Why I upped my Instagram game

When quarantine hit and various publications cut back on hiring freelance writers and the number of pieces they commissioned, I needed to switch gears fast. I had wine samples from wineries that I wanted to talk about, and two places to get eyeballs on them - here on this site and on my Instagram page.

I chose to focus on Instagram, and I've been pleased with the engagement that's grown on my page. I've naturally added a few hundred followers. Most posts get several comments. And, I'm definitely posting more frequently.

I don't write about every wine I receive. I have a sample policy that I lay out clearly on the Work with Me page of Wine & Wonder. I make it clear I accept samples for editorial consideration, and I never promise to write anything. I do not accept payment from a winery, a PR company or any other entity that sends the wine. (If that ever changes in the future, it would be in the form of a sponsored post, and I would make it clear that the post is sponsored.)

How do I choose which wines I post in IG, or write about them in an article? That information is in my sample policy, too.

I will consider writing about the product - in a single post or in a roundup post - if it’s something I enjoyed drinking. I will not write about products that are not to my taste. I don’t think it’s right to say something negative about a product because I don’t enjoy it.

For me, the deciding factor in writing about a wine on IG is this: Would I drink this wine again? If my answer is yes, it's IG worthy. Not every wine I write about on IG is a sample, though. Sometimes, the wines on the social media site are ones I purchased myself or had at a friends home.

You can tell which wines are samples by looking for the hashtag #sample in the post. I've recently taken to posting most of my hashtags in the first comment instead of in the actual post, but I'll put the word #sample at the end of the actual post all by itself - not buried in the other hashtags. I want to be as transparent as possible.

Starting this week, I'm changing gears a bit again. I'll be writing longer posts about some wines (and once in a while other alcoholic beverages) here on Wine & Wonder AND doing a corresponding IG post. There will still be stand alone IG posts of wine, but I want to be able to delve deeper into the stories of some of the wines.

I'm @rshreeves on Instagram. If you aren't following me already, I'd love for you to do so.

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