest for their interests and needs, not your own. Twitter users are real people – they will notice sincerity and repay your efforts by engaging back. This is the point when twitter starts to become really useful. Twitter enables you to reach out, never before has it been so easy to build up meaningful relationship with meaningful people. A few years ago, one had to write a letter or send out an email and hope for an answer. Today, everyone has instant access to a large pool of people that share similar interests. Building up your own brand on twitter does take a lot of time and effort. At the same time, the engagement itself is extremely rewarding. It is fun, and I am very glad that twitter has become a everyday part of my life.

  23. Travis Oke says:

    As a relatively new wine blogger I found this quite interesting and helpful – if you are using Twitter to “brand” should you have an account the same as your blog?
    E.g. My blog is pullthecork but my Twitter is Travis Oke
    Is this a mistake I should correct early in my blogging life (does anyone else find it weird to use words like blog and tweet as if they were real words?)

  24. enobytes says:

    Karl, it looks like you have some darn good lists!

    Folks, here is a link to follow @ReignofTerroir twitter lists: http://twitter.com/@ReignofTerroir

  25. enobytes says:

    Markus, great comment – I agree with you 100%. Thanks.

  26. enobytes says:

    “should you have an account the same as your blog?”

    That’s a good question Travis. I would would say yes so that you build your brand name. Is your blog name available on twitter? I’d personally recommend changing it – other readers, any advice for Travis?

  27. Ski Sullivan says:

    “should you have same account name?”

    Yes, and perhaps you require more than one account. Depending on your mission, you may want more personal tweets on your namesake account and your business relationship building on one named for your company. It is a lot of work keeping two going though, and many folks opt to consolidate after a short while.

    Odds are, if you’re vetting your business, and that involves building relationships via your personality, you’re best served by changing the acct name to your business name and then just continuing what you’ve been doing — reaching out to communities that embrace your message.

    One more thing Travis. You should tweet a couple of times re: your pending name change, just so followers know what’s coming and recognize you thereafter.

  28. enobytes says:

    thanks Ski! Great advice…

    thanks Natalie!
    Ya’ll can find your retweet rank here: http://www.retweetrank.com/

  29. enobytes says:

    Wonderful, Sam, thanks for the great list. It’s pretty cool how easy they’ve made it to follow wine twitters! Thanks.

  30. Great information. I feel like I need to start over. I started with twollow.com thinking it was a good idea to automatically follow people based on my keywords. I did get followers with similar interests but also a lot of radom followers. What should I do now??

  31. enobytes says:

    Hi Bettie!

    I don’t think you’ve done any harm by using the auto follow method. The reason why I don’t particularly care for them is because you have to do some manual labor of checking the followers (which is what you are experiencing right now:)

    For now, I’d simply look through your “follower” list and “unfollow” those who don’t seem to fit your “customer” profile. This can be a little tricky to do, because you never know who might be a potential customer, but at the least, I would consider and recommend removing those that generate spam related messages (e.g. tweets of infomercial type products, inappropriate behavior, etc).

    If you notice that the auto follow generates more good followers than bad, keep using it and simply keep up with manually monitoring who follows you. If it seems as though the auto follow tool is generating more problems than its worth, consider dumping it and using a more conventional method for finding followers. One way that works for me is to find another tweeter that has similar interests and follow whom they follow. Yes, it’s time consuming, but you will be much happier with the results!

  32. enobytes says:

    For those of you interested in finding followers via Twitter lists, here is another good one brought to you by Thea at Wine Brat SF! http://twitter.com/winebratsf

  33. enobytes says:

    Margy, you’re funny. Now get off my blog.

  34. Thanks enobytes…I am getting my following list under control and will attempt my lists next. This is such valuable information..You rock!!!

    Bettie@wineablegifts.com

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