A Wine Teller by Andre Silva

The real influence of a digital wine influencer.

The term influencer has never been so trending as it is today. Simply browsing unintentionally on social networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram you will be bombarded by suggested content from what analytic data processing engines have defined as your interest from your web behavior.

Over the past few years, no more than five or six, we have seen stories of ordinary people who, by documenting and recording their daily lives, have accumulated a legion of followers. The marketing industry quickly saw this as a good way to promote products and services. But why this organic micro blog interaction became so important to promote brands, products and services? A fact about humans is that by empathy we tend to copy the lifestyle of those with whom we identify. Thus, seeing a person using a product or consuming a service influences us to do the same. Promoting content from a truly organic audience is much more genuine, authentic, and effective than a banner ad on a web page.

As in many businesses, this new way of promoting products and services has also come to the wine market at some point. Until then, the advertising campaigns in the area of alcoholic beverages was based on artists in moments of pleasure tasting a glass of wine. Mostly older men flirting or accompanied by beautiful attractive women in a classic bar scene. This is not effective anymore. From the rise of Generation Y onwards, the optics of consumption have changed and the concept of lifestyle has had a much greater influence on consumer relations. The optics of property have been continually replaced by the optics of use. Having a car has become less relevant than getting around with the comfort of a car as we see in the example of Uber.

From this, people have developed a lifestyle identification with relatively anonymous characters on social media. Ask yourself why do you follow and give likes on photos of a unknown sommelier from a Hong Kong restaurant that you have never heard of, had the first contact from a content search engine on Instagram and thereafter followed him. The question we need to think about from this is what is the real influence that such people have on our action to choose a product or service? Another important question is what would be the impact if you knew that the photo you are viewing on Instagram is a paid ad for a product or service?

Precisely the answer to this second question has changed the way digital marketing has taken place after the first move. In the specific case of wine, biased posts have not been very well accepted by the audience. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the public that consumes this kind of information is usually an audience that cultivates a passion for the product itself and, as a result, usually tends to have a greater knowledge about it.

By observing how certain content has emerged promoting major brand products and services we can understand that the main focus has been to use social media profiles with less followers and that do not have a behavior visibly associated with paid or sponsored content. This behavior change has been observed mainly in the wine market and one of several possibilities for this change is related to the credibility and authenticity of the social media profiles of the so-called digital influencers.

In countries where wine is not a traditional and widely consumed product like Brazil, this change is even more profound. Wine consumption in Brazil is restricted to the wealthier social classes and is associated with social status. The wine consumer in Brazil is highly educated and tends to devote himself to the study of wine in tasting groups with friends. Thus, content related to this audience is expected to necessarily have credibility.

From these observations we can draw as a possible conclusion that the audience perception for paid social media content for the wine market is not the same as that observed in mass product markets. Marketing promotion strategies have been undergoing considerable changes since their emergence in order to adapt to the concept of influence in this specific market.

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