We have all seen plenty of examples of influencer marketing over the last decade. Even going away from the purely business aspect of influencers, there are not thousands of people on social media websites, Instagram and YouTube in particular, who are building brands based on their expertise or the desirability of their lifestyles.
This is happening in every industry, including in the world of Italian wine.
In fact, a recent statistic suggests that up to 54% of Italians decide which wines they should buy based on the opinions of influencers.
That’s a huge statistic given the number of people (read – almost everybody) who buy wine in Italy.
So, it got us thinking…
Why are influencers so, well, influential?
After all, there have always been people, such as reviewers and critics, who share their opinions about Italian wine. But there’s something about this new breed of influencers that seems to be different, and perhaps even more persuasive, than we’ve seen in the past.
In this article, we explore some reasons for why that is.
Reason #1 – They Appeal to a Younger Generation
There’s something a little traditional about buying a wine guide or subscribing to some of the older wine publications out there. That traditionality may be off-putting to some people, especially those who are taking their first steps into the world of Italian wine.
Social media influencers offer something different.
Many of them offer unique takes on the wines they drink that seem to come more from a general consumer’s point of view, rather than from an expert. Of course, this doesn’t mean there aren’t sommeliers and other wine professionals who are able to use social media to share their opinions. However, the age of the influencer means that young people have a greater depth and breadth of opinions to sample than they’ve had before.
Why is this important?
Imagine you’re on Instagram and you come across a profile of somebody who talks a lot about Italian wine. You examine their pictures and videos and find that this person actually has a lot in common with you. Now, you feel connected to them, meaning that their opinion holds more weight than the opinions of other people.
That’s the power of the influencer, especially for the younger generation. And it leads us to our next reason…
Reason #2 – The Personal Touch
When you read a wine review in a magazine, you hope to get whisked on a little word-based adventure. But at the end of the article, the only connection you feel to the person who wrote it comes from their name and, perhaps, a picture and small biography.
Compare that to how influencers communicate with their audiences.
They share videos. The post content and pictures. They let their followers into their lives, opening themselves up on a personal level in a way that traditional wine reviewers and experts simply can’t, or won’t do.
That connection means so much to an influencer and their followers.
With an influencer you’re getting a connection. You’re getting a personal touch in the sense that you can reach out and communicate with the person you’re following. They may even communicate back to you. All of this forms a bond between influencer and follow, making the follower more likely to embrace the opinions the influencer has about Italian wine.
Reason #3 – The Feeling of Community
It’s not just the influencer that creates a connection with their followers.
The followers also create connections amongst each other. They form a community around the influencer, which is almost like an active and living organism. An influencers followers communicate with each other, share opinions, and essentially become friends.
And here we see another element of how opinions about wine can get spread.
If members of the community agree with what the influencer is saying about wine, they’ll often share that opinion with other members who perhaps haven’t seen that particular post. So, you see the influencers opinion spread rapidly among that community to the point where the top influencers can have an impact on the types of wines their followers drink.
That’s not all.
Particularly powerful communities can band together and influence people outside of the influencer’s circle. Even somebody who’s never heard of the influencer may buy a wine because a large segment of people has started buying it. They’ll want to see what all of the fuss is about, even if they don’t know who created the fuss!
Community is a powerful thing.
An influencer’s community, when it becomes large enough, can create trends that run through entire industries.
Reason #4 – The Cost
It may seem like a strange reason, but cost may play a huge part in why social media influencers are able to amass so many followers.
After all, it only takes the click of a follow button to gain access to their opinions. And once that click happens, you don’t have to make any effort at all to keep up with what the influencer is doing. You just head onto social media, which you do anyway, and you can get their opinions straight in your news feed.
Again, compare that to the traditional side of things.
If you’re getting opinions out of a magazine, you have to physically go out and buy it. So, you’re spending time and money to get access to an opinion from somebody who you’re not even connected with.
For influencers, you have the connection and the ease of access. So, it only seems natural that their opinions would spread wider and have more influence.
The Final Word
Influencers sometimes get a bad name, especially due to the actions of a small subsection. But many of them just want to share their opinions with people in whatever way they can.
Perhaps it’s the authenticity of this desire that makes influencers so appealing to people.
They’re clearly doing something right if they’re affecting the Italian wine purchasing decisions of 54% of the population. Of course, if an influencer has pointed you in the direction of a particular wine, the odds are that you will find it on the Xtrawine website!
I’m a passionate about good wine and good cooking.
I like to keep me updated and share with my online friends my gastronomic knowledge.