At Lunabean Media we have clients across the US and even on the other side of the globe (hello Australia). We work with many on an individual level, and, quite often, on a regional level when we visit these areas to lead trainings or seminars.
Because of this level of exposure to real wineries doing the real work of selling wine, we feel we are in the unique position of seeing and hearing about DTC marketing trends that are on the top of the minds of many of these wineries. We hear about services that people are trying to sell them, and we hear what they think about some of the industry’s “big ideas”.
We decided, over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to tackle some of these services and idea, and let you know where we stand on them. We will cover topics from ADA Compliance Services to Instagram Strategy (you are here) to Tasting Notes to Wine Discounts. Here we focus on your winery’s Instagram strategy.
Is Your Winery Doing Instagram Right?
Are you being authentic? Are your photos high-quality, but not professional-quality? Are you posting 2-3 times a week? Are you NOT using Instagram as an advertising tool? Then, congrats, your winery is using Instagram correctly. And a lot of you are – but a lot of you are not.
Quite honestly, there isn’t much that we can say about wineries use of Instagram better than recent articles by Amber LeBeau of Spitbucket.com. Here they are:
Why Do Winery Instagram Feeds Suck So Much
How Wineries Can Be Using Instagram Better
In summary, stop with the bottle porn, and stop treating your Instagram feed like a commercial for your winery. When you do use your feed like a commercial for your winery, the user feels you doing this, and they automatically (and unintentionally) put up a wall between you and them – which is the exact opposite effect you want users to have when they see your photos.
Instagram is about inviting the user in – not with professional imagery and generic captions, but with real imagery supported by captions that are specific to your winery.
Bad Instagram Captions for Wineries
Here are a few examples of the kinds of captions that remind consumers you are a business, and that you are taking up space in their Instagram feed advertising to them:
“It’s the weekend, enjoy a glass of wine.”
“We’re drinking rosé tonight. What are you drinking?”
“We’re raising a glass to sustainable wine. Won’t you join us?”
“A glass of (insert your wine here) is the perfect way to celebrate #winewednesday”.
Do you see how ANY winery could write these captions? Do you see how boring they are? And, for the love of all things good in the world, stop putting the onus of the captions on your users with questions. Asking questions was an engagement strategy 7-8 years ago – but, for the most part, this strategy failed, because the user senses the business doesn’t really care about the answer. Only ask if you care, and are willing to respond in a way that let’s the user know they have helped. Are you donating somewhere and you’d like feedback as to where .- ask that question. Are you crowd-sourcing to find a name for an upcoming wine? That’s fun. Are you asking something – anything – simply for the sake of getting engagement? Then don’t do it.
Good Instagram Captions for Wineries
OK – back to a few captions that would be better than the above captions.
“Have you met Erich, our tasting room manager? Since he works Saturdays and Sundays, his weekend actually starts tonight. What is Erich drinking to celebrate? A beautiful IPA from our neighbors at @localbrewery. Because change is good. And these guys make a great IPA.”
“Our Willamette Valley Rosé earned a 94 from Wine Enthusiast! It won’t be around long. Find the link to purchase in our bio.”
“Biodynamic 500 prep day. We have placed high quality cow manure in these cow horns and will be burying them for the winter. We will dig them back up this spring and use the super nutrient rich manure in our vineyards to create strong upward growth in our vines – no chemicals necessary.”
“Continuing our #winewednesday series, Chris, our winemaker, says his favorite wine is Riesling – because, like him, it’s incredibly misunderstood – and occasionally very sweet.”
Do you see the difference between the first set of captions and the second? Do you see how the user learns so much more about your winery and the people behind it with the second set of captions than the first? Do you see how much more authentic they feel? Notice the second set even includes a full on promotion (rosé score with link to wine), which is allowed because you rarely promote, so, when you do, it’s worth listening to – and people are actually happy for you and more likely to purchase the wine.
Good Instagram Photos for Wineries
This photo from Division Wine Co. got extremely high engagement in our Willamette Valley Wineries Association Memorial Day Weekend 2019 campaign.
One of the surest signs a winery has hired a firm that doesn’t play the authenticity game is that every photo is clearly professional-quality. And one of the surest ways you can make your user feel like they are looking at an ad is to give them photos that are professional quality. The more professional quality images they are served, the higher that wall goes between the winery and the consumer.
Now, if you have some professional-quality images that you want to share, then share them like you would look at them. “We are so in love with this stunning photo @allisonschubertphotography captured of our vineyard.” Share the awe. Don’t just act like professional photos are your day-to-day – because that’s just not real.
That said, we also don’t want to see out-of-focus photos, or photos of wine glasses with finger prints all over them. It is worth giving your iPhone or smartphone camera to the person on your team who takes the best photos, as good photos do get more engagement and make your winery look like the kind of place people want to visit, but, again, it’s up to a point. If the photos are too high-end, people won’t be able to see themselves there, and will begin to disengage.
The point is, Instagram isn’t a daily print ad. It’s meant to be alive, authentic, and fun. Respect that people have taken the time to follow you – don’t waste their time with a series of ads.
Oh, and don’t fall for metrics schemes that promise to build up your followers – we’re seeing a rise in these again, too. There’s no better way to piss off a potential customer and show yourself to be inauthentic than a good old follow/unfollow campaign headed by an agency that promotes itself by the number of followers it has (goodness knows, there are a bazillion ways to make up those numbers). Follow users to grow your brand, if you must. Unfollow them shortly thereafter at your own risk.