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Never thought that I would ever write about # hashtag. But if you must know, people went famous because of this little 4 lined fella.

Right tagging is important. So, let’s start from the beginning.

As a business you must use Social Networks to engage with consumers and spread your brand massage. But what is a Network you ask?

It’s basically bunch of people who exchange information, experiences and behaviors with each other. Their behavior is guided by set of norms, believes and values. All networks have people who help content go viral – influencers.

There 3 kind: those who like to create new content, those who share it and like to link between peopleand those can convince people to adapt new ideas.

Networks don’t have to be huge; they can be quite small networks that your winery or other business will be engaging with. I like the small ones even better; they are tighter in relationships between the members, which make it easier to communicate with them and their influencers.

Easy way to find networks is through groups on Facebook or through # hashtags on Instagram. We will speak about the # HASHTAGS.

Those Hashtags are social media’s essentials for every content you will post, the main reasons to use a hashtag are to: increase engagement, build brand, target audience and find networks for your winery.

There are many ways to find the right hashtags. One of my favourite is using https://hashtagify.me where you can search for hashtags related to who you want to target. They have free trial of 7 days – enough to find your hashtags for future work on Instagram.


For example: Le's see how my own hashtags work. So, as you can see below there are 141 posts that were tagged with # wineshiksa hashtag and the interaction*is 1.2k for 15 posts.

* The Recent Interactions are calculated based on the number of likes and comments of the last 15 posts using the hashtag you searched for.



While in hashtags that were used in many posts as the # winery tag, the engagement will be lower in those posts. The best way is to find hashtags that have medium post number and they are with higher engagement.


A good example for quality hashtags would be: #youcansipwithus & #winework


But where do I start?” - you ask.

It’s a great question. First, you will work on creating a list of types of posts that you think you are going to post and add to each one 30-40 hashtags.


As a winery I would create list of hashtags for those post: (1) winery work, (2) vineyards, (3) holidays (4) general wine use (5) wine is fun. Some of the hashtags will be the same but some will change.

Don’t know which tags to use in different posts - Learn from others. See which tags other wine influencers use. For example: the champagne blogger - Gina Lyons @champagnesquadofficial.


Remember – just hashtags by themselves would not help you achieve your goals. The content that you post should be interesting and helpful. Not just another wine bottle.

Small tip – create your own # hashtags for different posts that are related just to your brand. For example, the hashtags I did for Wine Shiksa - #wineshiksa & #mycrewisgrandcru.

Another example, a super successful hashtag of Sarah Tracey @thelushlife - a blogger from USA - #youcansipwithus that is used by hundreds of other users.


And also, Toni Askitis @asktoni.de - a blogger/sommelier from Germany created hashtags - #asktoni his account name and #weinistunkompliziert that basically means – wine is uncomplicated.



All those hashtags help people to find things that they care about. Are you ready to be part of those networks?


Have any questions feel free to DM me those or just ask in stories today.


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  • Collab Writing

Digital presence is essential for any business nowadays. Can’t ran away from It anymore. Digital presence for wineries will include a decent website with client’s data collector (email or phone) and couple of social media accounts. The must have ones are – Instagram & Facebook. YouTube, Twitter and Tiktok are also great platforms but they are harder to manage.

So, Instagram is one of the top three social platforms for businesses to market through video (Animoto, 2018) and also image. Remember that 2/3 of Instagram users are under the age of 35, so if your *Buyer persona is at that age, you should use Instagram as your main marketing platform. If not, you can use it as a branding platform.

*Buyer persona – is your ideal customer based on data and research. Want to know more, go to this link - https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/buyer-persona-research


As a matter of fact, most of the wineries post about what happens in the vineyards – pruning, bud-burst, shoots grow, flowering, version and of course the harvest; and in the winery - all the work done during the vintage; also awards and other updates.

When I ask marketing managers of wineries in Israel about why do they post only about the events from vineyard and the winery, most if not all of them answer - “Isn’t it enough?

Maybe it is, if you want to blend in but if you want to stand out in the wine market and use your social media to promote sales – you need a content strategy that will help you to plan which content will suit your buyer person better.

I will give 9 tips to start with before creating a full content strategy:

1. Buyer persona – ask yourself who is the typical buyer of your wine? Yes, the ideal would be that everyone will want to buy your wine, but it doesn’t work like that. Even Moët & Chandon Champagne brand (that is already world famous) have a buyer persona.

2. Different & helpful content - different wine people need (or want) to see different content, so when you post a photo or a video you should start thinking about who you are talking to. With so many wineries posting basically the same content to their followers, it’s important to differentiate yours. How? Focus on unique topics and don’t be afraid to show what makes your winery unique.

3. Branding through Topic Clusters – think about what information about yourself you would want to share with your customers. Do you sell easy going sparkling wine or mostly heavy but elegant red wines? Do you want to speak about region quality or about fun experience of wine drinking?

4. Stay consistent with your posts (twice a week is good start) and try to ensure that everything you post is instantly recognizable with your winery. Remember that you only less than a second to capture someone’s attention, so be creative!

5. Micro-Influencers – find people who already like your wine/ drink it/ speak about, follow them and keep them close - they can be useful for your winery. Micro-influencers are brand advocates who may have as few as 2,000 followers on social media, but they actively promote brands they care about.

6. Informative account & feed – create a solid Instagram account with a good profile picture and a quality bio with useful links. I advise to use Liinks.com – it’s free and you can put many links to the best information you have.

7. Business Facebook page & Instagram account – open a Facebook page and connect it to you Instagram account and switch to a business profile. Only on those you can see which content works better than other. Set clear goals for your posts – you want more shares; you want just to reach more people, or you want people to contact you for more info?

8. Personal customer service - not just me but 60% of Americans believe that customer service through social media has made it easier to get their questions answered and issues resolved. Part of your content should help customers find where to buy your wines, help them contact you and help them to get a good service.

9. Accessibility - what if I told you that your marketing content was excluding an audience of roughly 61 million people in the United States? 1 in 4 people live with a disability in the United States. Accessibility is an attribute, and inclusive design is a method. Read more about Accessible Marketing – HERE.



So, here some basics to start with, but a good content strategy is much more. In the next part I would give some specific examples from different wineries accounts. That will be fun.

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  • Collab Writing

Hey wine lovers,


If you have read my previous blog posts, I hope I have articulated well that I think being a wine professional is the best job in the world! I literally could not think of anything else I would rather do (except maybe being a food writer/ restaurant critic – but I’d have to work out a lot more!). What everyone asks me the about the most however, and what I am best known for, is Champagne. Today, I will take you behind the scenes of the UK’s best kept trade secret: a network of Grandes Marque Champagne houses and inspiring Champagne professionals and enthusiasts, coming together to promote this magical region. Welcome readers, to The Champagne Academy



I first heard about the Champagne Academy back in 2016 which was no mean feat considering I didn’t know anyone else who had been on the course (actually I did, I just didn’t know that back then, ha!). I was instantly amazed at how I’d missed all prior knowledge of this organisation in the press and at trade tastings around London. My interest was sparked, and upon research, I realised that it was more of a ‘who you know, not what you know’ type of situation. Being my normal bolshie self and muscling my way in with the right people, the following year I was invited onto the course. Little did I know just how much this invitation would change my career and life forever.


Onto the course itself. Each year, 16 lucky candidates from the UK wine trade are selected and sponsored by our 16 Grandes Marque Champagne houses. These are:

Bollinger,

Charles Heidsieck,

G.H.Mumm,

Krug,

Lanson,

Laurent Perrier,

Louis Roederer,

Moet & Chandon,

Monopole,

Perrier-Jouet,

Piper-Heidsieck,

Pol Roger,

Pommery,

Ruinart,

Taittinger,

And Veuve Clicquot.


What these 16 fortunate people are selected for exactly, just cannot be described sufficiently in this little blog post, but in basic terms, these buyers, sommeliers, business owners, sales people, hospitality professionals etc, are whisked off to Champagne for a week and given the best education experience that money simply cannot buy. They are to be looked after not by the marketing representatives or tour guides from the houses, but by the owners, wine makers and family members themselves. People that even the most prestigious wine buyers may only meet in passing on their business trips. Those representing each house express how this week is not normal for them either, and how lucky they feel to be involved in such an important and historic link to the UK wine trade. A rare chance to come together with the other houses exploring ‘competitor’ cellars and taste base wines from their neighbours. All the normal rivalry (although the houses are all friends and often linked by family), is dropped for a week while they enjoy leaning from each other and celebrating what the region has to offer.


The aim of the course is to educate those in influential roles in the UK and create mini ambassadors for the region upon their return, keeping the ‘buzz for Champagne’ alive within all the linked sectors and job roles. The entire week is totally non-biased with each house getting the same time with the academicians, and even though each house sponsors an individual, that person will never find out who funded their education to protect them from favouring one house over another. Honestly, I would kiss the feet of whoever chose me to attend so I totally agree with this decision!!!


Each day we would visit around three houses. Normally for a Champagne breakfast, lunch, and dinner, may I add! Michelin star menus created specifically for each cuvee by the regions top chefs seemed the norm by the end of the week – how spoilt the experience made us! The first evenings meal location was kept a surprise. I remember the anticipation between us all of which hotel, restaurant or Maison we would be dining at, only to be led down the stairs into working cellar tunnels (in heels), which eventually opened out into a breath-taking carved out room, decorated decadently by local artists for the purpose of hosting us for the evening. What a first night and introduction to the Champagne Academy that was!


As well as enjoying the food and drink, we also had daily lectures, exams based on the previous day’s tuition, tutored tastings including still and base wines, and cellar/ vineyard/ bottling plant and press house visits. The lectures covered a wide range of topics including the history of Champagne and the Grande Marques, viticulture and vinification, marketing and analysis of world markets. I had died and gone to Champagne heaven! However, back down on earth, the last day of the course was actually very scary indeed as we faced final exams which held the largest percentage of our overall theory mark, and a mega blind tasting featuring Champagne we had tried within the week. Over the course duration, we tried over 150 cuvees, of which I was the geek of the group and wrote a tasting note for each one, even when I was, lets say ‘feeling particularly inspired by the bubbles’, so in fairness, some of them are more informative than others. In the flight, we had to pick out the predominant grape variety or percentage of different grapes in the blend, the vintage, region, general style, and the house for extra marks. During the award ceremony at the final luncheon, my group were all relieved to pass the exams and be awarded with the highly regarded and rare Champagne Academy Diploma. Rare - because only 16 people a year get the chance to pass the exam, and even then, it is not a 100% pass rate annually. There is an overall winner who is awarded with the silver ice bucket prize, and a magnum from each of the 16 houses. Yum. Our years winner was the first from Ireland and invited us to her hotel the following year to enjoy the bottles with her at the K Club in Dublin – what a treat!


After finishing the course and gaining the Diploma in Champagne, the academicians are then invited to join the academy as a member for life which opens up special access to various tastings, events and dinners throughout the UK with the opportunity to invite guests along also. These events bring together hundreds of people who have either been on the course themselves staring back in 1956, the house representatives and wine enthusiast guests who are lucky enough to have an invitation extended to them. The events really are the most VIP proceedings within the wine trade, and I have met so many industry ‘famous’ and influential people. Network, network, network!


Since joining, my personal experience with the academy is still flourishing after being invited to sit on the committee where I assist with the running of the organisation, and specifically look after our website. This has been a wonderful opportunity where I get to learn how this magical week is put together and aid the planning of the London based functions. A second full time job currently following the trauma of Covid-19 and having to postpone our 2020 proceedings for a year completely. As I work my way through the ranks and various roles within the academy, in the not too distant future I will be chairlady of the Academy and run the entire show for a year – a scary but very exciting thought! I’ll change my name to Champagne queen for that year I think…


A major takeaway from the experience has been the friends and connections I have made. I have been on other wine trips where you bond with people you have not met before. It is easy over romantic vineyard tours and a bottle too many in the evening but being joined to the other 15 on this incredibly unique journey, was something totally different and special that we will all treasure. I now have a group of genuine best friends across the country that I go away with outside of the academy events, and love meeting up with at the dinners and tastings to reminisce of our trip and gloat about recent visits back to the region over a glass of two of bubbles. I even got myself a new boss out of the experience!


To round up, I would like to share a favourite memory from the course - although I won’t say at which house this was to remain unbiased. I was looking out over a stunning landscape one afternoon within a glass box style tasting room trying cuvees from a house I had never given much time too before. Earlier on, we had been down to the world famous Crayeres (large underground cellars) with the head wine maker who asked me to choose whatever I wanted to taste with the group back above ground. WOW. I nervously pointed to an extremely dusty magnum, but upon opening it was corked! Towards the end of the tasting (and I just could not bring myself to spit any of this stuff out), I came over all emotional as I looked around at my surroundings and new friends. I am laughing to myself typing this out now, but I actually shed a tear in the moment (which I recorded on my tasting note for the 1995 vintage we were enjoying at that point). The joke of the afternoon then became that if a ‘hard-faced Charlotte’ cries, then the wine must be bloody good! Move over Parker points, ‘Charlottes tears’ were the new scale system for the rest of the week!

So, UK wine professionals that are passionate about Champagne, if I have done a good job and bigged-up this experience up enough, you need to express an interest to this once in a lifetime experience! The spaces are getting harder to come by each year as more professionals rise through the ranks and discover this trade secret. As mentioned, the 2020 course has been postponed a year so the next opportunity to attend will now be 2022 of which we already have interest expressed.


For more info, please visit our website 😊 - https://www.champagneacademy.co.uk/

Follow me on Instagram for posts about Champagne, wine, food, and drinks – @charlottedrinkschampagne

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