Friday, 08 October 2021 16:30

The Social Place: Using digital tools to enhance your cellar door

Written by  Sarah Rowley Adams
Poppies; Photo from Jet Production Poppies; Photo from Jet Production

Although New Zealand's borders are currently closed, there are plenty of domestic tourists who will be looking to travel around New Zealand this summer.

Many of them will want to experience our outstanding cellar doors and winery restaurants. During lockdown, we saw consumers supporting their favourite businesses to make sure they survived, and businesses that had already invested time in building digital loyalty and ecommerce systems reaped the rewards. Likewise, if you start investing in your cellar door's digital presence now, you will see the return in the coming months. Here are some tips to make sure you're making the most of your digital tools for the cellar door:

Get the basics right

With so much change over the past 18 months, many cellar doors have changed their regular opening hours several times. Everyone knows it's a disappointing experience to arrive at a closed venue, so make sure to update your hours online - add your opening hours to your website, Google and Facebook.

If you have lots of people contacting you with the same questions, consider adding a visitors' FAQ or booking page to your website. Most people will go there first before they contact you directly - it will save you and your visitor time.

Look the part

It's important to make sure your content reflects your business. Think of your social media channels and website as your digital shop window. Social media is a powerful tool to promote food and beverages to a millennial audience. A UK study once estimated that 30 percent of millennials would avoid a restaurant if they had a bad Instagram presence. Want to deliver a premium cellar door experience? Your everyday iPhone photos might not convey that online, so you may want to invest in some professional digital assets. Trying to share your unique winery tour? Consider short videos, such as reels, which let you create dynamic content with music and filters. Make sure you're comfortable with the format and its trends before you start.

Get discovered

Now that you've updated your social media, you want those new photos to be seen. Try tagging other people in your posts and get tagged in return. You'll show up on their profiles, which will create more discovery pathways to your profile. Use natural collaborators - regional bodies, tourism operators, accommodation providers or events people you work with. Share the posts you are tagged in on Instagram stories to show your appreciation.

On Instagram, the more hashtags you use, the more chances there are to be found. Use #nzwine so New Zealand Winegrowers will see your post and #DoSomethingNewNZ so Tourism New Zealand sees it. Check what your local tourism of regional body's tag is.

Create a digital/IRL experience

Word of mouth works in the digital space - if people like your cellar door they will share it to their friends online. You can encourage it by creating an "Instagram-worthy" space, somewhere people will want to take photos. Look for an area in your cellar door or restaurant - it could be a feature wall or an outdoor area with an amazing view. Put your brand name or logo in the area, this will give you free brand awareness when someone shares a photo at your cellar door - it may even give their friends enough FOMO they book a trip in.

Stay in touch

You can only follow up with visitors if you collect their email address. Whether you want to do this the old school way, with a visitors' book, or something modern like an iPad, give them the option to subscribe to your mailing list or wine club. Let them know why they should sign up - for example, if you offer wine club deals - and let them know how frequently you're going to email them.

It's a good idea to send a thank you email a day or two after their visit - consider adding a discount code or saying where your wines are available if you don't have an online store. Most email clients will let you set up an automated email for whenever someone signs up, the hard work is done for you.

Sarah Rowley Adams is Communications and Digital Advisor at New Zealand Winegrowers.

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