Did you think social media is only about posting pictures and wasting time? Think again!
As you may have noticed, most of your friends and people you know are (sort of) active on social media, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. This means that most of your prospective customers are also there.
You need to understand how the market works in order to contact the right person at the right time.
Small and Smart
How do you currently get in touch with importers in your export markets? Usually, export managers of larger companies will have contacts of several buyers from previous colleagues or access to huge buyers' lists they can purchase online.
What happens when you’re a small producer, with no budget to spend buying lists or to travel around the world meeting decision makers? You have to use whatever you have at your disposal to open new markets and put your wines in front of people that will, hopefully, buy them in the future.
Why only use one source of information like publications from your target markets when you can also use social media to get first hand insights about the market and relevant people in it?
This is the beauty of social media. It allows small producers to reach new people and access information that was unavailable for them in the past.
Information is Key
We all know that information is key when trying to introduce products into a new market. You need to understand how the market works in order to contact the right person at the right time. Think: If someone tries to sell something to you when you’re in the middle of the vintage, they probably won’t be successful because it wasn’t the right time. The same applies the other way around, and that’s why information is so important.
Why only use one source of information like publications from your target markets when you can also use social media to get first hand insights about the market and relevant people in it? Start by following a few relevant accounts (businesses and people) that will give you enough information to begin with your market research. Check out who they’re interacting with and, if they’re relevant to you, keep an eye on their content too. This way you’ll build a network of accounts on your target market that will give you lots of insights before you even start contacting buyers - because cold emailing, without any previous research, doesn’t work most of the times, at least not in wine.
99% of the times you won’t sell wine to an importer directly from social media, and that’s not what you should be looking for.
When the time is right and you think you have enough information, you can start building a relationship with buyers and other relevant accounts by interacting with them. Some of them will be very active on Instagram and/ or Twitter, which allows you to interact with them from your personal or business account.
By interacting I mean any of the following: engaging with their content in the form of likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. If you can get them to follow you, even better so they can also see your content.
Be careful. Not all buyers use social media as a business tool, for some of them a producer following them might be very annoying, so you have to use common sense when finding out who’s ok with it: if their profile is public and most of their posts are about work, go ahead. If their profiles are private, usually it’s not ok to start engaging with them for business purposes unless you’ve met them in real life.
The 99% Rule
In my experience, 99% of the times you won’t sell wine to an importer directly from social media, and that’s not what you should be looking for. Social media is the tool you use to get them to know your wines and story, to put your brand in front of their eyes so when the time comes to meet them in real life or contact them, the below will happen, providing you have a proper social media strategy in place:
You will have lots of information about what the importer and/ or buyer likes, what they’re looking for and how they communicate with their audience, all essential to understand if your wine fits their portfolio
They will already know your name, what your wines are about and your history
What are you waiting for? There are many opportunities out there waiting for you and the tools to take advantage of them are available to everyone - Get to work!
If you have any questions, give us a shout and we'll be happy to help you.