Whitehall Lane, a 20-year-old Napa Valley winery run by the Leonardini family, has hit on a winning social media formula that pays dividends in both increased sales and brand loyalty.
Wineries face special challenges in promoting their business on social media. The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, known as the TTB, considers social media “advertising,” and regulates what wineries can do.
The regulations primarily affect Whitehall Lane in two different ways. They cannot run contests that give away wine, and they must monitor user-generated content for anything that might promote irresponsible drinking.
“We don’t fool around with the TTB regulations,” said Katie Leonardini, direct sales manager for Whitehall Lane. But that hasn’t stopped them from successfully using social media to grow a loyal fan base outside the tasting room. This in turn has increased both wine club membership and direct sales. Here’s how they do it.
“You can use any social media channel for B2B,” said Erica Ayotte, social media marketing manager at Constant Contact.
“Anyone who says you can’t is not being creative enough.”
She should know. Her team has grown their Pinterest following to over 18,000 in less than two years.
How does a company that is not retail and not inherently visual use Pinterest to reach a B2B target audience?
The keys are to expand your idea of what your brand is, think visually and have a curating mindset. Here’s how Constant Contact appeals to their small-business market on Pinterest.
Owner Jeff Matt started Victory Auto Service and Glass in 1997 with one shop in the suburbs of Minneapolis.
He always made an effort to develop personal relationships with his customers who trusted him with their cars.
The business grew to three locations by 2010, and Matt found it harder to maintain the small-shop feel. “When you have multiple stores and multiple managers, you can’t be everything to everybody,” he said.
Three years ago, he approached Stephanie Gutierrez, a long-time customer, about helping the business get started in social media.
By experimenting with different approaches, they hit upon a winning formula that promotes the personal connections Matt has always valued.
The San Francisco Giants have the most engaged fan base in Major League Baseball.
They’re recognized as social media standouts in the sports world.
But as recently as three years ago, they had no cohesive voice on social media and no social media strategy.
The Giants were a traditional organization in a traditional sport. In 2010, when they brought in Bryan Srabian as social media director, they were getting information to fans by broadcasting. Typically this meant holding press conferences and sending out press releases or email blasts.
But then Srabian had an “Aha!” moment. He was reading a book by Chris Brogan and then had a conversation with him on Twitter. “We don’t really talk to our fans at all,” he thought. But they could.
It was time for a new model based on listening and responding. But first they had to find out what fans were saying, and where they were getting their information.
Are you B2B in a niche market and wondering if social media is relevant to your audience?
Drillinginfo, a software as a service (SaaS) company serving the global oil and gas industry, is a B2B provider in a very specialized niche market, which has been actively using social media since September 2012.
Their goals are to emphasize their role as an oil and gas intelligence company and boost the perception of the company as a thought leader in the industry.
Since September 2012, they have increased their blog readership by over 2000% and developed relationships with influential industry leaders through social media.
Current and potential customers have indicated that the Drillinginfo blog is a premier source of information in the oil and gas industry, which is exactly what the company wants.
“I’ve been able to make a much deeper connection with my audience,” Flynn said. “When I go to conferences, the first thing people who meet me say is, ‘I love listening to your podcast.’”
He has become an expert at connecting with his audience. Over 71,000 people subscribe to his blog, and thousands more follow his social media accounts and download his podcasts.
“Business isn’t B2B anymore, or B2C,” said Flynn, “It’s P2P—person to person,” attributing that insight to Chris Ducker.
Are you using social media to create awareness for the services you offer?
Keep reading as I reveal how a nursing home used social media to build a loyal local community.
Nursing Homes and Social Media?
Nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and rehab communities are not known for being active in social media—yet.
But changes in Medicare mean communication with patients and families and the employees who care for them is more important than ever.
“The way that we’re going to be paid and the way we’re going to be gauged is changing; it’s evolving as we speak,” said Scott Unverferth, director of operations at HCF Management in Lima, Ohio.
New pay-for-performance models are on the horizon for managed care companies such as HCF.
HCF has 27 facilities throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania that provide skilled nursing care, rehab care and assisted living. They have approximately 3,200 employees and have been in business since 1968.
In April 2012 they made the leap into social media and haven’t looked back.