Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Copper topWe all like to receive compliments, a bit of ‘positive stroking’ never did anybody any harm. And the same applies to our wines, we love to see positive reviews and read positive comments written about us, but then, in this age of social media, it is also possible that this can sometimes produce a negative effect too. Don’t get me wrong, the very positive thing about the internet is that everyone is given the opportunity to voice their opinion, but then the downside is also that everyone is given the opportunity to voice their opinion!

Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of receiving great reviews (points or stars), is that you are immediately put on a pedestal just inviting the would-be critics to shoot you down. For example, if someone is given very high expectations of your food or wine, then this could, in turn, lead to a bit of a disappointment, if what they actually experience is not quite as good as they had anticipated. When you find yourself at the very top of your game, then perhaps the only way is down, and so, in this way, it is almost better for the consumer to have no expectations at all in order that they can taste or eat with a completely open mind – the power of (pre)suggestion is always a powerful thing.

To be honest it’s not quite so bad for wines, which are rarely ‘rated’ by the public (there is no Trip Advisor for wines as yet), but for restaurants and hotels this can really be a total nightmare. I recently read about a very humble Barbecue restaurant, the Copper Top, located in a very small town on highway 395 in California. With some 250 great reviews on Yelp, and hardly anything negative, my guess is that some algorithm suddenly decided that this small barbecue (built on the back of an 8ft trailer), was now the No.1 dining experience out of 600,000 in the United States. You can probably guess what happened next…. the place was simply overrun, not only by normal consumers, but also by professional food critics and the press. With queues down the street, running out of their now famous barbecue food in record time, it wasn’t long before the crowd started to turn ugly. Not only were customers complaining for every small detail, but then other local business waded in with false reviews, simply in order to drag them down. The critics were merciless! So a rating that looked and felt good on paper at least, had now backfired horrendously for the poor unwitting proprietors.

My own opinion of this system has never really waivered – if you want to read the reviews of Castro Martin then fine, but why not simply buy a bottle, pull the cork and make your own judgement? In the end it’s your own opinion that really counts!

Posted in Press, Social Media

Social media explainedEverything you need to know….

Posted in Social Media

SmartphoneNow I realise as I write this that there might be a few people who view our social media pages using smartphones, so I will start with an apology to them….. I am sorry for what I am about to write! A question that I am increasingly asking myself these days is quite simply, how did we survive before mobile phones? Or perhaps, to refine the question a bit, how did we communicate without them? I was sitting in a restaurant yesterday watching a nearby table comprising two adults and their young child – the mother was messaging on her phone, the father was surfing the web on his, whilst the young child was left to stare at the ceiling. Is this really the example that we want to set to our children? Extending this idea a bit further, could it be that at sometime in the not-to-distant future we will lose the ability to communicate face-to-face altogether? I once saw a young couple in a very expensive New York restaurant texting throughout their meal, and it left me wondering if they were actually texting each other? Had they already lost the ability to talk to one-another? 

Wherever you go, bars, restaurants, airports, public transport, people appear transfixed by their phones. Certainly they are an indispensable tool in modern day life, but it still raises the question, where do we (or where should we) draw the line, before they take over our lives completely? On which occasion should we resist the incoming call or message, and show some respect to the people with whom we are actually sharing our time?

Or perhaps the final question should be….. am I just an old fuddy-duddy?


To Tweet or not to Tweet, that is the question? (Doesn’t have quite the same cadence to it as the Bard’s original version I’m afraid)…..

It is claimed that one of the most effective ways of marketing these days is via social media. Indeed, I heard only the other day from another wine professional based in the U.S., that the importance of wine publications and their points systems are starting to diminish as their influence on consumers is now being surpassed by different forms of social media. Here at Castro Martin we’ve been blogging for years, and quite recently have added a Facebook page where we regularly update the news and gossip in and around our own locality.

Maybe it’s just an age thing, but of all the different forms of social media I’m afraid that I’m not too convinced about the value of Twitter to our particular business. I’ve heard that some of the comments, or tweets should I say, can be a bit inane, and whilst there are always things happening in the bodega, I’m not sure if I feel inclined to comment about what’s going on every five minutes. Once every couple of days seems quite sufficient to me, and with a blog and a Facebook page, I think that this pretty much covers the bases. Certainly if we were a fast moving business where news was developing on minute-by-minute basis then I might be inclined to join in, but it’s simply that I just don’t want to allow technology take over my life completely. (It’s already bad enough that Angela sometimes sends me text messages from within the same house!)

I read somewhere that messaging and using a mobile phone can be contagious, and I’m afraid to admit that this might just be true – how often have you seen someone using a mobile, and then suddenly felt inclined to check your own messages? Believe me, it happens…..

“An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told.” ~ Richard III, Act IV, Scene IV

Posted in Social Media