With National Wine Day this week (cheers!) and fresh from attending the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Convention in Las Vegas, our minds have turned to the wine and spirits industry.
One thing emerged as a clear trend at the convention—influencers were the toast of the town, from who they are and how to partner with them to why it matters.
At Fifty & Five, we have deep experience working with influencers. While they are growing in importance across industries, we too have noticed the huge opportunities for those in the beverage business. Even so, there are some pitfalls to watch out for.
Here are some of the best practices those in the alcohol industry can follow to have success working with influencers.
Find the right influencer for your audience. An influencer on social media might have a huge following, but if they’re focused on reviewing cheap wine and you sell a $100 bottle, it probably isn’t going to be the best fit. Influencers are great because they give you access to an engaged audience they’ve worked hard to cultivate and build. You want that audience to line up with your potential customers. A great example is Elliott Clark, who runs the site Apartment Bartender. If you are a restaurant with a great cocktail, Elliott probably wouldn’t be the best partner—but if you sell a mixology starter kit, the upside is strong.
Check for fake followers. There are thousands of spam bots out there, and influencers can buy them by the dozens. A good way to see if an influencer has fake followers is to check their engagement rate. An influencer with 5,000 followers might routinely get about 100 likes on an Instagram post. If an influencer with 50,000 followers is also routinely getting 100 likes, they might have fake followers. And fake followers aren’t just a concern because you won’t reach your target audience. Social platforms have recently started to take aim at fake profiles. Facebook, for instance, recently deleted 865 million spam posts. Working with those who have fake followers can actually put your brand at risk.
Do your research to maximize results. Just like you should check for signs of fake followers, you should also check to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. When you’ve found an influencer you want to work with, you should look back at some of their most recent content that’s similar to your brand. Do they often get comments on their posts? What are their followers saying? The more meaningful interactions the influencer has, the more likely it is that their followers will give your content more than just a passing glance.
Follow the rules. While what influencers can say about products differs slightly from what brands can say about products, it’s important to make sure you cover your bases. If your influencer is receiving compensation for their post, make sure they meet the disclosure requirements on that platform, whether by asking them to add a #ad or by asking them to add a disclaimer to their blog.
With these best practices in mind, you can start taking advantage of the benefits influencers bring—and get results worth raising a glass to.