Let’s face it – unless you’re a non-profit, all companies are in business to make money. Hang on! Even if you are a non profit, you still have to make money if you are going to achieve your charitable goals. OK.. let’s revise the last statement: All companies are in business to make money – period. A small or medium winery needs to make money in order to fund its operations and cement it’s long term viability.
So why would anyone invest in social media if it is impossible to measure return on investment? Certainly doesn’t make a lot of sense. Of course there are many companies that make investment and fail to measure or adjust based on measurement. Often these are the same companies that don’t remain independent, or worse, go out of business prematurely.
So if you have decided to invest in social media and networking, what and how should you measure?
Actually, I think you need to focus on two facets of ROI: 1) Return on Investment, which should evaluate the direct positive effects of implementing your investment in social media, and 2) Return on Influence, which focuses on other “positive signs” that your brand is receiving additional visibility and attention.
I coin the two ROII (Return on Investment / Influence).
Return On Investment:
According to SearchCIO.com: “For a given use of money in an enterprise, the ROI (return on investment) is how much profit or cost saving is realized. An ROI calculation is sometimes used along with other approaches to develop a business case for a given proposal. The overall ROI for an enterprise is sometimes used as a way to grade how well a company is managed.”
Again, these measurements should indicate additional business or sales as a direct result of the social media investment. For a small or medium sized winery that might entail new wine sales at the winery, at retail outlets, or restaurants, etc., new members joining a wine club, incremental visitors to the tasting room (ask your visitors where they learned of you), or new relationships with other businesses (distributors, retailers, brokers, marketing companies, etc.) that will help to drive sales and brand visibility.
As with any individual campaign, it may be difficult to attribute 100% to one marketing effort or the other, but in many cases, links and clickthroughs as well as conversations with your customers can be measured and analyzed that indicate the origin of a new lead or interest.
Return On Influence:
Return on influence is a more recent term used to measure the validity of an investment. Jennifer Houston, Sr. Vice President of Waggener-Edstrom in a Thinkers and Doers blog (referring to Facebook) suggested the following: “we can now measure content resonance, engagement and reach — and these indicators “dimensionalize” the interconnectedness of content, audience and the distribution mechanism. These digital, social tools give us insight into how, where, what and with whom these nodes of influence connect and drive behavior. We can actually measure our Return on Influence”
Here there may not be a direct benefit, but rather an indirect or positive indication that the activity will likely lead to monetary benefit in the future. Examples include a new group and/or an increase of followers on Twitter, incremental fans on Facebook, or additional chatter and interest for your brand on one or more wine related social networking sites, perhaps a marked increase in RSS feeds from the winery’s blog, as well as positive discussions across the net regarding the winery (basically, a strengthening of the online reputation of the winery).
How can you measure ROII for social media investments?
There are many free tools available to help with the measurement. Here are a few:
Blogpulse: A service of Nielsen Buzzmetrics, shows trends, conversions, profiles of blogs to better understand positive or negative trends
Trendpedia: Provides a service to compare metrics of similar sites or focus
Tweetstats / Tweetscan / Tweetbeep: All of these sites help to monitor and manage ones online reputation
Lastly, just ASK! As visitors attend your tasting or events, take that opportunity to speak with them and ask them where they first heard of the winery and whether they have tried your wines previously. The more you can learn about your customers, the better you can find ways of finding more – and social media is a great place to find a very targeted audience.
In any case, whether you are speaking about Return on Investment or Return on Influence, it is important to set goals and measurements as part of the social marketing before initiating activity, and then, just as you would do with any marketing activity, test, measure and adjust to optimize the activity.
It has been almost 30 years since jumping on an old 1952 Matchless and driving from Fribourg, Switzerland through southern France and then to Spain. I can remember the motorcycle breaking down constantly (those famous Lucas electrical parts!), swallowing tons of bugs outside of Valencia, crashing during an ice storm in the Sierra Nevada mountains between Granada and Malaga, seeing the Rock of Gibraltar for the fist time, and finally ending up in Madrid.
Since then I have traveled all over Western Europe many times, but I had never returned to Spain – not by choice, simply circumstance. So it was of particular importance that I ensured I visited some wineries during a trip to Madrid this past year.
Beyond delightful side trips to Toledo and Segovia (of which I would highly recommend – they are short direct train trips from Madrid), we made our way to Sardon de Duero (“the Golden Mile”) for a visit to Abadia Retuerta.
Abadia Retuerta sits on the site of a 12th century abbey (Santa Maria del Retuerta). Currently the winery is transforming part of the Abbey into a hotel where visitors can come to the area and discover more wineries and destinations along the Golden Mile.
From the website, “The Abadía Retuerta Estate occupies over 700 hectares of terrain, and its name comes from the combination of two words that define and describe the territory: Rívula (river bank) and Torta (twisting, winding).
Over 204 hectares of vineyards are spread out on hillsides ranging in altitude from a maximum 850 metres down to the southern bank of the Duero River. We have a wide variety of soils, with representations of most of the world’s best varieties, and state-of-the-art technology (meteorological stations, anti-frost towers, etc.)”
Abadia Retuerta vineyards
When we arrived we were met at the Abbey and then driven into the vineyards to get a sense of the soil, climate, and a great view back towards the abbey.
After a lengthy discussion we drove back to the main road, turned right and drove a mile or so to where the grapes are processed. Here we were provided an in depth explanation of the methods used at Abadia including their use of gravity
Barrel Room Abadia Retuerta
racking. I am afraid that I likely asked more questions than the rest of the group were comfortable with, since the last stop was back at the Abbey for a tasting!
When we arrived at the Abbey there were three wines opened: Seleccion Especial and Cuvee Palamar from the Abadia collection, and one estate wine, Pago Negralada.
I can say that without exception, everyone in the group was very happy with each selection. These were all very dark in color, full bodied and complex wines, one building upon the other. My only regret was unlike years past, it is much harder now to bring back wines via plane.
The winery personnel could not have been more gracious or friendly, and I would highly recommend a visit should you find yourself on the Golden Mile in the future.