Instagram is a gold rush… so where are the wine brands?

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January 16, 2015 by dannybishopcreative

Everyone knows that Instagram is the next big thing. Yes, snapchat is cool and tumblr has traffic, but Instagram is where its at.

Instagram has overtaken Twitter

Instagram has overtaken Twitter

The platform claims more users than Twitter, and while Twitter rightly points that global discussions happen on its platform, for a brand Instagram is the gold standard right now.

Brands report seeing engagement that put the levels of interaction on Twitter and Facebook to shame.

And with Facebook pursuing a business model that effectively holds your hard earned community to ransom, more and more brands are wondering if Facebook is the place they want to put their effort into.

A few brands have created a beachhead on Instagram already. Nike have more than 10 million followers, while Victoria’s Secret isn’t far behind.

Even more importantly, the big brands have seen truly exceptional engagement. Nike have seen more than 36 million uses of the #nike hashtag.

Victoria’s Secret don’t have quite that level of hashtag use. I suppose more people are happy posting an image of themselves in a pair of Air Jordan’s than just their Reg Grundy’s.

Comparing Engagement

However, Victoria’s Secret do see amazing engagement with their Instagram content, with one post from their recent runway fashion show attracting more than 370,000 likes.

370,000+ likes for Victoria's Secret

370,000+ likes for Victoria’s Secret

Putting that into perspective, Victoria’s Secret have almost 30 million Facebook followers, and at the same runway show their most engaging content achieved 75,000 likes.

That means Victoria’s Secret saw 5 times the engagement on Instagram from just 1/3rd the followers!

So if the platform is proving so amazing, with a huge user base that engage with brands they love, where are the wine brands?

This past week Penfolds passed the 5,000 follower mark. That might seem a small number, but from what I can tell, that makes the Australian icon the second largest wine brand on Instagram globally. The leader, Biltmore, has just over 8,000 followers.

Even brands with huge Facebook followings, such as Barefoot and [yellow tail] have virtually no footprint on Instagram.


Perhaps it’s the tool set. Currently Instagram has no API to post images, so any content must come from an iPhone or an Android. The API has also made it hard to measure what’s going on and difficult to engage at scale, but almost weekly a new tool is appearing that allows brands to manage Instagram effectively.

Perhaps it’s because it’s yet another platform. For many wine brands resourcing social media is not a simple task, and creating content can feel like a gaping maw that needs to be fed over and over. Adding a new platform to that mix might feel daunting, if not downright demoralising – especially if they haven’t been seeing great engagement on social media already.

Instagram Advertising

Instagram has limited advertising options to gain followers… for now

Perhaps it’s the lack of advertising options. For some big wine brands, the simplest method of getting a following is to advertise for them. It’s highly unlikely that [yellow tail] reached a million Facebook fans organically – not that there is anything wrong with that. But without the ability to advertise on Instagram those brands might feel that it’s not worth really pushing the platform just yet.  And yes, Instagram have been rolling out advertising. But right now there is no age verification process on Instagram, and until they have one alcohol brands will not be able to take part in any ad buying.

Most likely it’s a mix of these issues and more. Add in the need to create new budgets with agencies, a new platform that many don’t really understand yet along with corporate inertia and we see that wineries are notably quiet on Instagram.

Steve Jobs is quoted as saying “Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.”

Right now if you don’t have the time, the budget or the tools to take care of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, Google+ and Instagram – then don’t.

If you had to choose to put your eggs in just one basket, and you were completely dispassionate about the choice, you’d probably choose Instagram as that one basket.

Of course if you’ve got quarter of a million Facebook fans you can’t just post a message saying “Gone Fishing! See you on Instagram.” You’ve built a community there. Ignore them at your own peril.

But you can do your best to transition them. Not everyone will come on the journey, but a lot of them have made the transition already – they’re waiting for you to come to the party, not the other way round.

So what are you waiting for?



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