Forget special deals, tasting notes and product information. If wine brands want to boost their fan base and succeed on Facebook they need to treat their followers like friends – sharing humorous and engaging content – according to a University of Adelaide marketing researcher.
There are now more than 15 million brands across the globe that use Facebook and more than 50% of social network users interact with brands via social media.
Social media is enabling customers and brands to interact in new and dynamic ways, and marketing PhD candidate Rebecca Dolan is researching exactly how Australian wine brands can make the most of this growing communication medium.
Ms Dolan, from the University’s Business School, conducted focus groups and surveys with ‘fans’ of wine brands on Facebook and found people aren’t ‘friends’ with brands in order to get product information, they want to interact with the people behind the brand.
“The most successful companies on Facebook are those that step out from behind their logo – real success on Facebook happens when real-life situations are mirrored,” Ms Dolan says.
The personality of the brand should come through with each post. Wine brands can also change things up once in a while and share details about their experiences and everyday life, regardless of whether it is brand or wine related.
“In order to mirror a real-life situation, it’s important to generate a two-way conversation as opposed to making a post and walking away. Consumers will stop commenting on brands’ Facebook pages if they don’t get a reply to their question, as it creates the impression that the brand isn’t taking the comments seriously,” she says.
Ms Dolan says Facebook users love photos – they are the most shared type of content on Facebook, and users upload at least 350 million of them every day – however many brands forget that they don’t necessarily have to post photos of their product to generate a sale or engagement.
“The goal is to communicate with fans as though they are friends. In order to show a brand’s personal side, they should post entertaining or humorous updates, photos and videos,” she says.
Entertaining pictures, photos, memes and videos are also what encourage Facebook users to ‘share’ a post with their friends, which then increases the brands’ reach. If a brand isn’t posting interesting, cute, funny or emotion-invoking images regularly, then they would have already lost fans.
“It is important for wine brands to remember it is a social medium. What is important is for a wine brand to look into the humanistic side of its operation and communicate in such a way that fits the landscape of the communication, which is actually no different to any other form of successful communication,” she says.
This research is funded through the Australian Grape and Wine Authority