By Clare Goggin Sivits On July 15, 2023

How Influencers Can Boost Your Wine Marketing Strategy

Influencer sips wine while creating wine marketing content for a winery.

No one takes advice from strangers and your consumers are no exception. They want recommendations from real people who they trust. That’s why influencers can be an effective part of your wine branding strategy.

Influencers connect with their audience through genuine and organic content. They build relationships based on trust with their followers and those relationships can help you sell your wine. Collaborating with influencers to create content will allow you to reach new potential customers.

However, if you’ve never worked with influencers before, you may not know how to get started. As an alcohol marketing agency with experience working with a wide variety of influencers, we are happy to help.

If you’d like to start working with influencers, here’s our advice on where to start.

Set a Budget for Influencers

The days of influencers creating content reliably in exchange for product have passed. While you still may find micro-influencers who are game to develop content for just a bottle or two of your wine, it’s not as common anymore. And, as a brand, you also have a responsibility to respect a creator’s time and resources and compensate them fairly for the work they’re generating for you.

Consider whether you’d like to work with several nano influencers (creators who have between 1,000 and 10,00 followers), a handful of micro-influencers (with at least 10,000 but no more than 100,000 followers) or one or two macro influencers (who have upwards of 100,000 followers). Maybe you want to look at a combination thereof. The number of followers an influencer has will dictate how much money they’ll want in exchange for content creation.

Finally, be realistic about how much budget you can put toward influencer marketing. If you have minimal or no budget, work on familiarizing yourself with nano influencers who may be more flexible with payment. As you start connecting with influencers, be clear with them about what you can offer in exchange for content so that there are no hard feelings down the line.

Know Your Wine Influencers

It’s not just about knowing who the influencers are in your space. For instance, if you want to work with a creator to develop content around your wine brand, you should obviously know which influencers are interested in wine. But you should also follow them, like their posts and even comment from time to time. The goal is to familiarize them with your brand before you ask them to work with you.

If you can make a fan out of an influencer before you partner with them, you build a foundation that will result in better content. That’s because that influencer will legitimately like your brand. Organic enthusiasm will certainly resonate with their fans – they’re so familiar with the creator’s content, they’ll be able to tell when something’s really inspired them.

As you’re building relationships, make note of which platforms the influencers use. They’ll likely be most active on either Instagram or TikTok. For the purposes of alcohol marketing, Instagram will likely be your best option. (TikTok greatly limits the promotion of alcohol on its platform.)

Plan Your Influencer Campaign

By the time you’re contacting influencers, you should know exactly what you want to promote with their help. If you’re focused on a product release, share the details with that influencer, tell them about the product and offer any messaging guidelines you may have. For instance, if you want consumers to know about sustainable growing practices or recyclable packaging, share those details with the creator. And make sure you include any messaging no-nos, like avoiding certain wine glass styles or ensuring that a collection of brand colors make it into the final shot.

It may seem like overkill when you deliver really detailed guidelines but it allows the creator to deliver high-quality content from the get. If they know exactly what you want in terms of look and feel, they can set those guideposts in place and then lean on their own creativity.

Prepare Samples for Influencers

Once you’ve settled on which influencers you’ll be working with and how, it’s time to get them product. If you’re simply sending a bottle, that should be easy enough to ship to them (of course, it’s important to consider the alcohol shipping laws that may impact that). But if you want to wow them, you might consider building a special kit that surprises and delights them.

If you have the resources for it, consider creating a custom box that includes branded glassware and other merchandise. Fun details, like a snow globe or some other novelty that reinforces your campaign or your brand’s personality, will bring a smile to an influencer’s face. The additional investment might get you bonus coverage from a delighted influencer.

Communicate with Your Influencers

Stay connected to the influencers you’re partnering with by checking in. Confirm they receive the product; check on publishing dates; ask them how they liked the product. You want to get information and updates but you also want to be friendly and helpful. Essentially, you want the product to be top of mind for them – in a positive way. It’ll keep them excited to work with you.

Additional questions to ask: what platforms will they be posting their content to and how? For instance, if they plan to post to Instagram, will it be a collaborator post (meaning it will go live to both their feed and yours)? Find out when the content will go live so you can be ready to accept a collaborator post or at least show up in the comments section.

Bottom line: make your influencers feel special. If you can, invite them to your winery and give them a VIP experience. For those influencers who aren’t close enough, find other ways to treat them as the important creators they are: samples of new releases or — better yet — not-yet-released wines can be one way to do that. Get their thoughts early!

Promote Influencers from Your Owned Content

As that content goes live, make sure you share it with your existing audience. Promote it on your stories and consider resharing it on other platforms if the influencer is open to that. Perhaps you could even incorporate their content into your website or into an email newsletter.

And don’t forget to keep the relationship going with the influencer even after the campaign has ended. Comment on their organic content and stay on their radar. By continuing the relationship, you keep the door open for another campaign down the line and perhaps a consistent stream of influential content.

If you’re looking to kick off an influencer marketing campaign for your winery or distillery, contact us. We’ll help connect you to the right people.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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