When Justin Moran and Richie Vandenberg founded The Hidden Sea three years ago, they could not be farther from a traditional winemaking background. Moran was an entrepreneur; Vandenberg was a professional Australian Rules Football player.
“We knew nothing about the wine industry,” Moran said. “Now our wine business is one of the largest out of Australia.”
In March, the brand launched its products in New York, where they can be found at restaurants and bars. Insofar as the brand has a digital strategy, it revolves around storytelling, particularly on Instagram.
“For us, Instagram is the most powerful platform. You communicate the message in a really quick time frame,” Moran said. “A picture tells a thousand words.”
Focusing on Instagram looks to be a shrewd choice: it boasts the highest interaction rates of any social platform, according to L2’s Social Platforms report. In part, that is because the platform lends itself to visual storytelling. Rather than writing lengthy paragraphs describing the history of South Australia’s Limestone Coast, the winery can allude to those centuries of geological change with a few potent images.
Yet brands have struggled to translate this engagement into direct sales. Instagram accounts for just 0.2% of traffic to brand sites from social platforms, while Facebook provides 44%, according to L2’s study.
For Moran, however, platforms like Instagram are more about communicating a narrative than selling products.
“No one cares how great you think the brand is,” he said. “You have to establish a connection, and that connection comes from stories.”