Last Updated on June 28, 2021 by Amy Geldean
Duncan Alney is the Founder and CEO of Firebelly Marketing, a globally ranked social media marketing agency. Duncan specializes in mission-driven food, beverage, and beauty brands, and he uses social media to help them become more likable and profitable. Firebelly Marketing received Sprout Social’s Cultivate Award and was ranked asone of the Top 10 social media agencies by Clutch.
Duncan is also the host of The Firebelly Social Show, a podcast that features food and beverage brands on a mission to make the world better.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Duncan Alney discusses Firebelly Marketing and his values
- The benefits of being an open and honest leader
- Social media tips for businesses in the craft beverage industry
- Duncan’s favorite platform at the moment: Pinterest
- How can you use stories—and social media—to build an emotional connection?
- Social media’s impact, no matter the size of your business
- Distinguishing your website from your social media
- Duncan and Drew talk about their favorite drinks
In this episode…
Social media is a great tool for your company to engage with customers, but are you utilizing the various platforms correctly? When you focus your website around social media, you could actually be driving prospective customers away from your business. So, how can you gain a strong social media presence without drawing away from your company’s services?
Marketing expert Duncan Alney has been in the industry for over 20 years, and he’s here to share his expert tips on making social media work for you and your brand. According to Duncan, there are no industry secrets: it’s all about being honest, vulnerable, and transparent with your community. In doing so, your audience will trust the brand and its values and become long-term customers for your business.
In this episode of Legends Behind the Craft, Drew Thomas Hendricks is joined by Duncan Alney, Founder and CEO of Firebelly Marketing. Together, they discuss the best social media strategies for wine and beverage companies. Duncan talks about tailoring your message, creating conversational and visual authenticity, and the best ways to engage your audience. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Barrels Ahead
- Drew Thomas Hendricks on LinkedIn
- Duncan Alney on LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram
- Firebelly Marketing
- Firebelly Marketing on Pinterest
- The Firebelly Social Show
- Andrew Means on LinkedIn
- Jamie Gilpin on LinkedIn
- Jason Yormark on LinkedIn
- Beringer Vineyards
- Shadow Ranch Vineyard
- Screaming Eagle
- Ocean Organic Vodka
- Shadow Ranch’s Sheriff
- High West Distillery’s Campfire Whiskey
- Beaux Freres Vineyards
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.
At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.
Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!
Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, with your host to Drew Thomas Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (00:20):
Drew Thomas Hendricks here. I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, from tech companies that use data to unlock brand growth, to today’s guest, Duncan Alney of Firebelly marketing, who helps beverage brands be more likable and profitable through social media.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (00:36):
Today’s episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead. Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth. At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique and we work with you to create a one of a kind content strategy, one that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors. In short, Barrels Ahead helps you unlock your brand’s story so you can enjoy the results in revenue your business deserves. So what are you waiting for? Go to barrelsahead.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (01:08):
Before I introduce today’s guest, Duncan, I want to give a big thank you to last week’s guest, Andrew Means from Transom. Andrew and I talked about emotional resonance and how it can be used to build a meaningful connection between your company and your target audience. Be sure to check it out. I know I learned some key tips.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (01:23):
So today is a rare treat. I get to interview someone who is both a great friend and a true legend in social media. I’m talking with Duncan Alney, founder of Firebelly Marketing. Over the years, Duncan and I, we’ve had many conversations about social media, beverage brands and the importance of being authentic. I have to say, most of these involved a glass of whiskey or two. Duncan’s company, Firebelly Marketing, it’s an award-winning social media company and is ranked by Clutch as one of the top 10 social media agencies globally. So welcome to the show, Duncan.
Duncan Alney (01:51):
Drew, Thank you for having me. I am so excited to be here.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (01:55):
Thank you for being on the show.
Duncan Alney (01:56):
I have to say that we have had many memorable moments together in the last two and a half years, all of them… And of course we tend to meet in the Rockies, and so they all include the Rockies, and many phone calls, and lots of music sharing, but yes, great whiskey. You always bring great wine to the table. You’re definitely like the curator of amazing beverages in general, but especially wine. And I try to bring the food choices to the table. So it’s a good match. And we’ve gone through [inaudible 00:02:27] together.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (02:29):
Yes, you navigated us over the 10,900 feet. Yeah, you were skilled side-by-side driver, and I felt very safe in your hands as I was looking down 2000 feet, knowing that you weren’t going to take us off the edge.
Duncan Alney (02:42):
I was happy that I didn’t take either a of us off the edge. That’s really good. It’s really good to be here, and I want to congratulate you on what you’re doing with Barrels Ahead and bringing this great marketing value to the wine industry.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (02:55):
Thank you. So Duncan, tell us about yourself and Firebelly.
Duncan Alney (02:59):
So I’m Duncan. Kind of like Madonna. Just Duncan. There’s no need for the Alney, actually. Just say Duncan. Most people, either think of Duncan Wardle, who is obviously the former chief innovation officer at Disney, or myself, and we both got our own memorable qualities. But I came from India to the US to be a cowboy. That did not work out. And now I run a social media marketing agency. I’m based in Indianapolis, and my team is all over the country. And yeah, we work with lots of different kinds of brands. We’re very focused on food and beverage brands.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (03:30):
That’s great. And you have a unique angle, though, for social media, and that’s one of the ones that… A lot of companies [inaudible 00:03:35], they put the company first. But what’s your unique angle as far as authenticity? And I know I’m getting to something. It’s social responsibility.
Duncan Alney (03:43):
Well, yeah. Social responsibility is definitely a Drew Hendrick stamp on the approach. I think it’s a lot of things, and I’m hoping I can get through some of those, because I know that you are an avid listener, and your audience will be interested in this. It’s not about doing anything that isn’t easy to do for us as humans. I hear people saying all the time like, “Try to be like a human.” You don’t have to try to be like a human. You are a human. So just be human in the approach. And at the end of the day, my opinion is there’s a lot of BS about B2B and B2C and all these different things. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who it is. It’s a person at the end. [inaudible 00:04:25] may be different, and maybe it’s more complicated in the higher ticket items. It’s a different situation. But we are talking about people here. We’re talking about people. And so one of the things I’ve been saying for years is to be human in your approach, and we’ll talk about what that means.
Duncan Alney (05:21):
And I think a lot of times what’s missing in these situations… And I know that as part of our journey with the digital agency Elite Mastermind there’s a heavy emphasis on values. And so two and a half years ago when we did our own values, that was a huge, huge, huge, huge change for us, taking a value-centered approach, and definitely taking a value centered approach on social. We work with a client, do social media management or ads or work with their influencers and do creative content for them. It’s like, what are your values?
Duncan Alney (04:39):
But also putting people first, I think, is something that doesn’t come easily to people in business situations. It’s like, you got to think about yourself. You got to think about your company. You got to think about your job. And so you end up just sort of like being forced into an inauthentic situation, when you should just put people first. If people are asking questions, you should be helpful. You should be kind. I mean, those are just natural things. If it’s a legacy complainer, I can understand. Hopefully your social CRM has tagged that person, and so you know. Or the legacy whiner, or the legacy celebrator, AKA advocate, [crosstalk 00:05:17]. Let’s just put those people first, and let’s be helpful and kind.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (05:52):
And that’s the top of the process.
Duncan Alney (05:54):
Yeah. In my case, it’s fire, coincidentally. Not coincidentally. Firebelly and the values of fire, because energy, our motivation, our drive comes from our belly, and at the center of our belly is courage. But where does the courage come from? It comes from focus, integrity, reliability, and excellence, AKA fire. So when we do our social, that’s kind of the filter that we use and the framework and the guide that we use. So I think that taking a values-based approach…
Duncan Alney (06:24):
So if you’re a winery that is dealing with a luxury wine, ultra luxury wine, maybe you’re not as accessible, but you still need your values. You still need to know that this is a wine that’s in very high demand. It’s a very expensive wine. And you can still be kind and helpful, but the value is that we are ultra luxury, and there’s a certain accessibility that comes with it. It may not be as accessible as, say, a $20 wine, but you still have to be accessible, because you’re still dealing with people. So I think that that’s part of it.
Duncan Alney (06:59):
I also love to see people give their secrets away. You don’t need to keep any secrets, because giving a secret away… Well, unless it’s like information currency, like with celebrities. They don’t want people to know certain things. But otherwise, if it’s a process or a methodology or a recipe, give it away. Who cares? It’s one thing to tell people how to do it, and it’s a whole ‘nother thing to be able to actually go out and do it. So I feel like when you give the secrets away and you’re open with it, it projects certain confidence. It protects a certain openness.
Duncan Alney (07:33):
And actually, even in the agency world, which you and I are both a part of, I feel like it’s crazy because I’m invisible in Indianapolis. Nobody even knows I exist in Indianapolis, but I’m-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (07:44):
That’s hard to believe.
Duncan Alney (07:45):
I’m connected to scores of agencies nationwide and even internationally, and I’m close to, let’s say, a good 20. I’m close to those 20. We give our secrets away. It’s like, “Hey, how do you [crosstalk 00:07:59] your P&L?” Or, “How do you get your margin from X to Y?” Because I’m sharing with you doesn’t mean that I’m giving any power away. In fact, I am giving you more power by sharing that, so-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (08:12):
That’s a unique angle. I mean, that’s a really unique angle for social media, because a lot of social media is just display, and the company… At least my angle, and I don’t have a social media background. We do it all, but personally. But in social media, I usually see that a lot of times you just see a company displaying outwards, and they display what they think their audience wants to see, rather than that authenticity or displaying exactly what they do.
Duncan Alney (08:36):
Well I mean, people who work with me and people who know me, and our team especially, know that what you see is what you get, and what you get is real. So one of the things that we’ve never done is hide the people who work on our team. It’s open. And you used to hear people say, “Well, don’t put all the people up, because somebody will poach them.” It’s like, well, if they’re unhappy, someone’s going to poach them anyway [crosstalk 00:09:03] make them happy. Again, it’s about people, and these are the people. Everyone knows I don’t do the work. So who is doing the work? How can we humanize the company? And in our situation, I want people to see it, because it’s a diverse team, and I want them to know we’re diverse. I don’t want there to be any surprises. So if there is someone out there that’s not okay with working with a diverse team, I’d rather them know it upfront, because I don’t want to work with them anyway.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (09:27):
Sure, sure. That makes sense.
Duncan Alney (09:29):
I think that that’s the piece about being open. We launched our first interview series on our Facebook page yesterday, and-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (09:39):
Yeah, I saw that. That was great.
Duncan Alney (09:40):
We were giving away some of the secrets around iOS 14. I mean, they’re not secrets, but… Everyone should know this stuff. If you can fix it for yourself, go fix it for yourself. So that’s the piece behind, I guess, being open and being real and vulnerable. It’s like, we’re weak at certain things. We’re strong at certain things
Drew Thomas Hendricks (09:58):
For a beverage brand or a winery or a craft distillery/brewery, how would that translate for them, giving away their secrets? Tell how would a social media campaign look in there for them?
Duncan Alney (10:11):
I think at the end of the day, it’s about the things that you would say comfortably to someone in person. And back in the day, I used to use the MBJ rule. Don’t say it on social if you’re not comfortable saying it to your mama, putting it on a billboard, or saying it in front of a judge. So it’s like, other than that, if it’s not a trade secret, you can share it.
Duncan Alney (10:36):
At the end of the day, if there was a fire in the kitchen in the tasting room, it’s not the end of the world. I mean, fires happen. And there are so many more small to medium-sized wineries, for example, in the world, than there are really large ones. And if you’re having challenges, I think people really buy into vulnerability and being real. You’re having a challenge. Something’s not going right, or you’re working on this, or you’re trying to win an award, or whatever that is. People want to know what that is. People want to know that you’re having a tough time. Through the pandemic, if there’s anything we learned, it’s that real suffering, it’s okay to share it. Don’t make up your suffering, because people-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (11:18):
That will backfire.
Duncan Alney (11:19):
People can smell that miles away. But I mean, I think it-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (11:22):
All about being authentic.
Duncan Alney (11:23):
Yeah. And I think that what that does is, it attracts people. It attracts people. And if you’re attracting people… And people don’t come on their own. You got to ask questions. You got to ask people to do things. You got to tell people sometimes what you want from them. But when you do that and there’s activity, what you end up having, which is very difficult to evaluate in terms of dollars, is social credibility. So there was an old joke back in the day, “What’s the value of wearing pants to a meeting?” It’s like, well, you can’t get in the meeting if you don’t have pants on unless you’re someone that wears skirts. But I think that social credibility has immeasurable value in terms of… With millennials and with generation Z, they go there, they see what’s up, and they say, “This is real, and so I feel comfortable. I’m going to read the comments. I’m going to draw some insights. [inaudible 00:12:16] for negativity and positivity. And then I’m going to go pop over to the B2C channel, and I’m going to buy something.”
Drew Thomas Hendricks (12:22):
Yeah. The one thing that I have noticed, and I’ve been having a few conversations about this, is we’ve been locked down for about a year, and most of the people now have really, and even before so with the gen Z, a lot of their experience with a brand is online and through social. And maybe eventually they’re going to visit the winery. They’re going to visit the tasting room, the brewery. And they’ve got this experience and this idea in their head that was presented on social, and if there’s a disconnect between the actual experience when they get to the tasting room and they get to the brewery, that’s going to backfire. And I think that’s a lot about what you guys are doing at Firebelly, is you’re helping make sure that the in-person experience matches the social experience as well.
Duncan Alney (13:06):
I mean, I’ll take it one step further and say that you can break it down into conversational authenticity and visual authenticity. The companies where you see that it’s clearly stock photography… And there’s stock photography, and there’s stock photography. And so there’s stock photography that looks real, and then there’s stock photography that like, hey, clearly… You’re in Davenport, Iowa, and nobody in Davenport, Iowa dresses like that or it looks like that. That’s clearly an Italian photo, or that’s a bunch of Indians. Whatever it is. But I think visual authenticity is a big, big, big, big deal. Message authenticity, does the message you’re putting out match with your values? And is that what you really say in person, or is it a bunch of BS? So I think that you don’t want that disconnect, because people are savvy.
Duncan Alney (14:01):
And going back to what you said, what I love about social in general, especially Pinterest… I’m really hot on Pinterest at the moment. I’m into Clubhouse and Dispo and all the new things, but I mean, I love Pinterest, because I’m really trying to diversify brands’ investments on social and not put it all into Facebook and Instagram. And Pinterest is really great for browsing. Pinterest is really gratefully setting up reminders and like home repair and travel and cooking and all this kind of stuff. And it also is really good with long-tail traffic. So it’s like, you want traffic a few months from now down the road. What are you pinning? How are you telling this story on Pinterest? What are you doing with promoted pins or just Pinterest ads? Is there activity? Is there not activity? Are you doing anything with comments? That kind of thing can really like get you, candidly, some high-quality and [inaudible 00:14:54].
Drew Thomas Hendricks (14:56):
What kind of tips could you give a beverage producer on setting up a Pinterest campaign?
Duncan Alney (15:02):
I mean, for one thing, you know, start with a few boards, some stuff that is just kind of core values and who you are, the people, and all that stuff. And then you can upload your catalog of wines. Let’s say you’re selling a certain catalog of wines. You can get all those wines into Pinterest. And you can have behind the scenes stuff, going into the making of the wine, the people that work there, the journey of the wine from the vines to the wine-making process to the market. Where is it sold? There’s so many interesting things.
Duncan Alney (15:40):
I think that people fall in love with stories. And I think you got to tell the story. So I think that that is what… And I know that is not necessarily a popular thing to say, where messaging is almost secondary to visual. With social media, it’s a completely visual world. But I feel like at the end of the day, I didn’t expect to swing back into an emphasis on the written word. It’s like [crosstalk 00:16:11] should drive visuals. So I feel like you can tell stories and you can use visuals, but you also got to have the written word with it. And people are in different places with their journey to get to know you and be a client or a customer, and so can you just kind of tailor those messages to who you want to be your… I mean, Beringer is going to have a very different client for some of its wines then Shadow Ranch’s, which is in Northern California, or… I mean, I don’t know. Pick a wine that you love, like Screaming Eagle or something like that. They’re very different-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (16:56):
Duncan Alney (16:57):
Yeah. Devil’s Creek. Very different audiences, right?
Drew Thomas Hendricks (17:01):
Yeah. For someone that doesn’t know, they haven’t been on Pinterest, they’ve heard about it, or maybe they’ve just casually had a board up for a home improvement, how would Pinterest be different than doing a Instagram type campaign? They’re both very visual. They both have [inaudible 00:17:18] stories. How would they use Pinterest differently?
Duncan Alney (17:22):
So let’s start by saying how is similar. So they’re both very visual, and it’s all about the visual economy and how people are responding to visuals, which is totally true. I think that Instagram moves a lot faster than Pinterest. So you post something, and the post is relevant for a short amount of time. It’s longer than a story, for example. I can’t speak for other people, but my sense is that Pinterest is more about discovery over time than it is… I mean sure, people follow the feed in Pinterest too, but Pinterest seems to me to be more about discovery over time. And also [crosstalk 00:18:03]. Yeah, so you can curate a story very differently.
Duncan Alney (18:07):
Although people are obsessed with what their grid on Instagram looks like, at the end of the day, not that many people are going to go check out your page. Unless you’re sending them [inaudible 00:18:17] and optimizing it for profile views, people are not typically going to go to your profile. They’re just going to look at their feed once they follow you, or horizontally follow your stories, which is a lot more interesting right now, as people are doing… There’s a split between people that are scrolling vertically and people that are scrolling horizontally. It was very shocking for me recently [crosstalk 00:18:37] indicative of my age. I’m a vertical scroller, where a lot of people that are much younger than me don’t care about the posts. They’re only watching the stories feed. So I think in that way, it’s almost like… I think of it like an album, like back in the day you had like a photo album, and you could curate exactly where you wanted to put things and-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (18:57):
Pinterest is more like an album?
Duncan Alney (18:59):
Yeah, I think so. So I think it doesn’t matter if you’re using Pinterest or Instagram or TikTok or even Clubhouse, where there’s social audio. You got to use stories to build an emotional connection, because that’s all you got. We’ve been sitting around fires forever telling stories. I read an interesting quote, I wish I knew who said it, that if you stop telling stories, people will cease to know you exist.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (19:27):
That’s a good quote. Can’t remember which one that was. Stories are so important. And you tell a visual story with word backup a lot of times. What’s the key? So in a story for visual, it’s being authentic, it’s making sure it’s true to your brand, but what’s the next tip on developing that story or a company trying to figure out how to actually create that story?
Duncan Alney (19:52):
We have to make sure we distinguish between a story, big picture story, versus a tactical story on Instagram, which is a format on there. I’ll answer the question two ways. Maybe three. But I think you got to know which part of the journey that person’s on, or who you’re catering to, so that’s one aspect. [inaudible 00:20:15] put yourself almost like a brand as a publisher… Not almost. You are a brand as a publisher perspective. So what will your audience find interesting? Does it have story value or news value? Some kind of appeal.
Duncan Alney (20:29):
And then also, how do you tell about the context? How do you give a macro perspective? And then how do you focus in on, for example, features? Like, this is a wine that old ladies walk in from the village every day and they get into the vat and they’re stomping on the grapes with their feet, versus something else. Or this is how the bottle was made. I’m trying to think of the amazing… Oh, it’s Ocean Vodka. Ocean Vodka has these… Which I think was in trouble last time I was checking them out. They’re an amazing brand, very badly hit by the pandemic. They’re in Hawaii, and they source their water from the deep depths of the Pacific Ocean, and the bottle looks like a buoy, so it’s slanted. And people use those bottles to plant stuff in, and there’s a whole life around the bottles. But that’s an interesting perspective. So it’s like, every aspect of your experience and your life as producer and marketeer of a product or a service has some appeal. I think you got to decide what the appeal is. And in some cases, the audience will tell you. So it’s like, you can ask your audience like, “What would you like to know more about?” As opposed to trying to be the deciding factor.
Duncan Alney (21:49):
One thing that’s interesting, because I’m sure that there are… I have some friends that bought a tiny little winery. I think it’s somewhere near Mendocino. And it’s a husband and wife, and that’s what they do. And they put out 100 bottles a year. They can’t go buy a billboard. They can’t do anything on TV. They can’t even buy Google ads. So what do they do? All they can do is update that website. And then beyond that, social is the only door that’s open to them.
Duncan Alney (22:20):
By the way, that’s an amazing quote, but it’s not mine. It’s Jamie Gilpin, who’s the CMO at Sprout Social. It’s such a great quote, right? You could be a tiny little retail location. And there’s so many players in the wine industry. You could be ONEHOE Wine, which is doing all these amazing things and moving the needle with social impact, or you could be a tiny mom and pop place, or you could be Beringer, and you still have social. And sometimes because of speed the only thing that you do have the ability to move the needle on is social, because you can control when the content gets up. If there’s interactions, you can get to them. If there’s a story in the New York Times, that story is going to go viral. You can’t control that story, but you can control your channel. So I think that is-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (23:08):
Duncan Alney (23:12):
I totally veered off your question.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (23:14):
No, but the fact is that social is the great liberator. I mean, it’s an equalizer, a liberator, and it’s something that someone can DIY and bootstrap that company up to the point where they want to take it to the next level, where they can engage an agency.
Duncan Alney (23:28):
You say DIY, which is such an amazing thing, in that you can post a piece of content and you can see who responds to it. You can build your own audience. You can invite your friends and family and your banker and your insurance company and the people that to the cafe you go to. And then you can ask a question and see what people say, and you can measure it. You can run an ad and see how many people viewed your video. I mean, none of this stuff is rocket science. It’s all doable. You just have to put time and energy into it. So I think that it is a great equalizer.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (24:02):
Yeah, it definitely is. [crosstalk 00:24:03]
Duncan Alney (24:03):
You’re going to see social differently. That’s something that Sprout’s been talking about this year and that I love. I love that quote. I wrote an article years ago for SmartBrief about how social data… okay, more importantly, social insights deserve a spot at the boardroom table or the decision table. If you know why people love you and what they’re saying about you, don’t you want to know that? Don’t you want to use that data at scale to make decisions? Or maybe not even at scale. If you have one amazing insight, that can give [crosstalk 00:24:38]
Drew Thomas Hendricks (24:39):
Absolutely. And the reverse is true. You want to know instantly why people don’t like you so you can address it, and social does that too. You’re not guessing.
Duncan Alney (24:51):
I can be slightly, slightly pessimistic at times, and so I think that there’s great value in knowing why people don’t like you. What can I change? How can I do better? So I think that, to emphasize, social is the only door open to some brands. And I’d love to tell you my thoughts on some metrics that don’t matter and some metrics that do matter.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (25:11):
I’d love to hear them.
Duncan Alney (25:12):
I think that size doesn’t matter.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (25:15):
Size doesn’t… That’s what they tell me. I don’t believe it.
Duncan Alney (25:19):
Size doesn’t matter. Audience size is the most foolhardy and most often sought after metric.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (25:27):
Oh, I get it.
Duncan Alney (25:27):
It’s like, “Why don’t I have a bigger following?” It’s like, “You do have a decent following. You got 9,000 people that follow you. Do you know who they are?” “I don’t know.” How many of those people are real? How many of those people are active? How many of those people are even in the geography that you sell to? Are they the right gender? Are they bots or what? And so I think that knowing who your audience is is much more important than the size of your audience. And are they engaged with you? Recently I was having a debate with Jason Yormark from Socialistic about… In his opinion, engagement is vastly overrated. In his opinion. My opinion is that engagement is everything. Without engagement, you have no real indication of whether anyone is interested in you. So engagement could be an interaction. Engagement could be a comment. Engagement could be a share. Engagement could be a video view or an audio listen.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (26:22):
So you’d rather have 100 rabid fans engaged with you than 10,000 anonymous visitors that [crosstalk 00:26:29].
Duncan Alney (26:29):
Drew Thomas Hendricks (26:31):
No, that makes sense.
Duncan Alney (26:33):
And that is why smaller communities have higher engagement, because smaller communities tend to be… Well, for one thing, you know that they’re actually seeing your messages. It’s not just 5% of the people that are seeing your messages.
Duncan Alney (26:46):
And I also think that the piece… It’s the greedy marketeer syndrome. Those smart guys, Alex and Marty from SiteTuners always talk about greedy marketing. Greedy marketing, it’s like, “Hey, I started an ad, and no one converted. No one bought anything. I don’t know what’s wrong.” Oh my God, there’s so many things that are wrong. The website sucks, man. Hire Drew to get you a new website, because nobody wants to buy this shit. And when you get to the page to buy it and you add the product and you’re like, “Oh, I want to go back and buy the other thing,” it’s like, “Oh, the back button doesn’t work and it took me to the wrong page. I can’t add it to the cart.” It’s like, you’re going to get frustrated. Instead of buying three bottles of something, you’re going to buy nothing and just leave. And then they don’t have retargeting set up, so they can’t get you back.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (27:35):
That’s the least of their worries. We see that all the time.
Duncan Alney (27:41):
I mean, websites are critical. They’re so critical. And how is it that people want to do sophisticated things and they don’t have a website that works?
Drew Thomas Hendricks (27:54):
It needs to work. And that brings up one point on social. What should live on social, and what should live on your website?
Duncan Alney (28:01):
So I’ll say that a former colleague of mine, [Brian Gray, 00:28:06], said, “Your website is your 24-hour salesperson.” And I’m not really a sales kind of a person, but I think it’s your 24-hour information source. It’s your 24-hour helper. It should give you all that you need. So whether you’re a granny who’s 79 years old and looking for a great bottle of wine for her daughter, or whether you’re a 22-year-old and you’re trying to find… This is the first bottle of wine you’re going to buy, or the first winery you’re going to visit. Or you’re 40, and you’re going away for your 10-year anniversary. It’s like, there’s so many different people, and you’ve got to cater for all the people that matter to you. So it could be three types of people or whatever. However many types of people.
Duncan Alney (28:58):
I think that there’s more classic information that answers who we are, what we do, how we do it. How can you find us? Here’s some stories behind the brand. And it’s all generally middle-of-the-road information. So there’s not going to be any wacky information about Monica, the crazy lady who everyone loves in the tasting room, or about the burger that you can get. People don’t want to see that on the website.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (29:30):
That brings up a good point. What do you think about the people that put their Instagram feed on the front page of their website?
Duncan Alney (29:36):
I mean, I think it’s interesting. I don’t think it belongs on the front page of the website, because I don’t want people to leave my website to go check out Instagram. I want them to stay on the website and I want them to do the things I want them to do. So I view Instagram on the homepage as a distraction. If I’m wanting to convert people to join my email list, or if I want them to find out where my winery is, to get directions, or if I’m trying to get them to buy something on my site, then I view Instagram as being a distraction. Now, should there be a button? For sure. But I don’t want to see a feed. I don’t want an Instagram feed, because you’re not giving them the full experience any way, because, at least as far as I know, you can’t display Instagram stories on a website right now.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (30:25):
I don’t think so. We wrestle with that all the time. Everyone wants to have everything everywhere. I do see their side. If the front page, your website isn’t updated that often, the Instagram shows that something’s going on. It shows latest events. But on the other hand, just like you’re saying, it is a distraction. It’s not taking them through the journey of your website. It’s taking them off to Instagram, and then Instagram hopefully will send them back to your website someday. You’ve already got them on the site. Social did its job. Don’t get them back over.
Duncan Alney (30:54):
Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting, because it used to be… I do think that it isn’t a website-centered world, but I think there are parallel existences for social and the website. But I think today the website is the place that I think most people rely on for their general information and for their getting to know and getting more deeply involved with the brand. I think the website is where they go. I think social presents moments in time, and it presents the ability to stay up with a brand on a more ongoing basis with snippets that are coming your way. Either you find them serendipitously or you find them intentionally. But I think it’s sort of like… It’s like saying, “Do I want to hang out with Drew in person?” Is like a website. “Do I want to get text messages with cool photos of Drew making his food [inaudible 00:31:52] grill and sending them to me?” That’s like social media.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (31:56):
That’s a very good analogy there.
Duncan Alney (31:58):
I should remember that one.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (32:01):
Good thing is, we’re recording it, so you’re going to be able to revisit that one.
Duncan Alney (32:04):
Drew Thomas Hendricks (32:05):
As we’re winding down here, what are you drinking these days?
Duncan Alney (32:08):
I love tea in general. Yeah, I love tea. I love coffee. I drink a lot of ginger and turmeric tea. I’m obsessed with ginger and turmeric tea.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (32:23):
I haven’t had turmeric tea.
Duncan Alney (32:24):
If I’m splurging, then I’m going to put a little bit of honey in it.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (32:28):
Ooh, living wild.
Duncan Alney (32:31):
But alcoholic beverages-wise, I have recently developed a great love for one of our clients, Shadow Ranch. They have the Sheriff. It’s like a big, bold Cabernet. Not easy to find here in Indiana, but I’ve had some brought in. That’s really good. And I love High West.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (32:49):
Duncan Alney (32:49):
It’s a distillery out of Park City in Utah. Yeah, bourbon.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (32:54):
The whiskey, yeah. [crosstalk 00:32:56]
Duncan Alney (32:56):
Yeah, and especially Campfire, which is a blend which we should drink next time we hang out. It’s a blend of rye, scotch, and bourbon. And let me tell you what, it is $65 for a reason. It is so good.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (33:09):
Duncan Alney (33:09):
And they’re doing away with national distribution. You can only get it in Utah. [crosstalk 00:33:13]. I don’t know what’s going on with that. They’re pulling it off the shelf everywhere.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (33:16):
I didn’t hear that. You heard it here first. Or you probably already heard it, but I heard it here first.
Duncan Alney (33:24):
So let me ask you that question. I’m like David Letterman and the Barack, right? It’s like, “Hey, Barack, you’re not supposed to ask the questions.” But Drew, what are you drinking these days?
Drew Thomas Hendricks (33:35):
What am I drinking these days? What am I not drinking?
Duncan Alney (33:41):
We know you drink wine. Tell us [crosstalk 00:33:43]
Drew Thomas Hendricks (33:44):
Last night I had a good… We just got our shipment from Beaux Freres, Oregon. They just released their 2019 pinot noir. Delicious. Probably should have let it sit for a couple of days, but I couldn’t wait to try it. So that was [crosstalk 00:33:56] thoroughly enjoyed it.
Duncan Alney (33:57):
Where do you stand on a port, port wine?
Drew Thomas Hendricks (34:00):
I love port.
Duncan Alney (34:00):
Drew Thomas Hendricks (34:00):
I think it’s one of the most unappreciated… Everybody’s like, “It’s sweet. I don’t want to try it.” But man, at the end of the night, you can either go the whiskey route or you can go the port route. A lot of times I do do the port route. And I like a good tawny port. Those are the ones that are aged in the cask.
Duncan Alney (34:15):
You pay a little bit more for them, but God, they have so much complexity and character. I got slaughtered at a dinner party recently because I brought a pot de creme and I brought a tawny port. And they were like, “Who drinks poured? Nobody drinks port?” I’m like, “Well, [crosstalk 00:34:32]”
Drew Thomas Hendricks (34:32):
That’s happened to me.
Duncan Alney (34:34):
Because port port is great. It’s so good.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (34:36):
It’s great. It will sneak up on you. You are doing 18% for that last gasp of the night. But I bet that went awesome with that pot de creme. I saw a picture of that. That was one you made. You followed the masterclass.
Duncan Alney (34:48):
Yes, I did. I did follow the masterclass. [crosstalk 00:34:51].
Drew Thomas Hendricks (34:50):
That looked fantastic. I wish I could have tasted that one. Visually tasted it though.
Duncan Alney (34:55):
Yes, yes. It’s very easy to make, actually. And I’ve made it with cheap chocolate, and I’ve made it with sugar-free chocolate, and I’ve made it with decadent chocolate. And definitely, if you’re going to eat it, you may as well eat it with a decadent chocolate, a Ghirardelli chocolate. And it’s actually very easy to make. It’s all in the… I don’t know what the right word is, but when you’re mixing the egg into the milk is when you have to be careful, because that egg can cook.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (35:23):
Oh yeah, [crosstalk 00:35:25].
Duncan Alney (35:25):
What do you call that? [crosstalk 00:35:26].
Drew Thomas Hendricks (35:27):
Folding it in or-
Duncan Alney (35:28):
Folding, yes. Folding it. When you’re folding it in, you don’t want the egg to cook. The last time I made it, I F-ed that up, and I had to use a straining cloth to get the egg out. It just never came together. But pot de creme, I will make it for you next time.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (35:43):
Oh, awesome. Can’t wait to try it. Well, today we’ve been talking to a Duncan Alney. So, Duncan, where can people find more about you?
Duncan Alney (35:50):
So I am Firebelly on Twitter, just @firebelly on Twitter, @firebellyman on Instagram. And firebellymarketing.com is our website. And yeah, those are the places you can find me, and I’d love to help you with a question. Or just want to talk port, available.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (36:07):
Awesome. So if you’re looking for someone to help build an authentic social presence, Firebelly Marketing. Check them out.
Duncan Alney (36:14):
Thanks for having me, Drew.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (36:16):
Thank you. Thank you for being on the show.
Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time. And be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.