a food/wine/marketing blog that is funny by accident, sarcastic on purpose.

Social Networking

moved to shanaray.com.

Hey everyone, my blog has finally received a true makeover (courtesy of Philip Wyers at Advertainment Media) and while I still may use a WordPress template, it is no longer hosted on WordPress.

I also am in the middle of changing the name… So goodbye, shana; out on VHS yet and hello ?????

So please visit ShanaRay.com to read more about my adventures in Wine, Food and Marketing!

Thanks.

*shana.


melon shooters & eye shadow in green valley.

This past Sunday, I hopped into my semi-gas friendly Honda Civic with three of my girls and trekked through the Sebastopol Farmer’s Market to make my way through West County.  Our mission was to Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley.  Yes, the official Earth Day is this Wednesday, but who does a wine tasting event on a Wed other than me?

This year the theme was “Low Key, Low Impact” and five different Russian River Valley Wineries (aka pinot-yumminess) opened their tasting rooms to the public and held free earth-friendly exhibits, food pairings and tastings.

The first stop was at Iron Horse Vineyards where we were greeted by 80 degree heat, delicious sparkling wines, my favorite wine radio host and Sonoma County wine queen – Ziggy the Wine Gal and the owner of the winery, the “earth mother goodness” herself – Joy Sterling.  My favorite part of the Iron Horse event was the art exhibit which focused on re-cycled art, made from re-claimed, re-purposed, re-imagined materials.  I will have to say part of my reasoning for this was because it was in the bottling room and the only way to get away from the heat!lukka

Lukka Feldman of Barn Diva was in charge of the salt (and popcorn) tasting which including a chunk of salt that Joy brought back from the Himalayan Mountains.  The winery’s head chef Ruben Gomez served a spring vegetable soup with bread from Wild Flour Bread in Freestone.  The chocolate from TCHO chocolate paired perfectly with the Iron Horse Chardonnay.  According to Joy, “The Citrus chocolate is from Madagascar and has a distinct lively citrusy zing that crazy as it sounds is delicious with Chardonnay.”

After our amazing experience over at Iron Horse, we made our way past the redwoods and Russian River Valley vineyards to Harford Family Winery, where I wasn’t able to have the same interaction with the owner and winemakers (though I would love to in the future).

This didn’t stop my friends and me to gush over the pairing of their Four Hearts Vineyard Chardonnay along with some Melon Shooters.  At first I was a bit hesitant to try because I think of either sparkling wine or a Sauvignon Blanc is best paired with any sort of fruit, but this pairing was perfection.  I even advise the people at Harford to have that pairing as part of an everyday tasting experience, maybe even let people know the recipe on their site.

matt

Dutton-Goldfield and Balletto Vineyards was our last stop because we wanted take their 2:30 tour of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, Sonoma County’s watershed, wildlife preserve that can be found in their backyard.  Of course getting four girls to get anywhere on time hardly ever works, so we were about 10 minutes late.  Not that I minded because we got to spend more time drinking their Pinot Noir.  While Balletto’s Pinot is a great every day wine, Dutton-Goldfield’s had a range of Pinots that any wine drinker would love.  My personal favorite, as well as the tasting room staff’s recommendation was the 2006 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Okay, maybe the only “green” part of my experience was the melon shooters and my green eye shadow, but it is nice to see a West County event that was a perfect balance of really good wine and food along with education without it being forced down your throat.


ttl @ estate.

Last night was the Twitter Taste Live Rhone event, put on by the Hospice du Rhône, the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhône Variety Wines and Sondra at Estate, an amazing new Italian restaurant in Sonoma, Ca.

Toting itself as the largest #ttl event that has taken place, the party at ESTATE brought in a huge crowd.  Twitters, both old school and new to Sonoma to try Rhone varietals and eat, mac and cheese.  If you take a look at the list below you will see many newbies that don’t even have a picture uploaded.  Either way, it is great seeing new people join Twitter (especially if they didn’t join because of the whole annoying Oprah and Ashton Kucher craze), drinking wine… and socializing.

ttl-022

Let me know if I missed anyone!

sharayray  – me!

figgirl

HdR2009

winebratsf aka vinquire

JugShop

VERGEwine

sonadora

randyhall

RandallGrahm

DrncPno

mwangbickler

sonomawineguy

LisaAdamsWalter

dmhoro

lorenza

brixchick_liza

mykhael

DaedalusHowell

shewinesocial

vintuba

winedog

wineevangelist

marcygordonttl-009

winotone

TyffaniP

queenkv

shane_syrah

Bourassawines

randaltbennett

sommowens

hellosonoma

ulyzp

Audelssa

TraceyLaPierre

Gratuitous iPhone, mac and cheese and wine shot .


note from tom (myspace).

Hey all,

Today marks the launch of MySpace Local which is a great place to check out local businesses in your neighborhood. You can rate, review, and share your favorite neighborhood venues with friends. We’re launching with two categories today (Restaurants and Bars & Nightlife), but will be adding many more soon. MySpace Local covers every major city in the U.S. Check out cool places near you.

I already wrote some reviews of my favorite places in Los Angeles — go here to read them if you want to see how it works. I’m looking forward to seeing your favorite places. Thanks to Outback Steakhouse for helping MySpace to make this happen.

-Tom

__________________________________________________________

I just logged onto MySpace for the first time in a few days to check on a comment and the first thing I saw was the above letter from Tom the “creator” of MySpace.  Since the drop in visitors to MySpace they have been trying to win people back through many different new features (most that are carbon copies of Facebook features), but will this local rating system for restaurants and bars be the thing that sets this social network apart and possibly win visitors (or brands) back?  Doubtful….  I tried it out by searching for “beer” in Santa Rosa, CA and only two bars (one that is actually closed) came up in the search.  I guess I will have to try it out again in a few weeks to see if anything has changed.

*shana.

myspave


ben and jerry’s using facebook connect.

This new Facebook format has brought on a abundance of brands jumping into this social network to create Brand Pages… This has it’s positive and negative impacts.  The negative being that there are possibility too many choices of brands out there for Facebook users to become “fans” of.  The positive part of this is that the brands that put forth the extra effort will stand out.

Case in point: Ben and Jerry’s

This is a brand that I already have a deep connection with.  Phish food has been a part of some of my favorite college memories, eating a whole pint of it in the parking lot of Safeway or Vons with a friend when the occasional case of the munchies hit.

They have been one of the brands with the largest fan base since as far back as I started paying attention (almost a year and a half) and now you are able to participate with Ben and Jerry’s and Facebook on their own website.  With Facebook Connect you can post your favorite flavors on your Facebook Profile, letting all your friends know which flavors are your favorite.

fb-connectbenandjerrys

Why do this?  Well, it is all about your personal relationship with the brand.   The most memorable brands are the ones that people feel a personal connection with.   I will argue til I am blue in the face that Phish Food is the best flavor, and even though I do not have a personal preference of which winery truly has the best Pinot Noir, I have been known to get into arguments over which varietal of wine is the best and will go to any winery that makes a Pinot.

Which brands do you feel you have a “personal” connection with?


the simplicity of chocolate and wine.

There is a reason that chocolate and wine are a perfect pair.  Both are two of my favorite items to consume.  Both enhance the flavors of anything that either is paired with.  Both start off as a fruit (cacao beans or grapes).  Both are products of their environment, and if grown with the proper care, it is a fairly simplistic process to create the final result.  As Erik Olsen at Kokomo Winery stated in an interview with The Wine Spies, his wine making philosophy is to “try my best to keep my own personal thumbprint off the wines I make.  Instead, I try to make wines that show the terroir or convey a real sense of the place where they were grown.  I want the fruit and the vineyard to really shine through.”

At the Wine 2.0 Expo last Thursday, I met up with a few folks at TCHO chocolate.  They were the one of the only non-alcohol related brands at the event and it was a welcomed booth at the wine/technology event.  Back when I was working with Scharffen Berger on their pr efforts, I took a great interest in the story of TCHO.

It is a new chocolate brand that started last year in “beta” form, meaning they sent out samples of their chocolate in plain brown packs to members of the media and bloggers.  No fancy packaging or gimmicks – just quality chocolate.  It was such a great PR move in my eye.  A bit of mystery about the brand before releasing it to the public is a gutsy move on their part and thankfully they have quality chocolate to back it up.  It is simple chocolate without any added flavors and currently comes in 4 different varieties.  Each with it’s own characteristic. Chocolaty, nutty, fruity and citrus.

Now, they have a great new high-tech design (TCHO 1.0), a retail location in San Francisco and can be found in many different tasting rooms and gourmet shops in Sonoma and Napa Counties (including Jimtown and the Cheese Shop in Healdsburg).  Go to TCHO IS to see TCHO’s philosophy, it is a fun read.

They are branching out into the wine and technology world so it is logical to see them at Wine 2.0, which was created as a mixture of both.  I look forward to seeing TCHO 2.0* and them diving more into the social media world where they are a perfect fit with the bacon loving blogger crowd!

*I think I may know of someone who would love to help… Cough, cough… Amy and team.

A winery that really stood out for me at the Expo was Round Pond Estate, a Napa Valley winery out of Rutherford.  With a few limited-production varietals and handpicked fruit, olive oils and red wine vinegars, they are the type of family owned Napa winery that I can respect.  The wine was made to respect to the fruit and the vineyards, same with their olive oils.

46146032Miles MacDonnell, who runs the winery, is the reason that I even visited the booth in the first place.  He was right next to the Titus booth and he asked me to “stick my finger out.”  Honestly, how could I not listen to this guy?  He placed a drop of the Estate’s Myer Lemon Olive Oil on my pointer finger and poured me their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.  I was shocked that the combination of the lemony olive oil and the cherry cab actually paired very well together.  The cab mellowed out the tanginess of the lemon and vice versa.  Both products were very clean tasting, with no heavy, lingering aftertaste. The pairing was a great treat, especially considering what usually happened when people ask you to pull their fingers.

Tastings are by reservation only, so if you are headed out to Rutherford, give them a call.

Once again, the Wine 2.0 boys threw a great party.  I met so many wonderful new contacts and Twitter friends via the plasma screens streaming tweets all night.  I do look forward to the next event and the continuation of the fusion of wine (food) and technology through social media and beyond.

Now, I am hungry!


social media competition in 140.

My friend Tim (who introduced me to Twitter 2 years ago) jokingly commented that my last posting on my social media competition was way more than 140 characters and thus it was entirely too long for our overworked minds to read.

“Great link, but now you’re making me read more than 140 characters… grrrr.”

I decided to try to see if I could shorten the post enough to still be able to prove my point, but just in a shorter format.

Let’s see:

Should you trust Social Media “Experts” who has only been on FB/TW for a few months? No! (88 characters)

Social Media is about adapting quickly, being honest and most importantly – about COMMITMENT and PASSION.  Newbies may not know this yet. (137 characters)

Social Media is a tool that takes time, so why trust those jumping on the Social Media Marketing bandwagon & claiming to be “experts”  (135 characters)

Any others?


my social media competition.

I just stumbled upon a great social media white paper.  The 26 page pdf SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING INDUSTRY REPORT: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow is written by Michael A. Stelzer of Writing White Papers.  The report surveyed  over 700 social media marketers, asking them open ended questions about the industry.  If you don’t want to read the entire thing, go here to watch a video that explains some of the highlights.  After reading all 26 pages, I do have to say that I am concerned.

I have been told time and time again that the niche service I provide is a much needed one in Sonoma County (and the marketing industry as a whole) and that I need to help bring the Wine Country into the Web 2.0 world.  With so many “Social Media Consultants, Guru’s and Marketers”  that follow me online, I figured that maybe some of them might actually have some experience with the subject matter that they claim to be an expert on.  According to the report, I may be wrong.

The report justified my own personal commitment to social media and gave me a better understanding of what I should expect (or not expect) from my competition (aka those social media marketers that claim to know it all).  I have been using social media for years and my time spent on my iphone or on my laptop is almost embarrassingly high.  Honestly, ask my friends and they all will tell you I need to have my iphone within an arm’s length at all time.  A debate on if this is healthy or not is another subject.  Apparently (a  positive and a negative for me), my competition isn’t as dedicated and knowledgeable on the subject as I am. Here, I do want to state, that I know not all new social media people can be put into this stereotype and I am sure their are many respectable social media newbies out there. Right now it seems like social media marketing is the hottest trend and everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon.

Some highlights of the report include:

“When asked to rate their experience using social media marketing for their businesses, a significant 72% of marketers have either just started or have been using social media for only a few months. ” What?? I know the industry is relatively new, but a few months, come on!

12

21

—————————————————————————————-

“There is a direct relationship between how long marketers have been using social media and their weekly time commitment.  For people just beginning with social media, the median weekly time commitment was two hours per week. However, for folks who have been doing this for a few months, the median jumped to 10 hours a week. And for people who have been doing this for years, their median is 20+ hours each week.” The longer you have been involved with social media, the more you understand that it does take a lot of time… You also know it pays off.

3

“The longer you invest, the greater return you are gonna get”

- Michael Stelzer

So, to conclude, I will never claim to know all the answers.  That isn’t what social media is about.  It is about trial and error…. It is about being able to adapt and react quickly, it is about being honest with your consumers and most important it is about COMMITMENT and PASSION . I am happy to report that I can proudly say I am capable of all of this….  Can a social media guru who just started truly say that?


you aren’t a lush if this is what you do for a living.

It is one thing to call yourself a wine blogger and write about various consumer wine tasting events like Barrel Tasting.  It is a whole different story to be asked to attend wine blogger specific events and get a self guided tour from the vineyard manager of one of the top wineries in Napa Valley.  Add in good friends, new contacts, some chocolate & cheese and this was the ultimate wine blogging weekend….  The only problem: Too much to write about!  I am definitely not complaining here, having too much to write about is never a bad thing.  I learned so much from each event that it will take me a while to type up my thoughts so below is a short write up of each even before my thoughts become irrelevant:

Thursday April 2nd was the Wine 2.0 Expo at Crushpad in San Francisco.  It was my second encounter with the Wine 2.0 guys (the first was at ZAP) and my first time at Crushpad and it was a blast.  Being a newbie to the wine event scene, I had no idea that Crushpad was a huge warehouse that can hold over a thousand people. I was amazed at that the room was to hold over 800 wine/technology loving people. The expo was held to showcase some of the “emerging companies and wineries that are reinventing how wine is made, marketed or sold.”  This included many different wineries, mostly from Sonoma, Napa and Paso Robles, a few wine tech companies and one innovative chocolate company.  Cornelius Geary, CEO of Wine 2.0 even gave me the official Wine 2.0 Flip camera to videotape part of the evening…  More info and maybe even a video to come about my highlights of this event.

crushpadTaken from Wine 2.0′s Facebook page.

Saturday April 4th was Bloggers Day at St. Supery winery in Rutherford, Ca.  Wine bloggers from all around the Bay Area visited the winery for some wine, food and of course some socializing.  Going into this day not knowing anything about the winery, it was definitely nice to get a guided tour of some of the vineyards from their Vineyard Manager, Josh Anstey.  Everything from the croissant (and bacon) pairing with the Sauvignon Blanc to the wine tasting upstairs to the lunch under the oak tree out in front was just perfect.  I left with a better feeling about this Napa winery (yes, I am a Sonoma County girl with a deep passion for her home county).  I was given few parting gifts and much more is to be said about this day, so look for more info soon.

lizz-149

The St. Supery team and the wine bloggers.

To top this weekend off on Sunday April 5th was maybe the most exciting event of the three.  I was able to participate in the Passion for Pinot Summit, an all day pinot event put on by Barbara Drady of the Affairs of the Vine.  Thea Dwelle (aka @winebratsf) invited me to be one of the blogging judges of this blind pinot noir tasting.  Me, a judge in a pinot tasting…  Could life get any better?  The top 44 pinot noirs from all over the world, chosen in a previous blind tasting from a professional tasting panel (more about Blind Tastings in another posting to come) were covered up and assigned colors.  Over 300 guests, writers, bloggers and industry professionals tasted and chose their top favorites.  The winners can be found on Barbara’s blog post about the event.  My observations on the type of pinot noir’s that I gravitated to are coming up in another blog post as well.

I lushed it up this past weekend and I wouldn’t want my life to be any other way….


social media classes in sonoma county.

If someone asked me at the age of eight what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have had one of three different responses: A lawyer, a teacher or the person who writes commercials.  The third dream of mine is the one that I ended up pursuing and even though my dream was crushed by the decline in TV advertising, I knew even at a young age that the marketing world was the world for me.  Good thing the world of internet advertising allows for more creative thinking and versatility than the in-the-box model of the TV advertisement.

Over the years many people have told me that I would make a great teacher, that I have a commanding voice (I think they mean loud) and now it is official – I am breaking out the glasses, the khaki pants and a plain blue blouse (memories of Mr. Murdock and Mr. Kaufman my two favorite teachers in high school) because I am going to start teaching social media classes for the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau.

(more…)


a perfect blend of wine & social networking.

Thursday, April 2nd is Wine 2.0‘s latest San Fransisco event held at the Crushpad.  After months of hearing amazing tweets about happenings at this venue, I finally get to go!  If you haven’t heard about Wine 2.0, it is a wine social network/event planning company that is looking to bring the wine world into the 2.0 world….

In an interview done by Winterviews, Cornelius Geary, Wine 2.0′s CEO sums up what many of us wine bloggers already know:

“That direct connection with the consumer and the potential sale it holds, I believe, is the number one priority for wine brands in the U.S.”


freebies + social media = hot restaurant strategy.

This article from Media Post News says it all:

Earlier this month, Denny’s gave away more than 2 million Grand Slam Breakfasts in one day with the help of a Super Bowl commercial and online chatter.

This week, Quiznos gave away a million subs in three days after using only banner ads, Facebook and Twitter presence and some free local radio exposure.

Denny’s may have been investing in brand awareness, but as the Quiznos promotion demonstrated, with consumers looking to save every penny they can, you probably don’t need the Super Bowl part to drive a freebie.

Another current example of using a giveaway and online chatter to drive restaurant traffic: International House of Pancakes just completed its third annual National Pancake Day on Tuesday, in which it gives away a small stack of pancakes and in return asks customers to consider donating to the Children’s Miracle Network or a local charity.

IHOP, which has raised nearly $2 million for charities since starting the day in 2006, relied on a dedicated Web site with a “tell a friend” pass-along application, its normal presence on key social networks and some PR to drive awareness and traffic.

The result? IHOP has not finished tallying, but the chain was shooting for $1 million and believes that this year was its best in terms of awareness, traffic and donations, according to spokesperson Patrick Lenow.  “The word-of-mouth generated through social networks was just incredible,” he says.

And that’s just this month’s roster of freebie-based promotions designed to draw in new diners, get existing customers to visit more frequently and pick up some revenue from the beverages and other purchases that usually accompany the freebie.

“Social networking and restaurants are a logical match,” says Reggie Bradford, CEO of social media marketing consultancy Vitrue.  “Food is naturally social,” he points out.  “Where do you want to eat?  Do you want to grab something here?  This is translating to online conversations around restaurant brands.  We’ve seen tremendous adoption of social media strategies among QSRs and fast-casual restaurants.”

Combine social media with freebies, and you’ve got marketing dynamite.  “Giving away food in these uncertain economic times obviously resonates strongly with consumers,” Bradford says.  “Huge gains are being made by brands who are reaching out to consumers with something tangible. IHOP deserves kudos for taking it important steps further by giving back to the community and forging loyalty along the way.”

The lift in online buzz has been significant for all of these promotions, based on Vitrue’s Social Media Index, which measures online conversations about a brand in social networks, blogs and Twitter.

Denny’s SMI score more than doubled (from 22 to 45.6) after its commercial and meal giveaway.  Quiznos’ jumped from 12.4 on the first day of the promotion to 16.1 three days later, or by 30%. IHOP’s score was 36.9 on Jan. 1 and 73.9 on Feb. 25, the day after Pancake Day–a 99% gain.

IHOP and other brands could benefit from more compelling Facebook pages, perhaps incorporating surveys, polling and a restaurant locator, Bradford says.  Providing franchisees with the tools to tap their online social circles to market local events is another opportunity, as is capturing event RSVPs to go back to individuals with coupons and other loyalty-building offers, he adds.


seth godin’s social media quotes.

Some great quotes from the one person I can truly call a Marketing Guru, Seth Godin.

“Social Networking that matters is helping people archive their goals.  Doing it reliably and repeatability so that over time people have an interest in helping you achieve your goals” (You can do it both online and office).

“What I don’t like online is the superficial networking. It doesn’t count for anything” (I can say the same thing for real world networking, sitting in a room of people who are just waiting for their turn to speak without really listening or caring what you have to say).


Thanks to Anthony De Rosa of Soup, Soup for blogging this video….  and for his humorous tweets about Social Media.


social media do’s and don’t in short.

Do: listen, be transparent about your intentions, “Give to Get” and have a plan.

Don’t: Be fake, interruptive and focus only on short term sales.

More great tips on Social Media on Online Marketing Blog.


why you should hire a freelancer.

I was just recently asked by a winemaker friend of mine if I have any marketing agency recommendations for him.  After he told me he was looking for an agency to create a print ad, my first question to him was why he wanted an agency to do this for him when it would be much cheaper and faster to hire a freelance graphic artist to create an amazing print ad for him.

His reaction to my question was that he hadn’t thought about that and he wasn’t sure how to go about finding the right person to help him out.

This comment got me thinking about local photographer/creative director/social elite Todd Brilliant’s new project the Creative Job Agency and the large number of freelance creative people I know around the area.

The CREATIVE JOB AGENCY will position itself as “LinkedIn for Creatives,” only with a real-world social element that will help form and cement critical professional relationships.

What is great about this “agency” is that it allows like-minded creative people to network, online and offline to discuss work opportunities and possible collaborations.   It is a great opportunity to meet freelancers and build up your list of recommended graphic artists, website developers, pr people, etc.  What it doesn’t do is get the word out to other, non-creative businesses and people who might be looking for our services.  That is up to us.

My current side business (still in initial start up phase) is social media and public relations focused, which is not a discipline that local businesses usually think to use when budgeting their marketing dollars.   This means it is up to me to get out into the community to let them know that I am available to help them cheaply market their brands online.  I currently am doing this by networking with business owners and other creative people, linking businesses that might not need my services with other freelance people that can currently help them.

Other reasons a freelance PR/Marketing/Website person might be the best answer for you*

  1. Price -  Freelancers do not have the same overhead as agencies, which means it costs less for them to create
  2. Attention – More personal attention because they have less clients
  3. Localized services – Help keep freelancers in business and they will continue to live in Sonoma County and help out the economy instead of moving away to work at agencies in the big cities
  4. Talent -The lack of work  in agencies means that talented people (like me) are doing more side work

So before you go looking for a Sonoma County agency, ask yourself if you know anyone who might know a freelancer that could help you out.

*Sorry to agencies I have previously had worked for or will work for in the future.  I am not discounting the work that any Agency does, but during economic hardships, I think that freelance work is the better choice, especially for smaller businesses.


social media can help sonoma county businesses through the downturn.

Yesterday two more stories were in the Press Democrat about Sonoma County businesses laying off people and cutting back on production.  Agilent Technologies and one of my favorite food brands, Amy’s Kitchen, both have been hit hard by the recession.  Both companies say they are cautiously optimistic about the future.  This got me thinking that it may be hard to stay optimistic when reading these articles (and the many others), but if you look at this era as an opportunity, then you can be optimistic about the future.

Even though hard working people are being laid off every single day, the downtime allows people to assess their situation and do something about it. As Scott Ginsberg, motivational speaker and business blogger says in a recent article titled How to Dance in the Rain of Our Current Economic Storm:

Take advantage of your downtime to accomplish projects and activities you wouldn’t be able to do if you were booked solid.  With this approach, you’ll probably end up accomplishing more than ever…

In tough times, one still has to believe that hard work, dedication, creativity and persistence will (hopefully) prevail.   I am lucky to have inspiration from my father who owns a carpet store in Santa Rosa.  Many other carpet stores are closing down because of lack of sales, but my dad has managed to not only stay afloat, he is actually still doing relatively well.  When this recession ends and consumers start having more confidence to start buying products, he will be the one they will buy carpet from because he will still be around.

Will your business be around at to see the rainbow at the end of the storm?   What?  Too cheesy?  How about will your business stay afloat after the hurricane?

One thing that Sonoma County businesses can do to help make sure that they stay afloat is to invest in Social Media Marketing.   An unfortunate trend I am seeing at both the national and local level is that brands are cutting back on most or all of their marketing budgets to save some money.  This is fine, if you want your competition to hog the spotlight and take away your business.  But, if you want to stay relevant and keep your brand on top of mind when consumers do get their purchasing confidence back, then you need to keep on reminding them that you are still here.

Top Reasons Sonoma County businesses should use Social Media Marketing to publicize their brand online:

  1. It is cost effective
  2. It provides national coverage (especially great in such a touristy place such as this)
  3. It can improve SEO rankings and website traffic
  4. You can be responsive to negative comments (as well as thank those with positive comments)
  5. It also provides the opportunity to connect with other members of your community

Chris Brogan, Social Media guru has an awesome post back in October of 2008 on using social media to help you get through the economic downturn.

New Media Type, a Web 2.0 blog explains that Social Media Marketing is sometimes the first to be cut because of the unknown but that it shouldn’t be.


send a virtual cupcake.

I just discovered a cute new viral promotion on where you can customize and email a cupcake to your friends and kitchen appliance company Electrolux will give one dollar for each cupcake to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

I am not a fan of Electrolux’s Kelly Ripa campagin (because she kinda drives me crazy) but anything that has to do with cupcakes and giving money to ovarian cancer research , I am all for!  I would like to note that if you try to send a cupcake from their website you have to sign up and give them your information, but the Facebook application you don’t.

cupcake2


zinful zap events: the grand tasting.

Saturday was the big ZAP event – The Grand Zinfandel Tasting!  According to my favorite wine geek and partner in wine glass breaking, Ward of WineLog Blog aka DrXeno:

“Over 275 wineries, 400 wines, countless other food and wine specialists and 10,000 attendees will be participating”

Judging from what I saw from my bird’s eye view of only one half of the event, I believe it.  As I was taking my pictures one person noted that this year is one of the ZAP event’s slower years.

zap-view

No matter the amount of people, I know I was extremely thankful to be there.  Being a Sonoma County girl, I know the power that the Zin (especially Dry Creek Valley) has on people.  Even though it is still my second favorite varietal, it is still a great wine to drink on it’s own or paired with great hearty food — Great for the Winter time.

The reason I was able to enjoy this grand tasting was because of Lisa of Hahn Wine Estates aka WineDiverGirl who introduced me to the “Bloggers Lounge” organizer, Wine 2.0.  An online company and social network dedicated to social media and events in the wine world.  Wine 2.0 allowed us bloggers to come to the Grand Tasting and enjoy the free wifi, networking opportunities and to have a place to sit back and gather our thoughts of the event.

The wineries were split up into two different rooms based in alphabetical order.   I stayed in the I though Z room for the most part, highly concentrated on the T section.

The reason: Truett Hurst Winery, their three zinfandel’s, one pinot noir, one petite sirah, owner Phil Hurst and General Manager Jim Morris.  The Zins were a perfect balance of being bold without over powering the taste buds and the company was one of the most welcoming, friendly and humorous out of all wineries there.  It doesn’t hurt that they happened to be the only winery there that was on Twitter (please comment if I am wrong) – and we (Ashley, Ward and I) are all Twitter obsessed.

us-four

I sent this image to Twitter of us three with Jim.

truett-hurst-sign

An image I sent to Twitter saying that Truett Hurst “gets” Social Media: Truett Hurst is Everywhere.

Without naming names, I will say that some of the wineries that were there were semi to extremely close minded to the thought of social media.  Visiting as many wineries as I could, I talked to many of them about what they were doing online to promote their brand.  Most of the response to my question was “What is Twitter?” or “I do not know how to start” or “No, we don’t believe in that.”  Needless to say, I took all their business cards and have sent an email letting them know I would love to speak to them more about the power of social media for brands.

I tweeted my frustration while at the event and my favorite response was from Penelope Gadd-Coster, owner and winemaker of Coral Mustang Winery.

“Most wineries don’t even blog, let alone do any social networking”

It reminds me of a past wine client and their CEO who thought that the internet was not where their customers where… This was a year ago…. So much has changed, yet so much remains the same.

I am just thankful to be in the presence of innovators such as the folks at Wine 2.0, fellow wine bloggers who I now call my friends and wineries such as Truett Hurst.


irony in social media.

From a PR standpoint, Twitter is great for starting conversations with key influencers in any industry.  It is an easy way to make friends and get your message across.  But it is also an easy tool to shoot yourself in your own foot if used improperly.

Case in point: A Vice President at one of the largest PR firm’s in the United States was visiting one of their largest clients in Memphis, Tennessee.  After landing in Memphis, he tweeted:

“True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say, ‘I would die if I had to live here.”

The large client saw the tweet and, needless to say, was not pleases that this VP was trashing the city that they are headquartered in.  For more, please read Former CBS News Correspondent David Henderson’s article on the subject.

This foot in mouth scenario is a great reminder that what happens on the internet, does in fact, stay on the internet.  And is available for all to read.

The irony of this is that the VP was headed over to visit the client to discuss Social Media strategy.  I think he needs to take a spoonful of his own advice. Using Social Media for a brand is all about creating relationships and building content that will help your brand.  He was a part of the brand for his agency and rule #1 in Marketing: Do not bite the hand that feeds you.

I know that not all of my tweets are all about work related issues and I cannot judge anyone for making a comment without thinking. We are all human.  But it has definitely got me thinking about my online persona and what I say online.


excerpts from obama’s speech.

humility in our approaches.

people of goodwill.

please join others in the strive for a prosperous nation and a healthy planet.

the ground has shifted beneath us.

yes, we intend to move forward.

we will extend the hand if you’re willing to unclench the fist.

this nation cannot prosper long when it only values the prosperous.

people would rather cut their hours rather than see a friend lose their job.

our challenges may be new.

but those values on which success depends — these things are true.

this is the price of our citizenship.

shape an uncertain destiny.

remember who we are and how far we have traveled.

we refused to let this journey end.

eyes fixed on the horizon.

This is my random attempt at writing down bits and piece’s of President Barack Obama’s speech during this historic speech.  Truly poetic.

I watched him being sworn in from the comforts of my own bedroom, live on CNN.com in partnership with Facebook.  Read about the numbers of social networking today here.

Realizing I would have been to late to make it to my morning PR class, I quickly stopped by my mother’s house  to visit her and my 2 year old nephew Gavin.   Just seeing him laugh once and know there is hope for this world… Obama’s speech just reassured this for me.

gavin-and-me


wine bloggers conference.

It is all about the First Annual Wine Blogging Conference this weekend. The entire Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa will be taken over by some of the best professional wine lushes in America.

My dumb ass was too much of a procrastinator when it came to actually purchasing a ticket so I wasn’t able to buy one before it sold out. Thankfully, I am now helping out with the CIA’s Blind Tasting Challenge so I am now able to get in! Whoo hoo.

The best part of the event: meeting all of the people I talk to on Twitter on a daily or weekly basis, including @winebratsf (whom I have already met and already know she kicks ass) of Vinquire and Luscious Lushes Wine Blog, @Sondara of WannabeWino, @DrXeNo of WineLog Blog, @smellslikegrape of Smells Like Grape Wine Blog and those are just the ones I talked to today…  There will be many, many others that would take me all night to write down.

Any wine bloggers reading this right now: I will be the one handing out Scharffen Berger chocolate, so look for me at the event!

More about the event next week, for now I leave you with a quote from everyone’s favorite internet wine geek, Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV.

“People are always talking about what you’re doing now… To me, it’s not what you’re doing now, it’s about where you’re going.”


b.l.o.g.

Better listings on Google..

Natalie Dee drawing

Natalie Dee Drawing

- Quote from social media camp that I need to remember.


pr in august.

I don’t really do well in 90+ degree heat, but thankfully I am back in an office where I can wear my three quarter length cardigans again. My new job is at The MacKenzine Agency, a public relations firm with offices in Santa Rosa and New York. They specialize on delivering media relations (both online and offline), event management, trade & consumer education, advertising, and sales promotion support to food and beverage marketers, with a particular emphasis on specialty and organic/all-natural foods; premium/luxury wines, spirits and beverages.

I look forward to this new adventure for me, wine and food…. How could I not?


a few things I learned from social media camp.

taken by daniel brusilovsky

taken by daniel brusilovsky

This past Tuesday I ventured to San Fran to make a stop at social media camp, a conference much like cupcake camp or bar camp and I learned a few things:

1. “Wanna be successful, make people around you successful.”  This quote struck a cord deep down in me when I heard it in Erica O’Grady’s opening speech.  It is from the book Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz.  It is so obvious, yet so powerful.  Working in marketing, the first rule is that if your client is not making money then you won’t keep the business for long.  In my new position as the social marketing and promotions manager for Healdsburg Magazine, my job is to care about bringing more money to local businesses and the Healdsburg community/economy as a hole.  I recently learned that many small family owned wineries in the area are already on the Open Wine Consortium (social network for people in the wine industry). This proves that they know that the web is a great vehicle to get their voice across, now I want to help them get heard through multiple other social media sites, thus making them more successful (and in turn, making me more successful of course).

2. Sex still sells! At the Half Baked activity, the room was split into 3 teams, my team constituted of a few people, including Tilly from Yahoo. The idea of Half Baked is to spilt into teams, pick two “buzz” words from a list that the crowd yelled out and then to create a website (with name, tagline, revenue model and marketing plan) in 10 minutes. Our team chose AtomicPimp.com, a subscription based dating site where people pay to be “pimped” out to find dates. A percentage of the profits go to “pimps”, who set people up on dates. Pimps can promote themselves through various social networking, blah, blah, blah…. Anyways, our team won tickets to the Summer Mash SF party at the Mighty… All because sex sells (oh, yeah, and our idea kicked ass).

3. Twitter is one of the biggest social networks out there, yet it is still only known by other fellow web geeks. In the beginning of the camp, we all went around saying our names, three “tags” (mine: Healdsburg, tourism and live events) and our favorite Social Media site (Hi my name is Shana and I am a Twitter-holic). Almost everyone in the room said Twitter as well. I must say there is definitely something in communicating in 140 characters or less.

4. Geek guys are hot (It is the glasses). That is all.

5. Just be honest and write about what you know, if it is interesting, people will read (just don’t constantly spam your friends with your blog URL *oops).

6. Social Media Marketing takes time. You have to build relationships, as well as maintain them. Old Media talked TO people, not with them.

7. Basic Online necessities:

1. Create a blog— WordPress is my personal favorite

2. Twitter — Start following people and have something to say

3. Facebook — It isn’t just there so you can poke old high school friends, FB has allowed me to connect with business owners, wineries and journalists in the area. It works.

4. Email — If people email you, make sure to follow up!


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