Winery Facebook Marketing: When to Outsource
By Courtney Holmes
It is like death and taxes, you can't avoid it. You must have an active Facebook page for your winery to maintain relevance in the industry. I liked how Paul Mabray from Vintank said, in his most recent video, that there is always ROI in talking to your customers. So yeah, not having an active Facebook page is like not talking to your customers.
But how do you manage it so you don't loose money on all the time you are investing in the tool? Does it make sense to hire a specialist to manage it for your winery or can you do it in-house without making it a total time suck? Where there is a will, there is a way.
Value of Social Media
First we need to get something straight. For multiple of reasons, it is unlikely that you will get a new customer from Facebook. Let's break it down.
1. Only 10% - 15% of your fans even see your Facebook posts.
2. Most fans on your Facebook page became aware of your winery from a source other than Facebook. So Facebook is a way to "remarket" to the fans, not get new "fans." They already liked your winery to begin with or they wouldn't be Facebook fans.
3. You are better off buying Facebook advertising. Don't link the advertisement to your winery's Facebook page. Instead, send them to a web page where they can sign up for your e-newsletter, join your wine club or purchase a special promotion. This is the best way to create new customers via Facebook.
But there is value to Facebook marketing. The goal with Facebook is to increase your customers lifetime value, rather than create more customers.
1. Promote your newest release on your Facebook page In the post, share a link to your website page where they can buy it.
2. Share your love for your wine club members - share pictures from your VIP events and let everyone know how much you value them.
3. Increase the value of your wine by posting about your latest awards and ratings.
4. Promote your events to increase attendance.
Do this while you are genuinely trying to engage them with photos, humor and updates.
How to Manage Facebook In-House
We believe it can be done in 20 - 30 minutes a week with the proper planning and discipline. Create an editorial calendar so you can plan ahead. It can be as simple as the following.
Every Monday: Share a photo or comment about your wine making process
Every Wednesday: Promote an event or new release
Every Friday: Share a photo of your tasting room visitors
Every Saturday: Show your appreciation for your wine club members
If you put a team member in charge of this task, it should be easy for them to know what to post because they will be thinking about these topics all week long.
It is easy to schedule Facebook posts a week in advance. Check out this link to learn how.
We have noticed that wineries are having a hard time with their Facebook marketing because they do not understand the interface, the etiquette and the best practices for using Facebook to grow their business. We do offer a one on one 8 week social media training program to help wineries get over these hurdles.
How to Hire a Winery Social Media Consultant
We think it is important for wineries to understand that outsourcing your social media does not mean relinquishing responsibility. A consultant cannot create content for your Facebook page without your teams' collaboration. Essentially, the consultant is creating and managing a process for engagement on your social media channels so that you can have a long customer lifetime value.
I won't name names, but I can spot a social media consultant managed Facebook page a mile away. Usually it is littered with memes and news content. It rarely has photos and updates on the latest going ons at the winery. And honestly, it is more than likely not the consultant's fault. They are probably begging their client for updates, photos and information but just are not getting it from them. As the only option to fulfill their contractual obligation, they post content that doesn't create value for the winery's social media marketing plan.
A successful social media consultant acts as a conduit for all information that would be of interest to the fans. The winemaker would be responsible for telling her what is going on in the vineyards or winemaking laboratory - it is the consultant's responsibility to hold the winemaker accountable for feeding her updates. The same process happens with the tasting room manager, vineyard manager, wine club manager and event coordinator. The consultant is like the journalist, gathering the story and presenting it in the best format for the audience.
He or she could also put together Facebook contests, advertising campaigns and Facebook cover photo artwork.
Average Rates to Outsource Your Winery's Social Media
Social media marketing is not free. There are costs - either time, money or both. If you have someone on staff who understands and regularly uses Facebook themselves, you might be able to get away with only committing about 2 hours a week to manage the Facebook page. But expect to pay around $500-1000/month for a good consultant to manage your Facebook. That would include not only formulation of creative content and regular posts, but also proactive account management. Facebook is not something that can be set on cruise control. Expect extra charges for creation and management of contests and Facebook advertising campaigns. Another option is to have someone in-house trained on how to keep the Facebook maintained, which costs around $300 for a 2-hour session. We know a great social media consult, Kelsey Follett from Twelve Anchors.