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?
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.
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.
That was another point I'd made years back when an "influencer" list came out for social media wine accounts and all the top people on it were well known from other endeavors whether it be lengthy writing careers or as you said, being an MS.
Social media does give you another avenue, but so do things as old school as mailing lists or, god forbid, a functioning and updated website!
As for the "influencers" in general, I find that their time is nearly up given how many of them are most likely frauds https://www.hudin.com/how-that-wine-influencer-might-very-well-be-a-fraud/