By Peter Rodriguez
By 2020 the majority of communications professionals will already be well acquainted with the term “influencer.” Beyond traditional media outlets and trade publications, social media influencers have demonstrated to be a valuable resource in generating brand awareness. As a PR agency we understand the basic fundamentals when working with well-established publications such as Forbes or Wine Spectator; research appropriate contacts, present the product/event, send the product/execute the event and follow up on coverage. With influencers the lines are a bit more blurred.
They don’t operate under conventional rules and regulations or adhere to an editor. It’s important to recognize that they also are a brand in need of promotion and have varying degrees of expectations on their end. We sat down with lifestyle influencer Carlina Harris (@allergictovanilla) who helped us navigate through the open waters of influencer relations. Here are a few key insights Carlina shared to maximize results when working with influencers in any capacity.
Be Straightforward About Your Expectations
When reaching out to influencers it’s common to not include every single detail upfront. It’s almost muscle memory to be short and succinct when communicating over emails. However, when it comes to compensation and deliverables, there shouldn’t be any room left for assumptions. Be completely transparent, include all the info upfront: paid/organic, type of content you want, timing of content, details on how to post as paid/ad and specific hashtags to use. Your best bet is always to make a contract a standard process for all partnerships. Draft out an agreement specifying every detail; this not only gives the influencer a point of reference but also holds them accountable should they agree to the terms.
Show, Don’t Tell
Social media is a visual medium pairing perfectly with wine. Just ask yourself, are you any more likely to buy a wine or visit a winery based on a standard bottle shot or score posted? When brainstorming social media content for wineries think visually and use influencers as content creators. Show human faces behind all the magic in the content (tasting room staff, winemaker). Capture the natural beauty of wine country as well as behind the scenes of harvest. Don’t be hesitant to think outside the usual wine context (ex. What to Wear in Wine Country). Work with influencers on creating engaging content such as “Wine Wednesdays” or pairing tips.
Make It Event Worthy
While just securing influencers for your event can be a complex affair, it’s only half the battle. Ensuring that you create a lively atmosphere which captivates your attendees will only lead to stronger results for all your efforts. Simple yet effective tactics like having a person of interest by the door to greet the guest can go a long way in setting the tone. Make the event experiential: have the speaker show the process behind winemaking and engage with attendees during tastings. Help influencers help you. If possible, have a photographer on hand to provide photos post-event so influencers aren’t distracted with capturing imagery during vital messaging. Provide expectations on format ahead of the evening (seated versus reception) so influencers know if they need to arrive at a specific time, or if it’s a more casual event.