By now, I think most winery managers and owners would agree that social media is an important tool for their businesses. (Especially in the COVID era).
But now that your winery’s social media presence is up and running, are you actively tracking the results of your efforts? How do you know which metrics to track? Does follower count actually matter?
My first goal is this: to make sure we’re all in agreement that posting on social media without a regular plan for tracking your winery’s performance on those platforms is not doing much for your business. If you’re going to invest time in creating content and engaging with your customers through social media, then you also need to invest time in making sure your efforts there are contributing to your winery’s business goals.
How do I know? Because I’ve made analytics an important part of my social media and marketing work for wineries, helping them track sales, event client leads, and web traffic from their social media profiles in order to inform their strategies on those platforms. Currently, I’m in marketing at Far Niente in Napa, and previously, I worked as a marketing manager for First Batch Hospitality, the group behind Brooklyn Winery and District Winery. Before that, I consulted for wineries on both coasts of the U.S. on social media strategy and marketing.
So which social media metrics do I advise my wineries to track? Let’s discuss from lowest to highest priority:
Vanity Metrics on Social Media Platforms
When reporting on social media performance to a winery client, metrics like follower count and likes will seem like obvious priorities. Everybody wants a high follower number right? We all want to see our likes-per-post grow. But it’s important to think about which metrics are indicators of social media’s contributions to your business goals.
I’ll be the first to defend the importance of brand-building and a maintaining a strong social media presence for all businesses. However, when it comes to what drives tangible revenue for your business, “vanity” metrics like follower count and likes fall lower on my list of analytics to track. I’m more interested in how you’re shaping your followers’ journey to becoming paying customers.
I definitely recommend recording your vanity metrics regularly (including follower growth, likes and comments per post, “Saves” on Instagram posts, etc) in order to assess trends and growth. But I would encourage you to place higher importance on some of the metrics we’ll talk about next.
Web Traffic From Social Media
Beyond following your winery on Instagram, liking your posts, or leaving a comment, what’s the next step in the pathway of engagement between prospective customers and your brand on social media?
Hopefully, followers are clicking a link in one of your posts or on your profile and ending up on your website, also known as web traffic.
How many people feel compelled to learn more about what you’re promoting? Of all the content you’re sharing, what inspires people to click your links? Which social platform is driving the most people to your website? How are people behaving once they arrive on your website? Do they stay and click around, or “bounce” off your site right away? This is all valuable information for understanding your followers and would-be customers, that your winery should be tracking regularly.
How do you find this information? While each social platform provides its own version of web traffic analytics, the data is piecemeal and often doesn’t provide the full picture. Your best bet for tracking web traffic is to set up Google Analytics for your website and use trackable URLs.
Wine Sales From Social Media
Okay great – you now hopefully understand how your social media followers are interacting with your website. Next, it’s important to look at how many of them are going on to buy your wine.
Wine sales happen in many different ways (at least during non COVID-19 times), including in-person purchases for which motivation is difficult to track. Luckily, selling wine online is one way you can pretty efficiently track sales and effectiveness of your promotions on social media. If your winery has a Shopify page, or another ecommerce platform, you should be able to track not only general sales numbers, but also where those sales are coming from, including social media.
Connecting your ecommerce site to Google Analytics will give you a really detailed picture. Whichever platform you use to track your sales, make sure you’re able to see how many sales are coming from your social media channels.
Then you can start to assess: how much wine do we sell online due to Instagram posts? Do more of our paying customers come from Facebook? Is it worth our time to promote wine sales on Twitter? (Probably not, in most cases). Understanding how wine sales are driven from your specific social media presence will allow your winery to better prioritize social media efforts based on what you know is working, and what is not.
Event Client Leads From Social Media
And finally – a metric that for some wineries is associated with some of the highest revenue of all: leads for private events. While winemaking is the primary focus for many wineries, many also operate as private event venues. The revenue associated with event sales can be significantly higher than that of a winery’s average wine sale, given that hosting events is more expensive than a case of wine. The potential pay-off for an event lead driven from social media is therefore perhaps one of the most valuable social media metric to track of them all, for wineries that host events.
What do I mean by tracking leads? Well, how do you receive inquiries from potential event clients for your winery venue? Do you have a form on your website? Well, then you can track how many people not only follow you on social media, not only feel compelled to visit your website after seeing a social post about your weddings, not only buy wine from your website, but ALSO how many people fill out that inquiry form and enter your sales pipeline for private events.
How do you track leads? You guessed it – Google Analytics. Once set up for your website, you can track completions of your inquiry form, and how those people ended up on your website (whether from social media or other channels).
Once you start regularly tracking that number, you can assess: which social platforms help us receive the most event leads? Which of our posts inspire the most event leads? How many event leads can we expect to receive from our social media efforts in a given year?
In short, tracking key metrics associated with your winery’s bottom line is the only way to determine social media’s value for your business. With data abound from all of the social media platforms, and myriad options of metrics you could be tracking every month, I recommend prioritizing the core four listed above, with the understanding that vanity metrics are nice but sales and leads pay the bills.
Meaghan Webster is a marketing specialist for wineries and restaurants. An experienced wine and food photographer, social media and website manager, and designer, she’s worked as a marketing consultant for wineries and restaurants in Napa, Virginia, Washington, DC, and New York. She currently works in-house at Far Niente Winery in Napa Valley. Opinions expressed in the blog are Meaghan’s own and do not represent her employer or clients.