A tweetup is where people who use twitter meet up in real life! Wow! What a concept! It is quite a concept though. I had never met any of the 300 plus people I follow or who follow me on twitter and the wine tweetup seemed like the best way to do it.
Having never organized a tweetup before I thought I better ask some people who have organized tweetups how to do it. So I contacted Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal and asked her a few questions. Barbara has written on the subject of the wine tweetup here.
My first question was: Should you contact the wine bar to make a reservation and let them know you are a wine blogger and are having a tweetup with other wine bloggers? I really didn’t want to sound self-important or seem like I was asking for special treatment. Barbara said it would be a good idea to let them know ahead of time so they can save space for the tweetup. You wouldn’t want to arrive with 10 people only to find out that the place is full and then have to wait a long time, or start trying reorganize and go somewhere else. She also said it is a good idea to contact more than one place. Not all places can accomodate larger groups, not all places return phone calls or emails :( She said its worth noting to the establishment that they will be getting a fair amount of free press out of the even, and any discounts or complimentary food and or wine would be greatly appreciated. Sometimes they say yes, sometimes no.
I chose Pavle Milic’s FnB restaurant because he got back to me right away and was very enthusiastic about the event. I asked about the discount, but he explained that he has only been in business for 5 weeks, and I said say no more. Cash flow is difficult when a restaurant first opens, there are a lot of unforeseen expenses and plus, who is the Weekly Wine Journal anyways? Bloggers shouldn’t assume that anyone outside of the blogging community knows who they are or can gauge their influence. Best to show what you can do first and then ask for a discount later!
First I made the reservation for 10 and then sent out tweets with hashtags #wine #tweetup and #scottsdale. This lets other twitters who are searching for tweets with those specific words in them know about my event.
It was only after I started sending out these tweets looking for people who would be interested in a wine tweetup that I understood the meaning behind the twitter follower strategy. Most people suggest that you start with a local following when you are building a twitter following. And now I know why. When I sent out tweets for a wine tweetup in Scottsdale, Arizona…my 200+ followers from around the world were not able to attend. I seemed to have just a few local followers. So I got little response. Luckily my friend and fellow wine blogger Josh Wade @nectarwine was visiting the valley for the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Marathon, so I knew at least one person would show up. So then I had to get back to Pavle and let him know I would probably only need a reservation for 5 people. But then an interesting thing happened…
Ty Largo @JuxtaPalate RSVP’d and invited his friend Nicki Buchannan,food critic for the Arizona Republic. Then Colleen Chase @CChaseEnt who runs Arizona Grape Escapes responded. Next thing I know we’re up to 12 people. Pavle was very accommodating I have to say. I neglected to tell him about the extra people. He was able to think on the fly and his head waiter Josh put 4 tables together in the front of the restaurant and it all worked out absolutely fabulous! We were joined by Marianne Belardi @ciaomari who is the “Schmooze diva” for Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz, and FnB!
Afterwards we decided to head around the corner to Kazimierz for some more wine and we were joined by Justin @JustinEats. Ty is a fantastic connector and organizer, I have to say. We walked into a very crowded and busy wine bar and were seated immediately at a “reserved” table. Blogging has its privileges!
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I learned that it’s not the quantity of people that show up for your tweetup, it’s the quality. With the people that were there, we had rich and interesting conversation. The guests were engaging, outgoing and interesting! And somewhat important to a tweetup is that the guests share common interests. This tweetups guests were very interested in social media, entertainment, wine and food. I am really excited to plan another one ASAP! I know Ty is working on something Top Secret…