Wednesday night was EPIC. Just EPIC. We threw our first ever client/partner/thought-leader appreciation event which was co-sponsored by our incredible partner, Winetasting.com. Chris Edwards was my great co-host. We both had a lot of fun. We were also blessed to have two great bands deliver an incredible show. The opening band, Johnny HiFi (@JohnnyHiFi), included VinTank’s own partner, Eric Hsu. What an opening set. They were followed by the greatest band from South Africa: The Parlotones (@Parlotones). This is a band that recently played the World Cup and was kind enough to make a stop in their current US tour to join us in our sleepy town of Napa.
So why did we do this?
- Sharing an amazing event with our clients, partners, and thought-leaders who make our business possible is a privilege and an honor. We appreciate everyone we’ve worked with, every client who uses VinTank Social Connect, every partner, and every visionary who teaches us to do better. You are amazing and we are thankful to know and work with you. We had an amazing turn out and thank everyone who came. Our only regret is that we could not personally thank those who could not join us at the event. But we are working on other surprises for 2012 and planning on making this an annual event.
- We think The Parlotones and JohnnyHiFi are two of the most amazing bands and introducing them to such a great group was an honor and privilege. Our deepest thanks to both the bands and we hope that everyone who attended will buy their music and help spread the word about how great they are.
- The Parlotones also have a wine brand and we are big fans of the wines and their unique marketing approach (for example, each wine is named after one of their singles). Everyone who attended got to sample their wine and we hope they enjoyed it. It will be launching in the US in a few months on Winetasting.com first!
- We are real people (currently four of us) behind a software solution that powers over 2500 wine brands. We pride ourselves in great customer service even with such a small team (just tweet a question to @vintank, send us an email, or call and you’ll see). We want people to know us as individuals as well as a team and nothing is better than meeting over great wine with great music. We enjoyed meeting everyone and putting a face to their emails and twitter handles.
- VinTank Social Connect is our primary business and we are dedicated to making it better and helping wineries succeed online. That leads me to our next big news. On Wednesday we rolled out one of our biggest upgrades yet. Although most of the changes are “under the hood”, these changes will allow us to rapidly add new features and revolutionary ideas to our platform. This was a major release and we had a few challenges (some of you may have noticed old matches being re-matched in your daily email – this bug has been fixed). Our other challenge is we are migrating over 3 years of historical data to the new infrastructure (starting with the most recent months and moving back). This will take time since we have analyzed over 300 million conversations but we promise we’ll get the job done.
So what is new with VinTank Social Connect? Most of the new features are what you, our customers have requested. Please keep sending us requests, this is YOUR software after all.
- You can now edit the disposition of matches in your social campaigns. This includes adjusting the sentiment and indicating if a match is not relevant or should be deleted. There are five sentiment values ranging from strongly positive to strongly negative. Once set, the sentiment for a match is represented as a nifty icon in the top right corner of the post. You can also remove a match from your dashboard and reports and learn more about why and when the system matched the conversation to your campaign. In less than two weeks you will be able to generate reports based on sentiment.
- You can now add your own custom tags to social matches. Tags can be used to organize and categorize matches any way you’d like. Tags are private to your Social Connect account and are never published or shared. What will make tags even more powerful is when you can generate reports based on the tags you add to matches.
- Similar to tags, you can also add your own notes to matches. Notes are private to your account and can be used to communicate with your team members, track followup, and annotate matches for reports.
- For matches from Twitter, you can now reply, retweet, and favorite tweets right from within Social Connect. You can also view a twitter user’s profile and follow/unfollow users.
- Finally, we added an early indication or preview of where we are going with VinTank Social Connect; all geared towards Social CRM (anyone that was at the book signing got previews of our SCRM features coming out in about 60 days). Now, at the campaign level, you can see the top social profiles/customers matching your campaigns.
I won’t bore you with all the big things we have under the hood (but OMG they are amazing). We’d love to get your feedback on these new features and how we can make them better.
So what’s next for VinTank Social Connect?
By the end of next week we will add entirely new reporting with much better customization and granularity. This will be a MAJOR improvement to the part of our system that is most deficient and will make a winery’s job easier.
We give every winery five campaigns for free. What we found is that this structure doesn’t help a winery understand how its brand is performing vs. their other campaigns and lumps them all together. We will be making brand as an exclusive/separate category so that all focus on the brand is segregated from other campaigns.
You will be able to exclude your brand and employee posts from campaigns and brand monitoring.
We are adding deeper integrations with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and more. This will allow you connect your accounts on these sites with your Social Connect account, get integrated reporting insights, and eventually respond to posts on these platforms directly from Social Connect.
Social CRM. You will be able to link your customer data to your social data automatically with our exclusive partnership with Vin65.com or you can import your customer records manually to match your customers with social conversations.
We are also working on some killer LBS (location based services) features that will allow you to setup notifications when social customers check-in or post at your locations. Imagine receiving real-time alerts including customer profile details delivered via SMS/Email/Web when customers meeting your criteria are on premise.
Phew – that’s a lot.
But that’s not our only news. Next week (a bit delayed – sorry), we announce a major partnership with Social Candy and what it means for the entire wine industry. The following week we will announce an all-star Board of Advisors. Finally, we have a special announcement about new involvement from some of the most famous people in wine and social media.