Have You Heard of “Wine Influencers”? This Is What You Need to Know.

This week on #TheWineHacker we are talking about “Wine Influencers” in social media. We sent through some questions to our Wine Hacker Sara, aka The Wine Informer, to see what her thoughts were on the matter.

What is a “Wine Influencer”? 

This is a good first question, even if I personally don’t like the word “influencer” at all. I prefer to use terms such as “informer”, educator or communicator, which is why my social media handle is “@thewineinformer”.

Within the world of social media an influencer is a person who has attracted an audience, or following. They can do this in many ways, such as by building a reputation for having knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. The key to success as an influencer is to be honest, consistent, and transparent, as your audience relies on content for information and suggestions.

In the world of wine when you are in this role I believe it is important to communicate in a true and personal way, providing suggestions without being too persistent. Influencer marketing is a hot topic these days. Informers, educators, communicators and influencers are not salesmen; they are “storytellers” and ambassadors of their own beliefs! A good “influencer” must also stay up to date on new trends and know when the trends will fade, being always ahead of their time, and keeping the public interested in the present and the future!

What are the marketing benefits of engaging a Wine Influencer, to promote or review your wine? 

As I mentioned before (I use the word informer if you don’t mind) “informers” are not salespeople. They are ambassadors of style, taste and values. This is what differentiates us from “saleswomen” and “salesmen”.

Informers should have an honest and transparent approach when sharing opinions on specific products. For example, I never start a collaboration without first tasting the wines. And if they send me wines that are not to my taste, I just don’t post about them. Simple. 

Wineries can rely on “informers” to create more engaging, niche, dynamic content to enhance brand awareness, increase traffic, and deliver an authentic message within everyone’s reach. Due to the topics they post about, wine “informers” tend to amass an audience across their different channels that are similar to a winery’s target audience. This means wineries and wine businesses can engage “informers”to expand their reach among potential buyers.

Why did you decide to enter the Wine Influencer space, and what have you learnt along the way? 

It happened by chance: the passion led me to open an Instagram profile over three years ago. Perseverance, honesty and many ups and downs have led me to create a strong community that I admire and respect. I have met so many wonderful people who have encouraged me to pursue my goal as a wine informer, which is to make the world of wine accessible to all.

Why do you think consumers look to Wine Influencers to help them with their purchasing decisions? 

Because they project themselves onto the wine informers. Informers provide insight into their personal life and interact with their followers as a community, with no discrimination.

I personally spend a lot of time replying to messages, providing clarification on products and their accessibility. All these interactions build a relationship and generate trust between the consumer and the “informer”.

What should wineries look for when choosing a Wine Influencer to promote their products?

Make sure the informers visual identity is a good match for your brand by reviewing their past collaborations and current content. Also check their current engagement rate, there are a lot of fake informers out there. Fake followers are still a thing, unfortunately!

What sort of content do Wine Influencers produce?  

Informers are passionate story tellers, they are someone who really cares about their content. Passion equates to transparent and honest communication and hunger to learn more and more about a specific topic.The content can be linked to a wine review, trend, winery or wine business.

What are your concerns about the Wine Influencer space, that you think people should be aware of? 

Fake informers! One of the easiest ways to detect fake informers is to check their engagement to follower ratio. Most fake informers will have thousands of followers, but barely any likes or engagements. Everyone wants to enjoy the benefits of being an informer, but some don’t want to get to work building an organic following. That is because this is a complex job, and not everyone has the patience and dedication as it takes a lot of time.

In 2019-2020, Twitter cracked down on fake accounts on the platform, suspending 70 million accounts in just two months. Many celebrities and influencers have lost millions of followers in the process. In the same year, Instagram said they would also delete fake accounts. Some studies have also found that mid-level influencers (those with 50,000-100,000 followers) typically have around 20% fake influencers. These are shocking numbers because brands are wasting time engaging fraudulent accounts instead of engaging “real” people.

What do you think the future of the Wine Influencer looks like? 

I think we have only just started!

You can find more from Sara through her website, The Wine Informer, and her Instagram, @thewineinformer.

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