(Assignment Snapshot: Pick an industry you are interested in and review an industry-related social network. Give details, target audience, how it works, overall thoughts, could it incorporate proximity marketing, what other channels work well with it as it relates to IMC)
Are you zany for zombies?
Perhaps you feel a higher calling and wonder if heaven is in your future?
Maybe you just gotta have a man with a stache…
Whatever your passion, chances are there is a social network for you.
Yes, Virginia, there is social beyond Facebook!
Industry-related social networks or vertical social networks are not new but they are growing in popularity. They allow people to interact with professionals (or like-minded thinkers) and focus on news and events that have a direct affect on their lives. This is why some argue these sites are less distracting than regular social networks. (BBR Marketing)
“Wine is sunlight held together by water” Galileo Gallilei
So that brings us to my slight wine addiction. Ok, It’s not really a wine addiction literally…it’s more like a hobby. For the better part of 10 years, I have been collecting wine. I jokingly tell my friends it will be my back-up 401k should the market ever tank and it is not because I own ridiculously high-priced bottles. I’ve just been collecting for over a decade so where there are gaps in quality, there is quantity!
Say Cheers to Snooth
I stumbled upon Snooth when I was looking for a way to label and log my wine. I don’t use it often but do gravitate to it when I want to know something about a wine. I have watched it develop into a wine lover’s social network since its inception in 2006. It is now the largest online wine community with over 1 million registered users. Snooth is part of Snooth Media based in New York City. It identifies itself as a technology-driven media company delivering wine, spirits and food content to epicurean consumers. Its two other properties are What’s Cookin and The Spirit. (CrunchBase)
Why It’s Important
It’s wine…need I say more?
All kidding aside. Wine connoisseurs are passionate. They like to talk wine and compare notes. Wine can also be intimidating. This is a forum for everyone. In fact, that’s why it was created.
Phillip James launched Snooth with one goal in mind: making wine info clear, accessible and freely available. The idea came to him when he began working in the wine industry and realized just how complex wine was. To quote him, “If even the most seasoned wine collectors could become confused, what hope was there for the casual wine lover?” (Snooth Facebook page)
How It Works
For all of wine’s complexity, the network is pretty simple and it has something for everyone.
The Snooth Experience
The beginner can take a Wine 101 and learn about grapes, regions, what to expect from each and the vernacular of wine.
Want to become a student of wine?
Snooth is loaded with features including recipes, a search tool to find wines, a portal to buy wines from trusted buyers, an online community where one can write and read reviews, access peers, mentors and experts, explore wine pairings and research wine-focused travel experiences. It’s very easy to use as well. Simply go to Snooth and create an account. You can make your profile elaborate or simple. Snooth will also personalize your experience and recommend wines based on the tastes you indicate. You can also opt in on email like the ones below featuring tutorials, recipes, great buys and more:
Learn from the best…
Study wine-growing regions…
Explore timely recipes…
More on the Social Experience
In addition to the online community forum on Snooth, you can follow friends and compete for trophies inside your very own wine rack. The more you participate in the wine community, the more you are rewarded. In your personalized wine rack, you can save articles to your library, add wines to your cellar, create a wishlist, build wine flights and share through social buttons to Facebook and Twitter. Snooth uses a trophy system very similar to the badge system found on Foursquare.
The wine rack can also be personalized. Notice the bottom of the rack.
The days of snooty wine drinkers are fast becoming a thing of the past. The millennials are changing all that:
“Historically, wine has been marketed to older generations and came with a huge pretense. But this generation is blowing all of that out of the water, they don’t care about the pretentiousness of a wine they want something that is authentic and speaks to them. This is a huge marketing opportunity.”(Kathryn Buschman Vasel)
– Melissa Saunders, owner of Communal Brands
Take a look at these two graphics. They speak volumes.
Millennials are adopting wine at a faster rate than any other generation. They have very little brand loyalty because they love to experiment. “In terms of marketing to millennials, this audience prefers authentic experiences and hip, modern packaging and due to their use of social media, they rely on word of mouth recommendations from their friends rather than from industry professionals.” (Neeraj Singh) This is where Snooth is positioned to dominate. Two years ago, the site was already seeing 10 million unique visitors a month! (Robin Valenzuela)
I don’t think that Snooth is the best candidate for proximity marketing because it doesn’t really need it by the nature of what it is. It is not a brick and mortar store…it’s an online service. People come to talk about wines. People come to research and people do come to buy. Snooth though just curates the best deal and redirects you to the merchant selling it. It’s an online transaction.
Our lecture this week tells us that “Proximity marketing offers marketers the opportunity to promote brands to highly targeted, on-location audiences.” While Snooth doesn’t have a physical on-location spot where they sell wine, they could “proximity market” at wine festivals, restaurants with good wine lists, on wine tours and at vineyards.
Where Snooth capitalizes on what they call “location aware” opportunities is with their awesome app. It features a tool where you can discover wine stores near you, check out what they have and ideally, buy! You can even interact with management.
Find a store near you on the Snooth App
Speaking of location-based apps, the Snooth headquarters in New York City can be found on Foursquare so if you happen to be near 49 West 24th Street, check in! I bet they would be willing to pour you a glass.
IMC, Social Channels and Content Communities
Snooth itself is part of a larger media company as I mentioned earlier. The other two sites focus on cocktails and food ~ a perfect pair to compliment a wine-centric social network. The recipes you see on Snooth, you will also see on What’s Cookin, wine pairings on What’s Cookin will send you towards Snooth. So within their own properties they integrate marketing.
Snooth is also on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. They prominently feature social share buttons “above the fold” and their mission, overall look, font and imagery is the same across all these platforms:
A Stand out? Overall Thoughts?
I do think Snooth is a stand out when it comes to the wine industry. It’s founder set out to make wine accessible and that is exactly what he did.
Cellar Tracker is another big wine community. It’s a strong one as well with lots of good information but the user experience isn’t as social. As a result, the complex subject that is wine, doesn’t feel as accessible. It’s a site that at its core is best for keeping up with your own personal wine library.
Snooth’s app also sets it apart. It has image-based search which is great when you are at a restaurant or a friend’s house and you find a wine you love. You snap a photo and up comes all you wanted to know about that bottle. That is just one of its many seriously awesome features. If you are interested, check it out here. Good news for Android users too, there’s an app for you!
There is really only one competitor in this arena for Snooth and that’s Vivino. They are very similar and wine people have a lot of strong opinions on which one is better. I’ll let you decide for yourself!
Now, it’s late. I’ve spent the greater part of my 4th of July weekend doing school work and I’m thirsty.
So I’m off to enjoy a glass of wine with my name on it.
Just For Fun
In this week’s edition of Just For Fun…a little tribute to the days of snooty wine drinkers. Following content is NSFW!
No author given. (No Date Given). http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/snooth
Stephanie Frasco. (No Date Given). 60+ Niche Social Networks Marketers Should Know About, Retrieved July 5, 2014, https://www.convertwithcontent.com/60-niche-social-networks-marketers/
BBR Marketing. (No Date Given). Is Industry-Specific Social Networking the Way of the Future? Retrieved July 4, 2014, http://www.bbrmarketing.com/blog/is-industry-specific-social-networking-the-way-of-the-future/
Kathryn Buschman Vasel. (October 9, 2013). How Millennials are Changing the Wine Industry. Retrieved July 7, 2014, http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/10/08/how-millennials-are-changing-wine-industry/
Neeraj Singh. (February 10, 2014). By the Numbers: Wine Industry Consumer Trends Impacting Your Business, Retrieved July 7, 2014, http://gsm.ucdavis.edu/blog-feature/numbers-wine-industry-consumer-trends-impacting-your-business
Robyn Valenzuela. (February 13, 2012). Snooth: Wine Information and Recommendations, Retrieved July 7, 2014, http://snooth.appappeal.com/