Bloggers are micro-niche alpha consumers. ” WTF?” you say? Bloggers are a gold mine not just for reviews for a product but also for access, resources, information and possibly discounts, specials, events, connections and more.
Let’s start at the beginning: micro-niche? Take wine bloggers, for example; there are hundreds of wine bloggers world wide that each have particular strengths or focus. If you like pinot noir there are blogs for that micro-niche, do you like the Central Coast of California wine country? Looking for something more international? Perhaps Spanish or Portuguese? There are bloggers for most wine passions out there. (Right now you’re reading a blog specializing in wine marketing and social networking.) Ok, so now you get the idea for micro-niche. For me it points to a depth of field, experience as well as infinite fun, experimentation, and exploration.
Next, the alpha consumer: It is defined in Neologisims as “one who starts a trend or picks it up very early, often long before the rest of the population, usu. used as a predictor of economic trends“. I’ll apply it slightly differently to the wine blogging world because the timing on wine is different than say, new electronics. Bloggers are the alpha wine consumers because:
- they taste a LOT of wines
- they talk…a LOT
- they write frequently, posting publically and have hundreds of thousands if not millions of readers
Essentially I’m suggesting that wine bloggers’ influence can support or direct wine buying trends. And now that there are social meduims on line like Twitter Taste Live, the Open Wine Consortium and Wine 2.0 where these conversations between bloggers and consumers are aggregated and duplicated in addition to their individual blog posts, I believe their influence will only grow. For the wine world and especially for consumers, I think that’s fantastic because bloggers are knowledgeable, passionate wine geeks sharing their wine experience. They go through a lot of bad wine and less than hospitable wineries to tell you about the great ones. Nothing beats sitting around with friends experimenting with a tasty flight of new wines and then telling the world about it. After that, I’m looking to convert casual wine tasters into passionate wineophiles.
It’s the kind of person to person connecting that brings meaning to the experience. Anyone that thinks you’re selling them something will just go away, turned off. Brand development is taking a 180 degree turn-about. Gary Vaynerchuk says “give a shit about your community.” Marta Kagen who created the What the F**K is Social Media slide share presentation reported that 78% of people trust the recommendations of other consumers. (Compared to the 14% who trust advertising claims. Both from the Nielsen “Trust in Advertising Report) Who do you trust?
I’ve said it before: Find the wine blogs right for you, then subscribe. But don’t just stop there. Share what you find. Make connections, leave a comment, share a post with a friend, send the link to your dad. It will feed the next time you are together sharing a bottle of wine, whether you’re talking about the USC Trojans’ latest victory or discussing the finer points of terrior, and US vineyard soil vs. France’s Bordeaux region. US wine markets are just coming into their own as Americans embrace wine into daily life. Better yet, information and social connectivity has never been so hi-tech, easy and accessible online. Blogs provide the centralizing content that connects what we’re passionate about with each other.
Special thanks to Shana Ray for the photo.