Influencer marketing has taken a grip in many industries like F&B, automobile and fashion. We see the likes of Marshawn Lynch and Zoe Sugg rake in fortunes as the brands they work with become more visible. For the events industry, influencer marketing holds much promise. It can lend credibility to the event, bolster its presence amongst primary audience and add to the buzz so that this influence spillovers to your secondary audience by word-of-mouth.
But events come and go. Every few months, event planners plan a different event with a wholly different audience. There is little chance to continuously engage with influencers. However, for those events that will happen again in the future and is limited on budget, influencer marketing may be the most efficient way of reaching out. In order to do so effectively however is not easy.
1. Know your audience
We must first know the audience we are targeting to get the right influencer. Who really is the audience? Where do they lurk? Cast your nets wide initially and test the waters. See which platform gives you the best response. A young audience need not always respond best to Facebook or Twitter. Pinterest may not be the best for selling crafts. Some listing website might be your main source of attendees.
Then, once you know your audience’s preferences and tastes and also where they are usually browsing, you are then in a better position to choose the influencer.
Event planners need to be extra context-sensitive. If it is a local event, go for local influencers as you can achieve more results by focusing on a niche audience rather than spreading yourself too thin.
2. Identify the influencer for your audience
Knowing your audience, what they are usually searching for and where they are lurking can help you establish some search terms or hashtags that are popular amongst the audience. This can be used to find your best influencer.
It’s best to choose influencers who are already fans of the event, event topic your company, or what your company stands for. That way, they can be more authentic. Plus they have already established some credibility in that domain and can transfer that credibility to your event.
Research on how the influencers usually post, what they are comfortable speaking about and their personality types. Are they educators, activists, testers, journalists, etc.? Then you will need to craft your content with them in mind.
3. Engaging the influencer
But more importantly, give the influencer some space when promoting the event. You can nudge them along but don’t cage them as it inhibits authenticity. You could:
-Provide giveaways linked to the event periodically such as tickets, backstage passes and VIP accesses, merchandise linked to event like a book by the speaker
– Meet up with influencer and post a photo with them on social media a week or two before the event to hype event-goers up
– Long before the event, begin producing content related to the event and get your influencer’s endorsement or quotes. They will be more than glad to share content in which they are mentioned as an expert. Just remember to tag them or give them a shoutout when sharing!
– Choose a great theme that audiences will be excited about. This will enable the influencer to engage better with their audience. Well-crafted social media terms (hashtags, an events page) that are easy to remember and catchy will also allow influencers to drive more traffic to your sites.
4. Real-time influence
Get the influencer to the event and give them some airtime so that they can work their magic. List them as a speaker or allow them to have official coverage of your event. Provide an opportunity for them to make an official appearance onstage. Make sure everyone knows that the influencer is actively supporting your event!
Your event also has room for other local influencers so remember to invite them! Live events are a great opportunity for influencers to come face to face with their audience as well as be involved in a larger scale event.
But it’s not just about the influencers working their charm, you should to! Take the chance to further solidify your relations with smaller-scale bloggers by speaking to them face-to-face, as well as giving the influencer the recognition and attention they deserve so that they will want to help you again next time and continue talking about you. It’s a great chance for everyone to come together and connect so network like crazy!
5. Post-event blues
Make sure you capture live content from the event itself to be repurposed later. Get team members to take footage or do a fun photo op with the influencer!
Then, build more content upon the event. This will add to expectations for the event to run again and help to sow the seeds for the next time.
Remember to continue engaging the influencer. With social media, it has never been easier to boast about your relationship with the influencer to the whole world. Retweet, reblog, share, comment and upvote each others’ content. Don’t forget to thank each other after the event as well (another opportunity to authentically mention influencer)!