Go Nuts! Wine and Instagram

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Wine and Instagram is a match made in heaven, says Cathy Gadd. So post, post and post again!

There’s been some debate on the value of Instagram and the growth of cleverly named “wine amateurs” as influencers muscle in on established wine communicators. As a consumer, I thought I’d throw in my two cents on the subject.

The advent of social media and the sharing economy has provided an unprecedented opportunity to connect globally with others who share similar interests. If Facebook and Twitter weren’t enough of a distraction, the boom of Instagram gives us another whole way to devour precious time.

Instagram is a global channel for sharing pictures and videos with others – a life in pictures that cuts to the chase. With some 500 million users globally – the majority under 35 years – its reach and engagement are far greater than Facebook and it’s much more flexible than Twitter. Even better, it can be used in conjunction with both of those mediums – one Insta post shared across three social media channels. Time efficient and so smart.

I love wine, it’s my hobby and there is rarely a photo of me without a glass of wine in my hand. And more often than not, when I’ve just had a wine that rocks my world, I feel compelled to share it. Of course the flipside is that makes me a total bore to my non-wine obsessed Facebook friends.

I’ve found a global tribe of wine heads on Instagram and it’s dead easy to connect (mostly) without needing permission. We’re not necessarily friends, we just share an interest and we get to post as many social occasions, glasses, bottles, labels and food matches as we want.

I get to curate my own content (algorithms aside) based on who I follow and control how I want to entertain myself. Sweet.

Instagram is pure escapism – a bit like getting your fill of trashy mags while queuing at the supermarket or hairdressers. It’s eye-candy for wine lovers.

What’s the attraction? Wine is a fun product with a big broad audience. When you drink wine, it’s usually with friends, in a social place, it improves your mood and instantly your quality of life. All very desirable and sharable things. Instagram is a positive medium to help people communicate and share the wine love.

Why does it work? Wine communication has for too long been held in the realm of too few experts advising what’s good and what we should drink. It’s largely been a world of elitism, with technical, intimidating language, confusing scores and judgment. No doubt this has suited a small portion of wine-obsessed folk but the likes of Wine Wankers and the irreverent way Vinomofo talk about wine are tapping into a much, much broader market that weren’t attuned to the wine cognoscenti in the first place.

Not all players are authentic and yes, there are those who are self-serving, seeking power and glory by building a business as an influencer. No doubt this is where the wine communicators have a beef, but right or wrong, the consumer’s not getting hung up.

Most post not from a technical or sophisticated perspective, but sharing the joy, excitement and value wine adds to our lifestyle. Lay people are now talking to each other about what they are drinking and what they like. Do these people have the credentials? People don’t care, they make a fun product, well, fun.

This is a good thing: more people interested and talking about wine, albeit it in a different way, expands the market.

Wine communication has for too long been held in the realm of too few experts advising what’s good and what we should drink.

Social media is about engagement.There’s no doubting the power of trusted brands or peer-to-peer recommendations. I can only speak from my experience, but through Instagram, I’ve become aware of plenty more wines, labels and wineries I didn’t know and it’s on my list to visit some or try those wines.

I still read and follow those wine reviewers and journalists I’ve always followed, but I also follow the new for entertainment. I know the difference.

Should you get on board?

Wine and Instagram is a match made in heaven. If you’re a winery, most people consider what you do as pretty glamorous stuff, particularly compared to the poor bastard in a 4×4 cubicle with fluro lights. That’s why townies buy wineries – for lifestyle. So put aside the slog and sobering reality for a moment and leverage the hell out of that perception. Didn’t you know that in most people’s eyes, you’re living the dream? So show them.

The best accounts I follow post that awesome lifestyle. Hell, nothing gets the hordes more excited than gorgeous sunset views over vineyards and wine dogs doing their thing. They share the beauty of where grapes are grown, how it changes across the seasons, the magic of how wine is made, people who are part of the process and the infinite ways that wine is enjoyed, shared and positively contributes to our quality of life.

Of all products, wine has such an interesting creation process that provides an endless supply of content. Go nuts!

Even more important, make sure you share your customers posting their moments about you. Free endorsements and unsolicited advertising is gold. And whatever you do, make sure you acknowledge and thank them.

I get really excited when I have a moment of revelation after tasting a wine that I just want to shout to the world. I go on Instagram, share it with my followers and tag the winery to tell them they are awesome.

Sadly, I can’t tell you how many times these call-outs go unrecognised and unshared. I just advertised your awesomeness and you wasted the opportunity to validate and share it. Really?

From a consumer perspective, the control is now in our hands. The ability to get answers, connect anywhere, anytime and share with like-minded people is amazing.

There is much vying for the wine consumer’s attention and dollars. If you don’t have social media accounts, particularly Instagram, then you need to get on board. Share the lifestyle, distil the myths and jargon into something digestible, accessible, fun and compelling. There’s a willing audience, so go find them! <τ

Cathy Gadd is an ex-corporate marketing executive who runs Liquidity wine club and lives in the Hunter Valley.

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