In 2010, a small Chilean winery, Lapostolle, was coming off a successful yearlong social media effort that had built it a following of 3,000 Facebook fans.
Earlier, as 2009 was coming to a close, BFG Communications had begun strategizing with its client, Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle (of the family that makes Grand Marnier) and her husband, Cyril de Bournet, about how to improve on the community engagement the brand had built and create an even larger, stronger social connection.
As part of the strategy, Lapostolle wanted to encourage user-generated content, double the number of Facebook fans, and drive trial and purchase.
“We first looked into YouTube because we wanted to encourage people to be creative by sharing videos but, ultimately, we felt that was too limiting—mainly because of the technology expense,” says Sloane Kelley, interactive strategy director at BFG.
Twitter became the marketing vehicle of choice to host the “Uncork the Passion” contest, which offered a chance to apprentice at the Lapostolle winery in Chile. Winning the apprenticeship required creating interesting content and attracting votes along the way from among Twitter’s robust wine community—whose members talk all the time with both the Lapostolle brand and each other.
“We started asking ourselves how we could make these people, who are really into the brand and into wine, spread the word about Lapostolle,” Kelley says. “Our ultimate goal was to empower them and give them some tools to spread the word. We also wanted to integrate community voting—and it was easy to do that with Twitter’s API and then gather data and pull it into our voting system.”
The contest ran from April 15 to July 31, 2010. People provided links to videos or photos that helped illustrate their passion. The hashtag #lapostolle was used to track all the entries, which were then aggregated at the microsite www.UncorkthePassion.com.
The participants “could be as creative as they wanted,” Kelley says.
The 50 tweets with the most votes were handed over to a panel of three judges: wine and social media enthusiast Gary Vaynerchuk; a winemaker from Lapostolle; and one of the “Tasting Table” bloggers. The winner was Tammi Ramsey, an amateur winemaker with the Twitter handle @grapejuiceone.
“Tammi was very into wine and very much a part of the online wine drinking community,” Kelley says. “She posted a lot about different tastings and pairings, and at the time she had 1,028 followers.”
Ramsey flew to Chile last March for two weeks and tweeted about the entire experience while she was there and after she returned home. Ramsey’s exposure helped Lapostolle grow its social media communities. Fans on Facebook and Twitter followers doubled.
“Bigger than that, though, was just the awareness factor,” Kelley says. The number of people mentioning Lapostolle on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social sites increased by 8.5 times.”
Lapostolle definitely uncorked the passion, growing for the first time since 2006.