Dear influencers: Please stop asking my winery clients to “Collab”

It’s a DM I receive on my clients’ social media posts again and again:

“Hey! Your winery is awesome. I’m an influencer. Let’s collab!”

Rarely is info about what they have in mind, or how they define “collab” ever included, mind you.

Is this how you as a content creator approach brands like wineries for partnerships? If so, I’m begging you to stop.

Or rather, not stop, but please, change your tack.

And before I explain what I mean, I do want to note, that there are PLENTY of seasoned Instagrammers out there who know exactly what I’m about to recommend. Thank goodness for you – you keep me sane as a social media manager for multiple clients.

That said, given how regularly I receive extremely vague “requests” from Instagrammers of all follower levels, the following advice still needs to be shared…

Tip for influencers approaching wine brands for partnerships #1: Be specific

I can’t tell you how much I now despise the non-word “collab.” (As in, short for collaboration, because even the specificity of using the entire word is apparently too much?)

What do you mean when you DM my clients that? Are you asking for free stuff in exchange for posting about us? Are you asking to visit us for a complimentary experience and post about it on your feed? Are you asking to work with our winery on a partnered event? Are you looking for a sponsor? BE SPECIFIC!

If I have to ask you in my response what you mean when you DM us about a “collab” I am already frustrated and less likely to recommend moving forward with it to my clients’ powers that be.

Tip for influencers approaching wine brands for partnerships #2: Share past successes

Here’s what I and my clients are wondering as soon as we receive a request to partner with an influencer: how can we know that this will be successful for us? Does this person achieve the results they imply that they do with their large follower count? Are their followers real people who pay attention to what they post, or are a huge chunk of them disengaged, or bots? Have they done past partnerships that were successful? What did success look like? Did they drive a lot of web traffic, or significantly increase their past partners’ followers?

When I plan influencer campaigns for my winery clients, I need to know these things in order to justify them to my managers. The more upfront you can be about providing this information, the more excited I am to work with you.

In my past side work as a breakfast food blogger on @meags_eggs, I maintained a constantly updated media kit that I would share with brands I pitched working with, including information on who my audience was, how I had worked with other brands in the past, and the benefits working with me had provided them. I recommend other influencers do the same!

Tip for influencers approaching wine brands for partnerships #3: Be businesslike

When you approach a brand like my winery clients to work together, you’re proposing a business agreement. Therefore, it’s important that you treat your influencer work like a business.

I know that when a lot of bloggers start out, they don’t yet have a separate email account for their influencer work, or if they do, they might not have set up a professional looking email signature for it yet. Sometimes they don’t have any contact information on their Instagrams yet, since they’re new to the “collab” game. This used to be me, so I get it.

Here’s some advice for standing out, and giving yourself a leg up when I forward your email to my manager for us to determine if we want to work with you: be businesslike with your online presence!

You want brands to reach out to you? Make it as easy as possible to do so by including contact info on your Instagram profile. Planning to cold-email a brand about a partnership idea? Take a few minutes to set up a professional email signature before pressing send. Websites like Canva can help you make a nice looking logo for yourself to include in the signature in minutes. And like I advised above, design a media kit for yourself. If you can, use something other than your personal Gmail to conduct business – even just a separate free Gmail account will do. (Though, if you have the money for a .com website domain and G Suite email to be attached to it, it sure does look professional to send emails from yourname@yourbiznamehere.com)

That concludes my “collab” vent for today – can you or your business relate? Got something to add? Comment below, use my contact page, or get in touch on the ‘gram!


Meaghan Webster is a wine and food photographer, marketing consultant, and results-based social media manager for wineries in Washington, DC, Virginia, and New York. Learn more about her services at meaghanwebster.com or see her latest work and tips at instagram.com/meaghanwmarketing.

In addition to managing social media and taking photos for clients, Meaghan is also available to host classes, lessons, and one-on-one workshops on social media best practices for brands. Interested in booking a workshop or class? Get in touch here!

One thought on “Dear influencers: Please stop asking my winery clients to “Collab”

  1. Robin Little says:

    Well said Meaghan!! Another mistake that bloggers make is writing about a winery using lots of verbs and adjectives. But in the end they do not tell you how to get there. It is the world wide web, so if I am reading about a winery in Amador, CA and I live in VA you need to add a link to make it bookable. Link a booking engine about how to book my flights, hotel, car and wine tastings as I may want to visit the winery too. It is known as a Call to Action. Sincerely, Robin. http://www.WineFlightsInSacramento.com

    Liked by 1 person

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