Traversing the minefield of influence: helping the beverage industry spot the fakes and optimise their online spend

In 2019, the number of social media users worldwide tipped 3.5 billion. Social media penetration rate reached a global average of 45%, with some Western nations reaching as high as 92%. Alongside this explosion in social media use has come a remarkable growth in influencer marketing, the industry is on track to be worth $15 billion by 2022. But all is not well. Studies suggest fake social media influencers will cost companies $1.3 billion in 2019. If brands as big as the Ritz Carlton and L’Occitane have been duped, what hope do individuals and organisations, large or small, in the beverage industry stand? Well, hopefully I can help …

Influence, it ain’t all bad.

Since our migration from the plains of Africa, humans have influenced one another. The unprecedented growth of the internet has drastically amplified the reach of this influence, so much so that monetising one's influence is now a sought-after occupation. But the associated title (Influencer) is loaded, overflowing with negative connotations. In the wine industry, individuals are haphazard labelled influencers, and their work, in turn, stripped of credibility. This is a HUGE mistake. Non-established new-age influence (when done properly) can, and does, work in harmony with established professional content to fill strategic voids. I think it is time that we drew some battle lines and recognised the roles we all have to play in this ever-changing industry.