By Scott Cullather, CEO, INVNT
In a world where attention spans are short and consumers are more critical of brands than ever, traditional marketers are increasingly embracing our craft. They recognise the value live events can bring to the table from an engagement and authenticity perspective, and of late, the same can be said for social media influencers.
Various reports have highlighted the rise and value of influencer marketing, such as Linqia’s The State of Influencer Marketing 2018, which uncovered that 92% of marketers who incorporated the tactic into their overall strategies in 2017 found it to be effective, meanwhile Business Insider’s Influencer Marketing (2018) predicts marketers will spend between $5B and $10B on it by 2022.
So, why influencers?
We know that social media can be used to extend an event’s reach exponentially. It enables brands and organisations to develop meaningful connections with a much wider audience via their own channels, and attendees can take to the platform to curate an event and share it with their networks. In doing so they become citizen journalists and elevate their social currency, plus the activity gives those not in the room the chance to see what’s happening for themselves.
Another effective way to amplify events is through content that is published by influencers. According to Business Insider’s Influencer Marketing (2018) report, the average influencer engagement rate is 5.7%, meanwhile it’s between 2% and 3% for brands. Consumers tend to trust influencers more than brands because of their shared interests and passions, and they come across as more trustworthy and authentic.
Leveraging the influencer phenomenon
There are a number of things to consider when it comes to working with influencers to promote an event:
- Conduct the right research. Search hashtags that are relevant to your business or industry, engage in industry specific online forums, and ask colleagues and customers about the influencers they are familiar with. Contact your shortlist directly and request their media kit – a resource that will allow you to see how effectively they’ve boosted events or campaigns in the past.
- Ensure the influencers are legitimate.Take a deep dive into their social profiles. Many aspiring influencers pay for followers (this tends to be easy to determine, as their follower numbers will be much higher than the level of engagement they receive on their posts), for example, so take a look at the types of accounts that follow them. If the followers are not relevant to the influencer’s subject matter or linked to real people, chances are they are not are prominent as they’d like us to think.
- Be honest with your audience. There’s been a lot of controversy around influencer transparency – particularly when it comes to events – of late. Devise a strategy that ensures influencers publicise the fact that they are being paid to promote your event. Brief them on your preferred approach and formalise it by writing it into your contract. It could be that they incorporate the ‘paid partnership’ option into every post, or use a hashtag such as #sponsored or #promotedpost so that consumers are aware of the commercial relationship in place.
- Aim for authenticity. It’simportant that the influencers you work with support your strategy and believe in what your event stands for, but aim to avoid dictating the content of their posts completely. Brief the influencer on the unique, potentially ‘insta-worthy’ features of your event, for example, but allow them to maintain their own unique style and tone – it’s what gained them their following after all.
- Assess the data. Once your event is over, take a look back at the social stats to determine the effectiveness of the influencer approach. Look at your own figures and those of the influencer’s, and consider how they fared from an engagement perspective – this will enable you to determine whether it’s worth leveraging the tactic again.
Thanks to the rise of tech, we’re now able to simultaneously exist in our real and virtual worlds. While the influencer approach won’t necessarily work for every live audience, when you conduct the right research and allow the influencer to maintain their impartiality, it can no doubt prove beneficial for your event and brand overall.
INVNT CEO, Scott Cullather is a recognised industry leader who has worked within the sector for over 25 years, leading teams to deliver B2C and B2B events for renowned brands across 40 countries. Under his leadership the now decade old business continues to experience exceptionally strong, sustainable and balanced growth.