Now in year two, DOYO Live is Youngtown’s digital marketing and interactive design conference. This year’s conference will take place Aug. 2-3 at Youngstown State University.
Over the next few weeks, we’re featuring a few local entrepreneurs speaking at DOYO. This week, I’m excited to connect with Marisa Sergi, CEO and founder of RedHead Wine.
Q. Your profile notes that your interest in wine started with a sippy cup at age 5. So you kind of grew up with wine and social media? How connected are wine and social media?
A. Although we’re just getting started, I’ve found that social media is a great way to meet my customers. Many of them have reached out to compliment the wine or ask my opinion on wine and food pairings. Social media makes it easy for me to share my passion for wine with lots of people.
Q. Have any tips for getting people excited about wine via social media?
A. My favorite post is a live video of our team bottling our new product line extension, RedHead rose. It was a fun way to share the behind-the-scenes magic of how we make our wines and to share our passion with our fans. My goal as a winemaker is to help people understand more about the world of wine.
The video has already had a few thousand views.
Q. Why locate RedHead Wines in northeast Ohio and not in, say, California?
A. I’m from here and I enjoy the Youngstown area. I felt that starting this company here was a natural tribute to my family who immigrated to northeast Ohio from Italy.
California has a very established wine market and part of my mission as the winemaker and brand ambassador is to unmake tradition a little bit and make unconventional decisions.
It’s really cool to get reactions when I tell people this wine is produced and bottled in Youngstown, but that it’s made from California grapes. We bring refrigerated semi-trucks from California to Ohio to ensure our product is as fresh as possible. We start crushing the grapes as soon as they arrive at L’uva Bella Winery.
Q. You’re speaking at DOYO Live? We’re still a few months out, but have you landed on a topic?
A. I absolutely can’t wait to contribute to DOYO. My topic is, “Guerrilla Marketing 101: How to Create Buzz for your Brand.”
We have an exciting presentation planned with lots of practical tips on how to raise the profile of your brand without breaking your budget. Whether you’re a startup business or an established company, we’ll share ideas guaranteed to help you bring attention to your product.
Q. What excites you about DOYO? What are you looking forward to most?
A. DOYO offers something unique to the Youngstown area. The event will have world-class talent including marketers, business professionals and entrepreneurs who have real world experience to share with those in attendance.
In addition to sharing what I have learned running a B2B and B2C company at such a young age, I am looking forward to learning everything I can from other participants.
Youngstown also houses one of the best business incubators in the world, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and DOYO being here will highlight it to out-of-towners, too.
Q. Care to share any advice or stories about how you cultivate links in the wine industry via social media and digital marketing?
A. The best advice I can give anyone for connecting in the wine industry and across all industries is: “The answer is always no, if you don’t ask.” Remember that quote.
Also keep in mind how accessible information is on the internet as you work to build your brand and go in “for the ask.” For example, if you want to connect with an editor of a website or magazine that you think would be a good fit for a possible story about your business, find their information on LinkedIn, their website or other social media platforms.
Do your homework so you don’t waste their time or yours. If you understand and embrace the power of no longer being limited to the “six degrees of separation,” your chances of being successful are much greater. Using this approach can allow you to make connections that can lead to achieving your professional or personal dreams in ways beyond anything you might have ever imagined.
Learn more about Sergi and RedHead Wine at www.RedHeadWine.us. Have questions or want great wine tips? Check out her Twitter accounts at @RedHeadWine and @MarisaSergi.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.