Tweetups

Innovative Branding: Wine Tasting and Concierge Mixer at the Wrigley Mansion

In July I attended a Wine Tasting and Concierge Mixer held at the Wrigley Mansion.  The featured winery was Arizona Stronghold.  I received an email with the event details, I quickly scanned the email and noticed two things:  Free and Wrigley Mansion.  Sounds great!  The day of the event I just wanted to make sure of the time so I quickly googled the event.  Nothing came up…I went on the Wrigley website and checked out the calendar.  Nothing.  Finally I logged in and checked my email, and as I had previously thought it said 4pm.  I always double check these things.

I arrived at the mansion and was greeted by the friendly staff who directed me to the wine event.  Once there I checked in at the greeter station and picked up a name tag.  A quick glance around

Jeff Hecht

the room and I started to recognize people, some of whom I have never met!  How is that possible?  Twitter.  Most people have a picture of their face as an avatar, which is very helpful in situations like this.  I started out with a conversation with Molly Maguth.  She coordinated the event and is a public relations account manager for MMA advertising, a premier metro phoenix advertising and PR agency.  The pieces of the puzzle started to fall together.  MMA handles the Wrigley account as well as the Arizona Stronghold account.  I found the idea to piggyback the two clients into one event to be very interesting.  The even more interesting thing was the very deliberate selection of guests.  I had a chance to ask Ms. Maguth and Jeff Hecht, director of public relations for MMA about the reasoning behind the selection process.  They explained that everyone that had been invited was either a Concierge at a metro Phoenix resort style hotel, or a prominent member of local social media.  So what was I doing there I wondered!  Then it hit me.  After 8 months of wine blogging, the Weekly Wine Journal might have actually crossed the relevance threshold!

Back to the guests…  every year millions of people visit the Valley of the Sun.  And some of these people stay at wonderful resort style hotels complete with a full time concierge.  The concierge deals directly with the public, often answering questions about the local community and giving recommendations on where to eat and where to visit. They are influencers in every sense of the word.  The second angle on the guest list was the local social media influencers.  I have written about the power of social media over at corkd.com as well.

This event was a great case study in guest selection.  Although I wasn’t able to meet all the guests I did run into the following Twitter personalities:

@AZVineyardGuy, @AZWineries, @AZVinesandWines @Noshtopia – also known as @skinnyjeans, @CChaserun @ReneeMoorePR

Just these personalities alone have a combined 50,000+ followers on Twitter ( Stephanie @skinnyjeans is responsible for at least 48,000 of them) but Twitter is not  only about how many followers you have, it’s also about your influence.  @AZVineyardGuy, Josh Moffit is Arizona’s go to guy for vineyard real estate and has over 2,500 acres of land in his portfolio.

Josh Moffit

His lovely wife, Rhonni Moffit ( @AZWineries and @AZVinesandWines) is the executive director of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.  @CChaserun is Colleen Chase, and she runs a joint venture wine tour company with her sister called Arizona Grape Escapes.

Collen Chase

They take up to a dozen people on Arizona wine country tours every weekend.  @SkinnyJeans is Stephanie Quilao.  She is a professional blogger and has really taken it to the next level with her Noshtopia website.  Renee Moore is in PR as you might have guessed from her Twitter handle, @ReneeMoorePR.

This event was the best wine tasting I’ve been to.  I’ve been to a few, and I thought this was so well coordinated in terms of the guests, the setting and the wine.  I noticed that all the wines were being taken care of in terms of proper serving temperature.

Nice work keeping the wines cool!

Arizona is very hot and my pet peeve is people serving red wine at room temperature in Arizona, so I thought that attention to quality control and detail was very refreshing.  Secondly the guests were extremely engaging.  We would have stayed all night talking!  Right now MMA has no plans to handle other wine accounts as they want to focus solely on the Arizona Stronghold brand.  However, they do handle other accounts, large accounts such as The Mayo Clinic, Harkins Theatres and Desert Schools Credit Union.  MMA has a combined 70 years experience in Advertising branding and PR in just it’s 3 principals.  They really know there stuff, and especially the new media way of doing things.  They get social media, they get viral marketing.  It was exciting to be a part of this event, and I am looking forward to future events by MMA and Arizona Stronghold.

What say you?  Branding and PR, have you seen good/bad examples?  Is marketing and branding a wine different from say branding a potato chip?  What do you think of social media’s role in branding?

go ahead, don’t be afraid…comment! :) If I missed anyone out please let me know, I will add them

Molly Maguth on Twitter
Jeff Hecht on Twitter
MMA Homepage
Wrigley Mansion Homepage
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards homepage

Is Twitter the new eHarmony?

I don’t remember where I heard it but someone said “Twitter is the new eHarmony”.

Art Department budget: $0

Initially I scoffed at the idea.  Twitter is for professionals.  Professionals don’t mix business with pleasure, ridiculous!  But then…

Tweetups.  Meetups of people on Twitter.  In my case, wine tweetups.  Suddenly I am surrounded by social people who share a passion for wine, for exploring their senses and who are interested in learning.  Twitter is still very new, there is much to learn, it is still evolving, so I think at this point Twitter is attracting a sort of trend setting crowd of early adopters.  Nevertheless I am noticing a vibe, a trend at the tweetups I have been to.  People are genuinely interested in each other!  Who are you?  What do you do?  What are you passionate about, and what do you do to pay the bills?  Sometimes they are one and the same.  Sure there is an element of networking and a professional theme (somewhat)  but after you start to meet the same people and get to know a group of like minded individuals, I can honestly say that they become friends.  Can that lead to more than friends?  Probably, I don’t have any examples as of yet.  Do you?  What do you think?  Keep it professional, or go with the flow see what happens?

Wineries and Tweetups: How to

I get quite a bit of email from wineries on the subject of Tweetups.

Imagine a Tweetup this big!

I wrote a guest article for Gary Vaynerchuk’s Corkd.com on the subject to touch on the benefits. See the article HERE.  This resulted in a whole bunch more emails with specific questions about the nuts and bolts, the details of how to do the Tweetup thing.  So I put together a quick little reference specifically for wineries based on the email help I provided this weekend.

Participate in every #varietal tweetup #cabernet #merlot #shiraz ect.  Varietal Tweetups promote wine in general and a specific varietal.  Successful examples are @rickbakas ‘s #calicabs which featured California Cabernet’s.  Josh Wade’s ( @nectarwine) #WAMerlot featured Merlot from Washington State.  Shannon Casey (@michbythebottle) put together Tweet and Taste Michigan and used the #hashtag #TTMI so that people could follow along in real time on twitter.

So step one would be to participate in every #varietal tweetup.  The next BIG BIG event is #Cabernet.  This event is being hosted by Rick Bakas and many well known wineries will be participating.  Wineries like Duckhorn, Cakebread and St Supery.  If Cabernet Sauvignon is (or whatever the next varietal tweetup is)  a wine that you make and have in stock then host a tweetup at the winery.  These events are almost always on a Thursday night, and if your winery is a long way for people to travel don’t expect much more than a few locals to attend, but be sure to email, phone and visit people to promote the fact that you are participating and fun will be going on at your winery or tasting room on that night.  Promote the tweetup on Twitter, Facebook, on your website, on Localwineevents.com and Meetup.com
If the winery does not have the particular varietal you can still participate just by yourself by going to another winery in the area who does make/carry that varietal and tweet from there.  Or you can have a private party and people can bring their own wine to taste and tweet about.

For tweetups intended to promote your specific brand I suggest contacting  via Direct Message (DM)   Twitter “influencers” and invite them to your tweetup. Or get their contact emails from their blogs.  Most prominent Twitter personalities have a blog.  Tell them that their tasting fee will be waived and there will be some complimentary food for them.  In order to be considered an influencer I would suggest a minimum 1,000 followers and a ratio of pretty close to 1:1  People who follow 10,000 people but only have 1,000 followers are not very influential. Also suggest some local accommodations incase they want to stay over night. Then come up with a hashtag# to identify the event and DM the influencers with the hashtag a few weeks in advance.  Do a soft launch tweeting information about the event with the #hashtag.  Then begin to actively promote the event about 2 to 3 weeks in advance. I believe that you don’t want to be tweeting about the event every day for months before it happens, it will be overkill and people will tune it out.  I would send out a tweet several times a week leading up to the event and then just before it I would step it up and then the day before and the day of the event tweet more as the event draws closer and tweet often when the event starts. Tweet about who is at the event, what people are drinking, how many people are there, how much fun it is ect.  ENGAGE with others, don’t just blast out your information.  Thank people for retweeting your message ask them if they will be attending, ask who else will be attending, be enthusiastic!  According to Dan Zarrella most Retweets happen between 10am and 12 midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  This is apparently Eastern Standard Time, but I believe the same is true no matter what time zone you are in.
Getting back to hosting a tweetup to promote your winery. I would pick 2 or 3 influencers offer them a free tasting and food.  I would also put out a general tweet to all other Twitters and offer some other kind of discount, possibly complimentary cheese plates.  I would do the same on facebook, wineevents and meetup.com. Then when people show up and mention the discount you will be able to track how people heard about the wine tasting and see which form of media is most effective.
another great way to promote events is thru Eventbrite.com

During the Tweetup I would take lots of pictures for your Facebook Page, and videos for your Youtube Channel which you can embed to your website/blog.  I would limit the length of each video to 1-3 minutes maximum.  People have short attention spans.  If you visit my Youtube channel you will see that I don’t always follow the time limit rule, it’s mainly because I don’t feel like it!

One more useful event to participate in on a regular basis is #WIYG.  Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal came up with the idea.  It stands for Whats In Your Glass.  Most Friday and Saturday nights if you sent her an @ message with the hashtag #WIYG and a photo of what you are drinking, she will Retweet it.

Please email me any questions or feel free to contact the references below:

Josh Wade @nectarwine Drinknectar.com

Rick Bakas @RickBakas RickBakas.com #Cabernet information

Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal Barbaraevans.wordpress.com

Shannon Casey @michbythebottle Michiganbythebottle.com

Brian Solis’s post analyzing Dan Zarrella’s information

Arizona Wine Tasting: Scottsdale, July 22nd 2010 at 5th and Wine

On Thursday, July 22nd from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, join Jim Wiskerchen aka @mywinehelper at 5th & Wine for a blind tasting of 4 of some of the best Arizona wines. There will be plenty of great food served buffet style, all for only $25.00/person. You will also have the chance to win a gift certificate to 5th & Wine if you guess all four varietal wines correctly. After the wines are revealed you will be able to purchase these wines by the glass.  5th & Wine is a great place to hang after working all day and to escape the heat. So join Jim in supporting local wines and this great local wine bar. This event is limited to 40 people so get your spot reserved HERE
5th & Wine
7051 E. 5th Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
480-699-8001

5th & Wine WEBSITE

The Big Wine Tweetup: Scottsdale June 16th, 2010

Are you a business owner wondering about the value, the ROI of twitter and social media? Let me tell you about The Big Wine Tweetup that happened in Scottsdale, Arizona on Wednesday June 16th, 2010.  The event was organized by a group of twitterers based in the metro Phoenix area to do something special for fellow Seattle based Twitter personality and social media expert, Seattle Wine Gal.  The Big Wine Tweetup was a two part event.

The first part was a dinner organized by Foodies Like Us co-owner Susie Timm and was held at FnB restaurant.  Guests included @SeattleWineGal, @bspargo, @gritsnyc and hubby, @dragonflytweet, @diyamarketing and @CookieCaroline.  I asked Seattle Wine Gal to observe the way co-owner of FnB, Pavle Milic, greeted every customer.  He greets everyone as a guest of honor, so warm and friendly – something totally lacking in most restaurant experiences these days.  For wines we enjoyed some of Sam Pillsbury’s Rose and some sparkling Chardonnay from Canelo Hills.

After dinner we headed around the corner to Kazimierz World Wine Bar.  Thanks to @foodieslikeus and @ciaomari for the reservations.  This is where the tweetup got interesting, and where the ROI of twitter began to show itself.  We were joined by quite a few people and the group swelled to more than 20 people.  We were moving furniture around and eventually took up the whole front entrance all the way up to the bar, and even that wasnt enough room.  We were joined by Arizona Wine Grower’s Association executive director Rhonnie Moffit (@AZWineries) and her husband @AZVineyardguy.  Also in attendance was Bulbstorm’s @Tena_Hartwig, @Cardiogoop, @DesertSmokeBBQ, @Sandy161, @KadeDworkin, @mywinehelper.  There were also a bunch of people who were not twitterers, but were friends of twitterers and just wanted to come out and have a good time.

So, how much money do you think

Could you use a few more customers?

we all dropped on dinner and after dinner drinks?  How much do you think that is worth to a business owner?  I counted up the total followers of all the Twitterers at the wine bar and it was over 22,000.  Everyone sent out a few messages during the even- as people on twitter have a difficult time not tweeting about something fun they are doing! How much do you think it is worth to a business to have their name sent out to 20,000+ people, repeatedly.  And the next day too, as people were remarking about what a great time they had.

If you are a business owner you might want to think about getting involved in a tweetup.  But how do you do that?  How do you organize it, especially if you are not even on Twitter?  Just reach out to people who are.  You can reach out to me! @wklywinejournal  or send me an email.  If you are in the Metro Phoenix area you can reach out to any of the twitterers I mentioned I’m sure they would be glad to point you in the right direction.  Getting back to what it might be worth to host a Tweetup, a Wine Tweetup or a cocktail hour Tweetup.  It might be worth offering some kind of discount to the Twitter community.  After all, you are going to be getting a ton of buzz from the event.  And just think, what if your Tweetup had 40 or 50 people, tweeting to 40 or 50 thousand people?  You could have a packed house!

The next Big Wine Tweetup is being planned right now, the Weekly Wine Journal is looking for interested guests and hosts, so get in touch!