“I don’t get Social Media”

I hear this a lot. From friends, general acquaintances, and business owners. Linked to this is the question that always comes up – “What’s the ROI of social media?”. I like to point them to Gary Vaynerchuk’s “What’s the ROI of your mother?” clip when I hear that (Warning: Gary uses some strong language when he presents).

Pretty Simple Ingredients

Pretty Simple Ingredients


Recently I was watching Joel Solish’s (@Food411) tweets about an upcoming event at Dillon’s Distillery in Beamsville. And I wanted to go. Me. The guy known by his friends as the Ontario Wine Guy. I wondered why I had this connection in my brain, and I thought through the path of how I even knew about Dillon’s:

  1. I know Joel does great food & alcohol events. I even booked a vacation to attend one of his Death Row Meals (Email deathrowmeals@gmail.com to sign up for his event mailing list) events that later ended up being cancelled. Lets just say they look fabulous. We haven’t made it to one yet, but we will eventually. I’ve taken his recco’s on places to eat in TO and never been disappointed. Do I know Joel? Nope, not really. Said “hi” to him at one Food Truck Event last summer, but I don’t “know” him. But he has talked about Dillon’s Distillery in a very positive manner and he has done at least one event featuring their wares.
  2. I follow a lot of people on Twitter, but folks who grow, make, write & tweet about Ontario wine have a special place in my heart (and a Twitter list that I try to keep up with daily). Through that community I came to follow Krista Lamb, a new blogger (just like me 2 years ago). We have chatted about ON wine several times on Twitter, she’s an active contributor to the #ONWineChat’s I run on Wednesday nights, and I like her blog. When Krista and her husband Shawn were in Ottawa recently, my wife Debbie and I met them for dinner. In the course of dinner at Union613 (which happens to be a Southern, bourbon-based restaurant), Krista mentioned that she really loved the spirits from Dillon’s Distillery, finding the touch of grape sweetness smoothing vs most alcohol she had tried.
  3. Fast forward to 2 weeks later. We (and friends Andrew and Michelle) find ourselves at Angel’s Gate wines, sampling the great wines on offer. AJ McLaughlin, who runs the Twitter account for Angel’s Gate (and attends all the Ottawa wine events), mentions Dillon Distills as well (they also had cards out on the counter which triggered the conversation). On the spot, I make the connection to Joel and Krista, and we decide to visit (AJ was nice enough to call and make sure they were still open. I still have a visual of him with his arms full and talking on the phone at the same time).
  4. Rushing in 15 minutes before they close, we quickly sample the three alcohols on offer. One is available in the LCBO, so we pick up the other two (as well as some bitters for mixed drinks). Total spent? About $200 between the 4 of us.
Sampling at the Bar

Sampling at the Bar

Great bitters!

Great bitters!


Had Dillon’s Distillery not been on twitter, not been advertised by Joel Solish, and not recommended by Krista Lamb & AJ at Angel’s Gate Wines, we wouldn’t have bothered. Making those multiple connections with influencers (people in my social media circle of trust) landed them $200 in a 15 min visit.

I don’t claim to understand social media 100% either. But I understand that businesses need to be part of it and understand this inherent value of being part of the conversation, or they miss out on these revenues (and for some strange reason I cannot think about these things without this commercial popping into my head!).

(My friend Andrew Weber provided all photos in this post)

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3 Responses to “I don’t get Social Media”

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  2. Elena says:

    Yup, I knew what that commercial was going to be before I clicked on the link! It repeats in my brain all the time when I think about social media.

    I think your example is perfect and wonderfully typical. I have accumulated so many examples of great outcomes – both personal and professional – that I can attribute directly to my involvement in social media.

    In fact, I just met tonight, in person, a Twitter buddy of long standing. I hope it isn’t too long before I can say the same about you.

  3. mcshawn says:

    Thanks Elena. I too have tons of examples but realized that I rarely write about them! The Ontario wine community is pretty small…so inevitably we will indeed meet in person. In fact, I think we have been at a couple of the same events in the past…

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