There’s been lots of recent discussion about the relevance of Twitter for the wine industry, with claims that it’s not a consumer oriented platform and more relevant for the wine industry to talk to each other.

In many instances this may be the case. Wineries use it as an opportunity to connect directly with potential retail or on-premise customers, talk to wine writers and other influencers and have a dialogue that often is difficult to otherwise have within the normal call cycles.  There’s nothing wrong with this if it’s your primary objective and from a business perspective, it can be incredibly powerful to raise the awareness and distribution of your products.

However, it’s important to remember that you engage and build your twitter following depending on your own objectives and build your community of followers accordingly. If you build a direct relationship with consumers and regularly interact with them via twitter, there’s a great opportunity to change the mix of your followers.

There are many successful wine brands that use twitter as a medium to connect directly with consumers, helping to educate them about wines and get to know more about their brand. Some use it for tourism purposes, encouraging people to visit their cellar door when they are in their wine region, others follow consumer oriented hashtags and use it to get involved in conversations. For some it’s more of a customer service priority.

If you’re looking for some ways to change the mix of your followers here are some ways to get further consumer engagement

  • Add the twitter follow button to your website – so consumers who visit your website know you’re online and can easily follow
  • Include your social media links in your signatures and communications
  • Let consumers know that you’re active on twitter – put a sign up in your cellar door, include it in your newsletters and encourage them to follow
  • Follow hashtags from events like Good Food and Wine Fair or Taste of Sydney and start to interact with consumers who are interested and involved in the conversations.
  • Set up a twitter list for consumers who you start to follow. It does not have to be a public list, but keep track of who you are engaging with and make a conscious effort to add value – not always about your brand.
  • Produce great content – content always will remain king and by creating and publishing relevant content, you’ll attract consumers who are looking to learn more about wine.

So before you write off Twitter as a consumer communications medium, go back to your core strategy and ask yourself just who you want to be talking to and build your following from there.