How Instagram Live Continues to Score Points for Flat Top Hills

Some winemaking businesses find live broadcasts on Instagram continue to be a viable medium for selling their wines.

Flat Top Hills, a brand that falls under the C. Mondavi & Family umbrella, is one brand that has used Instagram Live since 2020 to promote its products, developing a format popular on daytime talk shows to connect with its customers. 

For a recent Friendsgiving program that the company promoted through media announcements and social media posts, consulting winemaker Angelina Mondavi and lifestyle expert Kachet Jackson-Henderson shared ideas for table settings, recipes and wine pairings as an avenue for discussing the brand’s new Flat Top Hills Buttery Chardonnay and Flat Top Hills Pinot Noir as white and red options for the table this holiday season.
This kind of programming isn’t novel for Flat Top Hills, which used the format during the last two holiday seasons and during the COVID-19 pandemic as people looked for ways to entertain themselves while stuck at home.

Vintner Magazine reached out to C. Mondavi & Family Vice President of Marketing Pam Novak to find out more about how their approach to utilizing TV-style programming on social media channels has evolved.

VINTNER: With the holidays upon us, Flat Top Hills has another opportunity to come up with seasonal programming and remind viewers to buy its wines. What are some new features of these broadcasts that weren’t included last year, and what was the reason new features were included?

NOVAK: We are always trying to find new ways to connect with our core audience and make them feel engaged while sharing more about Flat Top Hills. Much has changed since our first foray into IG Live back in 2020. We like to position the wines in the context of how our fans will be enjoying them — not only sharing tasting notes, for example, but giving really robust advice on party planning, pairings, and more. This program was built around Friendsgiving, and sharing tips for how to create a memorable gathering. Brand new is the addition of a special call to action for viewers. We just launched our digital store this fall, so we’re able to drive viewers to shop online for the first time. At the end of the broadcast, we shared a code to give viewers a special offer on online purchases. We’ll be tracking the code over the next few weeks. 

We also partnered again with a lifestyle expert, Kachet Jackson-Henderson of The Kachet Life. Not only does this broaden our audience, but she and our consulting winemaker Angelina Mondavi have a very natural rapport and are able to build on each other’s ideas. Kachet has done some content for us in the past, and having her as our host felt like a natural fit. 

VINTNER: Has there been a direct relationship between putting out more meaningful social media content such as this and sales? Has a link been proven?

NOVAK: We see a boost in interaction and engagement on our social pages when we do these online events. Rich content is absolutely critical in building an audience, deepening connections with existing fans, and telling a brand story. No one wants to scroll through a page that’s filled only with bottle shots — wine is a dynamic, social product, and that’s what we want to portray. 

We have heard anecdotally that people have discovered our wines through social and then found them in store. These programs are also a tool we can share with our sales teams, and we’ve even been able to secure some placements and develop bigger brand partnerships by integrating key spokespeople and like-minded business into our IG Lives. 

VINTNER: What are some tips you have for a successful live broadcast? What are some best practices and what are some things to absolutely avoid?

NOVAK: It may not be the sexiest answer, but one of the most important things is to make sure all the tech is working well. Do a test run so any issues with logins, connectivity, etc. can be fixed in advance. Then, set the stage. Think about backgrounds, props and lighting. Make sure the video is framed well. Having an outline of the conversation is helpful as well so you can be sure to cover all the most important messages. The other key piece is to promote, promote, promote. Spread the word about any digital event before it happens, and then leverage that content once it’s complete. Our IG Lives are part of a larger integrated strategy for each campaign which includes owned, earned and paid media.

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