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Does TWS need Influencers?

I had forgotten that I had created the original thread to discuss the role of Influencers. Judging by the voracity of the comments on the recently terminated Influencer thread, I offer this as a place for a more general discussion on this controversial subject.


i’d answer in the last thread…just before the guillotine fell…

You can describe anyone who people look to on a subject as an influencer - so for wine that will be those from Janics Robinson, Tim Atkin, Robert Parker (in the day) James Suckling etc etc…down to the modern take (and that with the negative connotations) of those with a blog and a social media presence and a few thousand followers.

for those in the social media arena, you can make money by being paid (by the products retailers) to advertise products - in most cases the rates are quite low unless you have 100’s thousands of followers or have a proven ability to drive sales from your posts…

and thats a bug nub of this…unless you are using direct links / sales codes etc it is very difficult to assess how successful your marketing campaign has been with any one particular marketing channel / ‘influencer’…bit like an advert in all the Sunday press - how do you know how much came from the Observer or how much came from the Sunday sport!

Pointless - no, but it is only one part of a marketing strategy.

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Yes and No. For the society to continue as a long term viable entity it needs to always be able to reach out to the next generation. In today’s world the best form of reaching out is via social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc etc. An influencer using a blog or Instagram is just a form of advertising. Is it the right form, that is clearly open to debate!


And should they disclose it? The staff in the other thread stalled a lot before admitting that it was a freebie, which I found very disappointing.


no question about it…its a legal requirement ( and i’ve spoken with two industry experts on this…both who have a very different view to the one we were presented)

and just because others don’t do it isn’t an excuse


Can I suggest you report it to the ASA? Anybody else who feels the same way should too.

i’m not on about the last topic…I’m on about in general

last topic closed :slight_smile:

Given the title of the thread…

The issue with some ‘influencers’ is they don’t actually have much knowledge about the product they are ‘marketing’ and do little research into it. In fact it’s highly likely that many people commenting in all these threads (which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading since joining this year, so thank you to you all) have significantly more knowledge about wine and the wine society. If the influencers the wine society chooses are knowledgeable and disclose the connections is that so bad? Does it tarnish the imagine of the society? Is it the society trying to stay current to attract new members?


Can I ask what evidence you base this on? I’m not asking because I think the world of ‘influences’ is good or bad but that’s an incredibly strong statement so I’m interested to know what research or knowledge leads you to that. Particularly in the world of wine, I think to influence others wine choices you need to be able to articulate why a wine is good or share wine experiences or help others work through the jargon that can be found in the wine world.

I do appreciate you are saying ‘some’ not all but still I have no idea of an influencer is knowledgeable or not, I’d assume they wouldn’t be able to influence many people if they didn’t know their stuff, they’d get found out quickly.

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Hope I’m not putting words in @Ben_N’s mouth, but I think he’s differentiating between two types of ‘influencers’ (very broad generalisations, obviously there is an enormous range of finely-nuanced alternatives)

Those who post stories of themselves in various poses, with lots of exposed flesh, relying on thirsty men to click likes, post thirsty comments and follow for more of the same. Their commentary will be limited to brand names and very basic details.

Then there are those who post items of interest, provide intelligent and appropriate commentary and don’t balance a bottle of champagne on each bum cheek in videos. Maybe they have a rather well-written blog.

I’m sure you can find some examples with a bit of googling.


I think it’s pretty well known that certain types of influencers simply market products solely because they are paid too. There have been many incidences where celebrities / influencers have been caught out endorsing / marketing products (weight loss products, diet programs / regimes, beauty products with certain credentials) they have never ever used or followed themselves that turn out to have no scientific research behind them.

With respect to wine influencers specifically , I was merely asking why the wine society might want to use an ‘influencer’, whatever that definition may be.

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I know what you are referring to

Ok but how do you or anyone know that they don’t know the brands or the style or the fashion, if you are referring to clothes. They maybe influencers because of their style and their expertise in fashion.

Items of interest to whom? Why cant those that post pictures of them in certain clothing, promoting the brands, not be of interest to the audience that is being targeted?

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I’m not saying it’s perfect just making a comment about sweeping statements or rather my perception of a sweeping statement being made.

I’m not the target audience for most Instagram influencers, for example, but I not sure they don’t know their product or their market.

Of course there will be individuals that take advantage of a business offering them money to promote something, but I’m not sure how different that is to a TV advert or a Radio advert these days. It’s advertising in the 21st century.

I guess for me I can’t decide if social media influencers are much different to the old style celebrity endorsement. For example, I bought Hot-shot comic as a kid because it was Gary Lineker’s Hot Shot, I don’t think Gary had much to do with it but I still bought it (it got better when it merged with Roy of the Rovers though).

I guess my wider point to respond to the topic is TWS does need influencers if ‘influencers’ offer a new form of advertising that allows it to target specific segments of the public in the hope of attracting members. This can be significantly more cost effective than magazine, radio, TV advertising.

The data available allows companies to identify their chosen segments to target and make sure the message reaches those.

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I am not sure what an “influencer” is, but did it ever occur to anyone else here that we are all part of the TWS social media strategy?

Collectively the net result is that we are promoting TWS, and to an extent we are benefiting ourselves too. One explicit example is that some of us were invited to press tastings and asked to report our views. But it also works in more subtle ways.

I am not saying it is all a sinister plot. It’s just that a bit more self-awareness might be a good thing. Social media is not “out there” - we are part of it.


This is what I don’t get. All wine reviews are freebies.

Be it the bottle to Jancis Robinson or the Times Wine critic. They don’t pay for any of the bottles they, hopefully, end up promoting.

Now, perhaps that is not the way it should be but it is certainly not a new concept.


Certainly many are, but not all.

I pay for the vast majority of the wines I write about, and actually prefer it that way. There you are - subtle self-promotion :wink:


For sure. I have no idea of the numbers but I have no doubt that the creation of this forum was definitely a canny move for the business.


I think it’s more nuanced than that. I feel we can count on critics like Jancis to only review wines she likes and would recommend. I guess the others just don’t get a mention rather than a bad review.

Personally I have the most respect for critics like Jay Rayner who always pay the bill, book under a false name and return freebies he may receive if the staff clock him.

Lot’s of Instagram in my city who think being fed for free in opening week in exchange for a good post makes them the same as him. (not saying the instagrammer who had the set is like this, I don’t know or follow her or care about flesh but I am disappointed in TWS for skirting around the fact it was free for as long as they could get away with and that it wasn’t disclosed)

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Plenty of influencers on this forum. Constantly influencing me to buy more wine…