Social media influences everything. From presidential elections to public opinion on the pandemic. There is nothing that social media can’t touch, including the way we buy wine.
Impact of lockdown on shopping habits
What became abundantly clear during the pandemic was that our shopping habits have been changed, most likely for the long term. We’ve moved away from shopping in stores to buying wine online.
Granted, that was already happening pre-pandemic, but with the stay at home measures we all had to abide by forcing us to switch up how we shopped not just for groceries but clothes, electronics, household items, nearly everything, including wine, has meant that in order to get products in front of customers now, retailers have had to up their digital marketing game.
Digital wine marketing
The quicker you come to the realisation, as a wine retailer, that consumers’ shopping habits have changed, the quicker you can adapt your wine marketing efforts to keep targeting your ideal customers.
Moving from traditional marketing to digital wine marketing is key to getting your products in front of your buyers. And the number one tool of digital marketing for the wine industry? Social media marketing.
Wine social media
Social media wine marketing is changing the way consumers purchase wine. With just over half the world’s population routinely using the internet, 2020 has been global tipping for social media. This is the last year where more than 50% of the earth’s population is not on social media. After this year, the majority of planet earth will be active social media users.
Those social media statistics are all very interesting you might say, but what has that got to do with how consumers are buying wine?
It’s simple – social media is fast replacing traditional media. Where once only a few people had a platform to share their opinions, social media has given a leg up and a soapbox to anyone with anything to say, hence the rise of the influencer.
The importance of reviews
What do influencers do best? They give their ‘endorsement’ to brands, people and products through the medium of their chosen social media platform. And we swear by these reviews. We would sooner trust an online peer/influencer’s ‘honest opinion’ than an official review written by an expert.
Just look at the power TripAdvisor wields on our decision to book a table at a restaurant or where to stay on holiday. When was the last time you didn’t judge a product on Amazon based on the number of reviews and stars it had? Exactly, we want to know what others thought before we commit to anything.
Wine producers and wine retailers no longer have to rely on ‘wine experts’ or dedicated oenophiles to endorse or review their products. If you want to connect with consumers you can do it directly thanks to social media, or through wine influencers.
If you want to get even more brand exposure, rather than spend thousands on traditional advertising, simply create a partnership with an influencer who has the eyes and ears of your target audience. Even micro-influencers with a mere audience of tens of thousands can affect what wine consumers choose to purchase.
While social media has given a platform to a whole host of voices that previously had no platform, it isn’t a one-way street. It has also introduced a swathe of people to the wine industry, an industry they have previously not been privy to. Social media is the bridge that connects businesses instantly with consumers, giving everyone, consumers included, access to the same information that was once only accessible by trade and wine insiders.
What does that mean for wineries and wine retailers? Essentially, if you don’t have an active social media page you’re missing out, big time. It also means that wine producers are no longer judged solely on the quality of their wines.
Consumers want to know everything about a brand before making a purchase, not just about the product, but the brand itself: where they stand on sustainability, on environmental issues, on human rights, whether the language they use is gender-biased, or if they are an equal opportunity employer. Social media has given rise to ‘judgement consumerism’ from the younger generations, and as they’re in the driving seat, there is no turning back.
But that isn’t all brands are judged on. Consumers decide which wine brands to buy from based on their interaction with them, their customer service, the usability of their website, their performance on social media, not to mention their values and standards.
Today’s consumers have so much power at their fingertips, it pays for brands to be transparent.
Millennials and wine
Millennials and soon Gen Z, hold the buying power, they also make up over 80% of social media users. This generation is actively seeking out the brands that share their ideas, meaning that smaller, lesser-known wine labels with sustainability at their heart can quickly garner a cult following, simply by having a presence on social media.
So how can you make social media work for you? By engaging directly with consumers, you can expand your markets exponentially. You can take your wines to the very people who seek them out, and with growing consumer interest in a much wider wine selection, that can only have positive ramifications for the entire wine industry.