Live From RMC: How to Be a Social Media Superstar

May 27, 2010 9:31 PM  By

If you want to build a following using social media, don’t try to sell on Facebook and Twitter–just be yourself. That’s helped Paul Kalemkiarian, owner of continuity marketer Wine of the Month Club, become a social star, which has inadvertently helped sales too.

Speaking May 26 at the Retail Marketing Conference in Orlando, Kalemkiarian said his approach to social media has changed since September, when a marketer told him continuity clubs were a dying breed. Kalemkiarian said he knew there was still a niche group of wine connoisseurs out there; he just needed to find them.

But prior to September, he was trying to be a wine expert, and wasn’t letting his personality shine through on Facebook, Twitter, his blogs and his video channels.

“Wine is a very boring subject,” Kalemkiarian said. “I found out customers don’t care about the content or the acidity of the wine. The customer just wants to know, ‘will I look like a hero when I serve this?’”

Kalemkiarian will tweet Wine of the Month Club discounts and specials, but he considers social media to be a place to build fringe relationships that could lead to sales down the road.

Using Facebook as an example, Kalemkiarian said it’s like adding your old high school classmates as friends. Then when you have your class reunion, you don’t have to catch up on the past 20 years because you already know all about your classmates’ families, travels and interests.

Social also lets your customers see that you’re human, and not just a salesman with a pitch (And if you’re funny enough and willing to produce a video of yourself doing something cool related to your business or passion, such as knocking down bottles of bad wine with a bowling ball, go for it).

“My competition is trying to sell products on Facebook, and I hope he keeps doing that,” Kalemkiarian said. “These fringe relationships are helping me sell more wine than I did when I was using Facebook to sell wine.”

One fringe relationship Kalemkiarian had on Twitter turned out to be a profitable one. After Kalemkiarian started exchanging tweets with a follower, he gave her two bottles of wine to try.

That relationship turned into a $100,000 sale, Kalemkiarian said. And the cost to build that relationship, besides the Twitter time, was $6.