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‘Influencers’ in de wijn

Hoe verleid je wijnliefhebbers tot het kopen van jouw flessen? Daar dragen sociale media steeds meer aan bij. Al eerder hebben we daar de ‘influencers’ bij genoemd. Digitale ‘sterren’ met soms duizenden volgers die hun idool graag imiteren. Inmiddels is allerlei ervaring opgedaan met het inschakelen van deze lieden. Het ligt doorgaans aan het aantal volgers, wat ze met hun acties verdienen. Wine Searcher geeft een inkijk in de professionele aanpak van digitale ‘branding’.


“Marketers have become increasingly creative in their attempts to seduce consumers with their wares, as more and more get their media via streaming services and install ad blockers for online surfing.

Enter the squishy, ambivalent world of social media, where newly minted digital stars earn sizeable salaries shilling for brands. For marketers and brands, influence comes in two main guises, according to Jeremy Benson, president of Benson Marketing, an agency focused on digital marketing and brand strategy with offices in New York City, Napa and Lyon, and a focus on the wine and spirits industry.


Big gap

Most of the campaigns Benson and other digitally focused marketing agencies focus on are individual "influencers" (with an Instagram or Facebook fan base of 5000-plus followers) and media "partners" (media companies with large social media and digital connections to consumers; 500,000-plus followers; a robust email list; preferably, a podcast).

There's a big gap between 5000 and 500,000 followers, and not just in the size of their audience (and the corresponding price tag that accompanies it). Before we get into degrees of engagement, let's take a step back and look at how much money brands are paying influencers for the price of their posts.

The price of buying influence in the wine world is less dear than elsewhere (a single post from a member of the KarJenner clan reportedly costs between $250,000 and $500,000). While exceptions are made, Benson typically only works with individuals or teams who have 50,000 followers or more, but far less than the multimillions Kimye & Co. boast.

A small-scale promotion – which typically involves a few posts on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – land in the $2500-$5000 price range, Benson explains. Larger promotions (typically with media companies and spanning several platforms, including social media, newsletters, blogs and podcasts) can be in the range of $15,000-25,000. CPMs (a marketing acronym that denotes the price of 1000 ad impressions on a page) are in the range of $10-$30.

Alyssa Vitrano, the MTV producer turned wine influencer who founded Grapefriend.com, and has 168,000 followers on Instagram, concurs. Brands approach her and a fee is negotiated based on her number of followers and what's involved (one post she can create at home versus multiple posts across several channels, possibly requiring travel or research), she explains. She also notes that Grapefriend is essentially a side hustle, or a "passion project", as she puts it, and not a full-time job.


L2, a firm that benchmarks digital performance of brands, recently conducted a study that sets out to determine the average lift in engagement associated with brand mentions of influencers of 10 different community sizes – ranging in size from less than 20,000 to more than 7 million. The study looked at 5038 influencers who worked with 875 brands across 16 sectors, including drinks, food, travel and restaurants.

They found that influencers with fewer than 20,000 followers lift engagement by 13 percent, while influencers with 7 million or more followers blast engagement through the roof at about 33 percent. But mid-range influencers, with between 200-600,000 followers offered a mere 4 percent engagement lift. So, while mid-range influencers cost substantially more than micro-influencers, they generate less engagement. Most agencies peg payment to an influencer's number of followers, L2 and Benson point out, because engagement rates are tough to predict.

(Source: Wine-Searcher)