Seattle Wine Awards – Social Media
About the Seattle Wine Awards
The wines that earn recognition in the Seattle Wine Awards must achieve tasting panel consensus where they earn one of the following awards ~ Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze Grand Awards of Excellence in their respective price/wine categories. The wines that do not receive a Medal of Excellence, earn our Vintner’s Honor ~ Outstanding Washington Wine Award. This means we recognize the Washington wines that are truly outstanding! Our experienced Tasting Panel employs a modified 20-point system to score each wine. Wines are reviewed in flights that reflect the same price and varietal. Each wine is tasted and considered on the following criteria: Color / Aroma / Flavor & Palate / Balance / Finish / Overall Impression.
Creating a “Real-Time” Event
The Seattle Wine Awards was unique because it was the first wine event that offered participants a complete new media package that included content production from live HD video streaming to professional photography tied to social media syndication. We also assisted with”wiring up” the Washington wine industry by providing the first time anyone has coordinated the industry by helping the wine makers setup their first Twitter accounts and basic social media operations. Without Twitter accounts we could not mention the wine makers in our real-time event conversations. One winemaker was shocked when he received a phone call from a new customer that learned about his wines via a link posted to Twitter.
Digital Brand Infrastructure
The first project was to capture and brand the Seattle Wine Awards off-website properties such as the @wineawards Twitter channel. Each of the web properties were custom branded and customized using search engine optimization techniques. NExt we built the Seattle Wine Awards social media team was to create an out reach program to connect with local wine influencers. We setup the #wineawards official event hashtag to work with the rest of our branded sites like @wineawards on Twitter and branded YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/wineawards .
Pre-Event Social Media Campaign
Six weeks before the 2010 Seattle Wine Awards we created three wine tasting tweetups where we released a sneak peek look at a few of the 2010 Seattle Wine Awards Winners. Christopher Chan, the Seattle Wine Awards invited our social media team to pre-taste the top Seattle Wine Award Winners paired with the host restaurants cuisine specialities. This provided a double win by generating buzz for both the Seattle Wine Awards and local area restaurant and their sommelier. This campaign generated a number of re-tweets and social media buzz that generated event ticket sales and even press mentions.
Seattle Wine Awards – On Location Day of Show
Operating a real-time event is an intense endeavor as all systems must function in parallel from coordination of the real-time media studios to making sure the venue’s bandwidth is working under heavy loads. The team we built was first class and this made the event run fairly smoothly considering that we had to shoot photos and videos of 80+ wine makers in a half a day.
Real-Time Photo Studio
For the second year we worked with two of Washington’s leading photographers Richard Brown and Stephen Brashier. Richard and his assistant setup a photo studio complete with branded backdrop in a side room at the event. Then we coordinated wine makers to shoot both personal profile and wine bottle shots. This provided both personal brand building for the wine makers and per bottle branding for each of their award winning wines.
The photos were processed with borders, posted to Flickr and then syndicated across Twitter and Facebook. The wine makers were instructed to leverage the photos on their website and blogs using structured search engine optimization tagging to drive traffic to their ecommerce operations. Richard Brown focused on shooting the event and worked with our social media team to post photos to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. We backfilled the Press and Bloggers with professional level photography. Photography is the primary digital asset on the social web, thus it is critical to have an A+ photography team to deliver both quality with rapid turnaround.
Search Engine Optimized HD Video Interviews
We setup “Studio A” to shoot 3min wine maker interviews. Wine makers signed up for their interview session and were invited to complementary hair and make up as a way to build their confidence for the video shoots. Each video was shot with multiple camera angles with close up bottle shots and lower thirds, then syndicated using search engine optimization techniques. Over sixty plus videos were produced and provided the wine makers with an additional exposure opportunity to highlight their award winning wines.
Live HD Video Streaming
We setup a live streaming video channel on uStream.TV to create a window on the web for people to peer into the event. This provided the wine makers with an additional channel to reach potential customers live during the event. The videos were also saved and syndicated with search engine optimization techniques. Colin Christianson volunteered his time to help shoot videos along with Greg Young to stream videos. Typically I will pull in smart people to work events “on demand” so we collaborate with gear, technology and ideas.
Mobile Social Media Team – Photos, Facebook & Tweets
At the event the Seattle Wine Awards social media team used their cellphones to capture images of the wine makers and bottle art. Next, they posted the photos with short tasting notes to Twitter with our official hashtag #wineawards. This created a very quick and efficient mobile method to create and syndicate content at the event.
Portable WiFi Hotspots
Most event venues provide limited internet bandwidth and are not setup for our bandwidth needs. To resolve this issue I created a partnership with Clearwire to sponsor the event’s bandwidth by proving us with the new Clearspots 4G WIFI Modems. Then I instructed our wine blogger / twitter team to pair up and share the Clearspots. This worked well because the Clearspots are portable and were placed in the pockets of each team cluster, thus providing a very portable bandwidth solution.