Thursday, 10 June 2021 15:30

The Social Place: Keep it real... But, really?

Written by  5Forests

When frost hit Bordeaux last month, we all saw the images of candles and straw bales as producers worked through the night to protect the vines.

For anyone working in our industry, this was heartbreaking.

But then, there was this wave of tweets and posts from the public commenting on how romantic the candles in the vineyards were... I was shocked. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the disconnect between “us” (industry) and “them” (everyday drinkers) so clearly as I did in those posts. And it’s made tougher when we consider that some of those same consumers will later complain about higher prices and reduced access.

How do we bridge this gap? How do we share the stories that show tenacity and determination while maintaining consumer confidence in our products and our brands?

“Storytelling” and “authenticity” are two words that get bandied about a lot these days in marketing. Social media has fostered a 24-hour news cycle and a perceived all-access pass to brands. How much should we be sharing? How “real” is too much? How do we balance loyalty building with too much information (TMI)?

Although there is no single right answer, let me share with you the advice we give our clients: what works, what misses the mark, and what goes up in flames.

1. When in doubt, stay quiet - and grab your camera

Something goes wrong and you don’t know what to say or how to say it? Stay quiet while you figure it out. But grab some photos if you can, because sometimes our biggest challenges present incredible opportunities, and being able to show the process of crisis-to-solution is a great story.

2. Talk to best "friends" first

You’ve got followers, customers, good customers, and great customers. Consider allocating stories like you allocate your wines: the better the relationship, the more you share (or perhaps the sooner you share). Do your social media followers need the same level of detail that you’d share in a private club member tasting? Heck no.

3. A little drama is fun; a lot of drama is a brand killer

Let’s face it, drama gets clicks and clicks make us feel good, so it’s easy to end up in a cycle of clickbaiting. But customers don’t need all the gore and, in fact, it can make them engage but not buy. Courier drop a parcel once? Ideal opportunity to communicate about packaging, shipping, and customer service. Couriers drop a parcel once per month? That reduces confidence in the order process and can impact sales.

4. But don't make everything sparkle

Be equally cautious of becoming a highlight reel. The world can be hard and things don’t always go the way we want them to. Brands who try to fake their way through adversity are soon called out by fans and peers. Sometimes, the simplest acknowledgement - “today was hard” - is enough to convey vulnerability without divulging unnecessary details.

5. Last but not least, find your line between personal and professional

This is the hardest of all, the approach varying based on size, history, organisational structure, finances and goals. Here is the best answer I can give you: set boundaries and be willing to break them. Have a wonderful personal story? Post it on the biz account! A terrible personal story? Mostly keep that to the personal account. A personal story that needs to be shared to make the world a better place for all of us? Forget the rules and be real… Really real.

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