Do guest ever come in and say "hey, I saw so-and-so's post on Instagram and now I want a bottle of whatchamacallit!"? If so, what are they asking for? And who are those "influencers" who are inspiring them to drink more of Brand X or region Y?
We have seen a little success with social on the retail side. Our store is so new though we're mainly using social just to get people in the door, not targeting a specific product.
I have found social to be a good way of communicating more with an existing customer base, i.e amplifying things that we already do well to people for who wine is a relatively small part of their social media diet, but know us instead from real world connections.
I think that a lot of the wine activity that we see on social media more broadly is a bit of a tempest in a tea pot, with the same few thousand people all following and promoting each other’s posts to each other. There is not actually much of a market there, and so I would not recommend buying wine in the hope of selling it off the back of an “influencer.”
Working retail from 09 - 12 anytime RP/WS or even the NYT posted a high score or a top whatever list you suddenly had an influx of customers all looking for the same bottle/bottles that probably sat on your shelf for months. Now I'm back in restaurants and I have never had a guest ask for a wine they saw on social media. However, as a buyer following producers and other industry folks on social media, I have been known to email/text a rep out of the blue about a wine I saw on a feed. Might be worth seeing if this is more prevalent on the distributor side. It could also be just another example of the insular nature of social media.
I would say that Social absolutely moves certain bottles. The evidence is clear as day. I could make a pretty long list of examples, but I'll keep it short... Overnoy.
While I would never ask a Sommelier if they a had bottle that I had seen on social media (that just seems tacky), I do keep an eye out for bottles at restaurants that I have seen on Social but have not had a chance to try. Often times it is the only way to try these wines at somewhat reasonable prices.
If anything, I feel folks work with wines that they see on "cool" social feeds. I'm regularly asked about wines being available that many buyers wouldn't know about except for pop ups on social media. I see more of that than of consumers searching out those wines.
Absolutely. We see specific requests at Corkbuzz for wines by the glass or bottle that we feature through various outlets, as well as requests from wines that are featured elsewhere. Somm3 has definitely helped move some specific bottles.
Industry wide I think this is still something that people are "feeling out" slowly and figuring out how specific to get. WOSA is really pushing the wines of the entire country as a whole right now and I personally think it's awesome.
The only people I've ever heard say it has a truly amazing means to sell are those selling social media services. Stating this in an article has even earned me a troll I can't shake.
As Sean mentions above, it's not any one thing. Social media good on its own? No. As part of an over-arching presence, sure, why not.
Eric Crane drinks Mayacamas because of Lebron's Instagram.
Agree it moves bottles, but in no way would asking a Sommelier about a bottle you saw on social be tacky. It's 2019. It's main stream now. It's the world we live in, not tacky.
There is some discussion of this point, as it relates to Generation Z and younger consumers wanting to engage with brands on social media, in the Year in Review podcast: www.guildsomm.com/.../podcast-year-in-review
I guess I was speaking personally. I would feel that I was insulting the rest of the list by simply walking in and asking for some unicorn bottle that I saw on Social Media.
Social Media is the new version of robert parker. Points can be helpful to someone learning wine and I totally encourage someone to use points or social media, but personally as a wine nerd, I would feel tacky and embarrassed to do it.
To add on to my previous comment. Oftentimes I find that the real influential sources are still reviews and articles, but these reviews and articles are linked or posted through social media like twitter or Instagram nowadays and that is what is largely introducing the information to a new audience.
I still think a lot of consumers trust critic scores whether they admit it or not, lists like the winespectator top 100, articles from trusted sources like Eric Asimov. I don’t think many people in my generation (under 30) are reading these sources on their own regularly, but when an “influencer” links or references wines through these more established outlets it can be powerful. Probably more powerful than one influencer telling you what to drink. As people establish their own credibility over time, I do think social media alone will emerge to compete with these traditional outlets, but it’s not there yet.
I think the problem with people selling social media services in general is that it removes the authenticity of it. Social media, done well, can feel like a personal recommendation from an established sommelier. Say you’re an MS who owns a wine bar, and you want to post about a wine you’re excited about and obviously carry on your list. Can be very effective. But a social media service doesn’t help you at all, the MS themselves is the currency that matters here and them paying someone else would be a waste of money. Now if I were to open a wine bar, a social media service wouldn’t help me sell more wine because I’m not an MS with credibility. So in the day of free advertising through your personal accounts, I fail to see where these companies can help you. I’m sure there’s something to it for other industries but not in the proposed question above of guests coming in to a specific establishment.
Also, I’m sorry to hear about your troll.
I'd be curious to see how these differences manifest themselves in different markets as well. How does the social aspect change between a wine hotbed like SanFran vs. somewhere less so....like central OK.