When Wine is Face to Facebook – Facebook Psychology

Author: Wine Web Dr.  //  Category: Wine and Social Media

winewebtiltsmlFirst, this article is not intended to be the definitive of social psychology for Facebook. This discussion is based on three pieces of information: Social network user data provided by Quantcast, rigorous observation, and anecdotal evidence.

Do your own observations.  You will quickly see you have created a neighborhood made up of a variety of people called “friends” and that is the way they want to be treated, and the way you should treat them.

One of Four Facebook Users are in the Wine Consumer Demographic

Facebook is one of the most popular social media networks in the world, with an estimated 250 million users.  Users range from small children to senior citizens with more members added every day. Most businesses and marketers see these individuals as fertile ground for sales.  How do Facebook users fit into the wine industry?

54% of Facebook users are female

26% of Facebook users are over the age of 35

29% of Facebook users have an average income about $100K

42% of Facebook users have a college education, 14% have a graduate degree.

These Facebook statistics overlap the target wine industry consumer, suggesting that 1 in 4 people are within the target market as wine buyers.  These numbers make it very tempting for marketers and business to promote their products and services on Facebook in the same manner as they would in print or tv media.  However, there is a difference.

The psychology of Facebook through the user

Facebook logo
social media brain

Facebook is personal.  It is a place where high school friends reconnect, family stays connected, and new friendships are developed.  It is a place where people talk about their day, their lives and their thoughts.  For the majority of Facebook users, it is family and friend time.

You can think of Facebook like a family or high school reunion.  It’s casual and filled with a myriad of personal comments, nonsense, games, and widgets that allow people to share some small part of their lives.  Your Facebook friends expect that you will participate with them.  In Facebook terms, you will comment on their status updates, participate in their causes, and engage with them.  They also anticipate that you will share a piece of yourself.  They want you to be a personal, active, contributing member of their community.  You will need to think as if you were face to face with these people, not an outsider looking in.

Consequences for Unwritten Rules

The expectations, norms, and rules of Facebook are not in writing.  Yet, there are consequences for violating these rules.  What are these unwritten rules?  Simply phrased, “You will act like a friend would act”.  That’s it.  If you are not willing to behave, or write like a friend would, then you risk the consequences.

There are two basic consequences in Facebook for not abiding by the rules.  The first, and most obvious, is that people will remove you from their friends list.  Unfortunately, they may also tell their other friends to remove you too.  It happens. I know.  I have done it.  I also have had it done to me.  The second consequence is even more detrimental.


It is possible to get “hidden” in Facebook.  This is the worst scenario because if you are “hidden” from the News Feed you will never know about it.  You could have written hundreds of status updates, but no one is seeing them because they hit the “Hide” button.  This is disastrous. Why? Because it is extremely difficult to get unhidden.  There are only three ways I know of to become visible again.  One, start a new account and invite your friends to join and be personable.  Two, encourage your close friends and family to comment frequently about your updates, demonstrating you are an active contributing member in the community.  Three, have more people talk about you in a positive personal way.  Even if you were to use these methods there is still no guarantee you will be “unhidden”.  However, you will at least given yourself the best opportunity.  How do you avoid this happening to you and your wine business? Focus on relating to people, not marketing to them.

BusinessprescriptionsymbolPrescriptions for the Wine Industry on Facebook

1. Be a real person first, be a wine business second

The people that you connect with are called “friends”.  In order to be a friend you must act like a friend. Be personable. Be real.  Be who you are.  Talk about things that friends talk about.  Get involved with their lives.  Comment on their updates where you feel comfortable.  Be witty.  Be clever.  Just be a friend.. Once users know you as a person, they will want to know more about what you do.  What you do is wine.  They will want to know more about that too.

2. Change your expectations concerning Facebook

Many of the problems that businesses have with Facebook, or any social media for that matter, is their expectations for immediate sales. You need to change your expectations.  Facebook may help with more sales, but it will most tangibly result in more consumer loyalty.  The psychology works like this:  The more we know someone personally the more we want to do business with them and extend our loyalty to them.

3.  Use a personal photo, not your logo

People connect with people; people do not connect with a logo.  Pictures of people are inviting; pictures of logos or words are devoid of emotion.  Photos create emotions.  Part of Facebook’s allure is the emotional element.  Remember this is a communication medium.  It’s much easier to communicate if I can see a face.

4.  Make “comments” and “like” other’s status updates.

If you want to make a real connection without being “removed” or “hidden”, participate in the Facebook community by using “comment” and “like”.  You do not have to comment on everything.  You don’t have to like everything.  You just need to do enough to let the community know you are viable member and contributing to making the Facebook community a better place for everyone.  Remember Facebook is similar to your real life local community. The more you do to make it better for everyone, the more people want to become involved with you.

5.  If You are Going to Market, Promote the Experience Not the Product.

Be very careful about self promotion.  You wouldn’t scream advertisements to your friends when you are with them in person.  You shouldn’t do it on Facebook either.  Your best promotions on Facebook are when your friends, unsolicited by you, share the joys of your wine.  When you do a status update on Facebook try to create an experience with your wine.  Be human, be clever, be engaging, experiential, funny, be creative. You will find it is sometimes the most mundane things you say that get the biggest response.  Below I have few examples of status updates that can speak to your wine, without advertising it.

“Bob, Jane and Mary, came over to watch a movie, we opened a (insert winery here).  It was great with buttery popcorn”.

“Sitting on the back deck with my spouse, opened a bottle of (insert wine here) life just doesn’t get better than this”.

“We had 50 people came to the winery today.  It was great to meet them.  I especially enjoyed my conversation with (person’s name).  S/he said that the (insert wine here) was their favorite.  I love watching people enjoy our creation”.

“Grilling steak with my friends, Steve and Sally…opened a (insert wine here) it even made my grilling skills taste good”.

Ultimately I suggest one overriding principle.  Just be a friend.

Frequently Asked QuestionsFAQ’s:

Don’t I choose my friends?

Yes.  However, you are in the wine industry.  If someone fits within your market and wants to be a friend (regardless of their reasons) can you really afford to turn them away?  He or she could be a potential consumer.

If they are my friends shouldn’t they expect me to be promotional?

Yes and no.  They do expect that from time to time you will talk about your wine.  However, if that’s all you do, where is the friend part?  You are in the wine industry.  More than likely many of these people became friends with you not only because of the wine, but because they wanted to interact with a public personality.  Let’s be honest, we, enjoy being known by someone famous.  It increases our status among our peers and also raises our self-esteem.

If Facebook is about personal relationships then maybe it’s not for the wine industry?

No, it can be very beneficial to the wine industry. You simply have to utilize Facebook differently.  Facebook is not about direct marketing; it is about relationship marketing.  If people see the “real” you, then they have a connection with you.   As the connection grows stronger, these people will become your biggest fans.  You will not have to promote your wine. Your “friends” will do the promotions for you because they like you (and hopefully your wine).  At last check, the most powerful marketing tool in the wine industry has been word of mouth.  By being personal you increase the number of mouths that are “evangelizing” your winery.

Should I start a group?

You could.  However, very little research is available with regard to the success of Facebook groups.  If you start a group, then you need to be active.  Groups often get started and then quickly get forgotten.  In my observation, successful groups are interactive.

Next up…Understanding Twitter Psychology


Jay (Giulio)

As always if you have any questions make a comment or email me WineWebVine

Social Media Psychology – When No One Responds to Wine

Author: Wine Web Dr.  //  Category: Wine and Social Media

winesocialmediaYou want to use social media in your wine business.  You feel the pressure.  Everyone else is jumping on the band wagon. Now you feel left behind.  You decide to sign up for your many free social networking accounts.  You start out great.  You are updating your status faster than the stock market changes.  It’s exciting.  You actually are getting into it.  You say to yourself, “this is fun”.  Then it happens.  Nothing.  No responses to your updates.  No change in business.  Nothing.  You lose interest, because you are not getting the positive reinforcement for putting forth all the time on social networking.  You become frustrated.  You may even stop doing it.  You may even tell yourself,  “it doesn’t work”.  You may fall deeper into your social media disgust, by becoming a social media “nay-sayer”.  So why didn’t work?  Why are others seemingly proclaiming the virtues of social media for business and you are not?

The psychology of social media.

What?  Yes it’s true, every social network has it’s own psychology.  There are different unwritten rules, norms, customs, and expectations for each social network.  You can do all the updating and tweeting you want, but if you have violated the unwritten rules people will not read them.  It’s similar to the adage, “if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, did it make a sound”?  The social media version goes like this, “if you write a status update and no one reads it, did you really write anything”?  Many times the problem is that you did not understand the psychology of the social network, and people are not paying attention to you.


Social media networks are no different than any other group that you might belong to.   You may not be consciously aware of it,  but your face to face groups all have a different set of unwritten rules, norms, and expectations that you are expected to follow.  What is more of a phenomenon is that your behavior is guided by these unwritten rules, and you do not even realize it.

A couple of examples from your life:

Suppose you belong to a local business group.  Is there an unexpressed expected dress code? What about the topics that dominate the conversations?  Are there certain conversations you would not have?  Would you stand up during the meeting periodically and say, “buy my wine, I have a great deal”?  Have you ever thought why you would not?

Now take a social group you are in with your friends.  You are sharing a great bottle of wine or three.  What is the dress like?  More flexible?  How about the conversations with your friends?  Would you every few minutes tell your friends you have great wine, and they should buy it? Or every 30 minutes tell your friends about your new wine promotion?  How about if a new friend joins the group?  Is the first thing that comes out of your mouth, “hello, buy my wine”?


Of course this is ridiculous.  If you were to do one or any of these things you would have violated the social norms and expectations of the group.  If you continued with any of  these behaviors, it would not take long for these groups to find ways to no longer include you in their activities.  They may formally remove you.  Worse yet they may ignore you and not invite you to future group activities.  Let’s be honest if you would not perform these type of behaviors face to face, then it’s a good idea,  not practice them in your social media.

The next series of articles I will be posting will specifically look at the psychology of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn  In each of these articles I will describe the social norms and expectations, but I also will prescribe the safest way to navigate the marketing waters within each of these social networks safely.

Stay tuned, it’s going to get fun!


Jay (Giulio)

Wine & Social Media Success

Author: Wine Web Dr.  //  Category: Wine and Social Media

winewebtiltsmlAs I study more of the wine industry’s use of social media it becomes clear that very few people in the industry use it effectively.  Hence, in an effort to be proactive and help the wine industry with social media, here are some observations and helpful hints to make it work for you.


1. Social Media is NOT a FREAKIN billboard!

If you want to be unfollowed quickly(Twitter), or have your status update hidden(Facebook), or have your profile removed from your social network…advertise like it’s a billboard.  It is the quickest way to abuse social media, remember this isn’t about you or your business this about other people.  Just because you think you have a great deal, people do not join social media so they can find a great deal.

2. Information is good, but too much information, is boring.

I understand that social media, especially Twitter is a great place to find snippets of useful information.  In moderation it is extremely useful. The problem with being an information source is that you can over do it.  If all you do is provide information in the form of some link you take the risk of becoming boring, uninteresting, and quite frankly unfollowed.  Remember this is social media, with emphasis on the word “social”.  If you will not be “social” than you just are “media”, and we have enough media.

3. The wine industry social media hypocrisy.

HypocriteIt is interesting to me that when we think of wine and people who drink it, sell it, or make it, it brings a smile to one’s face.  It is a social event.  It is actually quite the psychological phenomenon.  It is hard to think of drinking wine without being social and happy.  The hypocrisy in the wine industry is they ignore that in social media.  There is one thing that makes the wine industry unique to any other beverage industry…the social aspect of wine.  It would seem to be a perfect fit if done correctly, a high “social” industry in “social” media.  Stay true to the emotional aspect of your industry.

4. You must have patience with social media

I know that we are living in tough economic times.  I am not unsympathetic to that fact.  I know we all feel a sense of urgency.  However, you need to understand that social media is not an overnight, get rich quick medium.  There are many variables that must be considered, such as, how often do you update, what type of updates you post, how many comments do you make etc. There is also a great deal of testing that needs to be done.  You must be patient.  You also must be willing to say to yourself, “this isn’t working”.  However, rather than eliminate social media, you need to alter your social media strategy.

keys5. Three keys to Social Media success… the “3E’s”, Engage, Experience, Education

Engage: This is the most critical component. If you only practiced one “E” you would find that “engaging” will provide you with the greatest benefit.  Engage literally means that you communicate with other people in your network.  Practically this means that you comment on things people comment about.  Yes I know people will write things that seem mundane and not related to the industry.  Yet, psychologically speaking, people want to know they are important.  They want to know that someone cares about what they think, what they do, and what they say.  These are your consumers or potential consumers.  When you engage in their world, you have just said to them, “you are important, I value you, I value what you have to say, and I value what you think”.  How powerful is that!  You have just advertised that you care about them personally, and in that process you have developed a consumer who will do what they can to support you.  It’s so damn simple, yet so hard for the industry to grasp. Yet it works for gaining loyalty and new consumers.

Experience: Every winery I have ever been to regardless of the size has always done a fabulous job at providing me with a great experience.  Your status updates and tweets should do the same thing.  Give me a great experience.   Social media is a people oriented medium.  They (your consumer) feel special when they are given the experience directly from the winery itself.  Give them that experience.  Help them experience your history.  Help them experience, your process.  More importantly help them experience the people behind the wine.

feargellEducate: The most powerful force in our psycho-social world is fear.  Fear is the foundation of shame.  There are many people out there who do not know wine, or people who think they do and bluff.  Either way they will not ask questions out of fear of looking stupid, silly, or uneducated.  As a winery if you want to lock in with your consumer, start answering the questions they fear or are ashamed to ask.  You can be their hero.  Think of it this way, if you answer the questions that people fear most, you remove the fear, you remove the shame, and you have now become the resource that empowers people to overcome their fear.  Let’s face it…we all want a hero.



By way of introduction…

Author: Wine Web Dr.  //  Category: Opinions and Stuff


Yes that’s me.  The Internet Doctor of Wine. 

Social Media and Internet Professional and Wine Student.

What can you expect from this BLOG:

1. I will search for the facts and the numbers.  Social media is a great thing.  I want facts not just a good idea.

2. I will speak my mind.  I am not always going to be politically correct.  You can’t be honest, if you hide behind nice nice.

3. I will attempt to be funny.  Note the word attempt.

4. I will try to find research to help make sense of this bizarre world of social media.

5. I will always include wine in my discussion.

6. I reserve the right to talk about nothing but wine.

7. I will always try to be practical.

8. I will challenge the conventional wisdom of many social media idiots who call themselves experts or gurus.  They talk a good talk, but I will challenge them to demonstrate their ideas with numbers.

9. I will always be an advocate for the consumer.  If more businesses would think about their consumer first, they would find that the business will take care of itself.

10. I will always search for the best ideas for the wine industry that will challenge them to be better in the interactive web world.

Is there more.  Yes.  However, I think you get the picture.  I hope you will come by often.  Please comment.  I welcome the challenge of others.  My opinion is that if we don’t challenge each other, if we don’t make each other uncomfortable, we do not grow and learn.  Those are two things I always want to do.  Grow and Learn.  I hope you do too.

Here is looking forward to our next glass of wine on the webvine.



We are Just Getting Started!

Author: Wine Web Dr.  //  Category: Uncategorized

We are just getting started on the Wine Web Vine.  Here is what you should know.  We are going to discuss issues of social media, the internet and other things that affect the wine consumer, and the wine industry.  At times it will be edgy.  Never fear we can take the criticism.  We love our research, so we are constantly looking out for information to help make the muddy waters of social media and the internet a little clearer.