How to Strengthen Your Events Strategy with Influencers
Events play a critical role for many organizations as a means to build brand awareness, establish thought leadership, educate customers and investors, and drive sales leads. Whether it’s a product launch, marketing webinar, investor day, or other company initiative, communications professionals are increasingly looking for ways to drive more success from their events strategy.
Many already use a mix of tactics and channels to promote their events―email to their customer and prospect base, paid media and social advertising, press release distribution, outreach to journalists and analysts, and other proactive efforts.
What about social influencers? Where do they fit into your events marketing strategy?
For many communications professionals, the word “influencers” likely conjures up mixed reactions: “Influencers are only for PR campaigns and B2C brands…Only big-budget teams can afford an influencer marketing platform…Influencers are not relevant to investor relations.”
These views can be short-sighted―influencers can play a role for any company. They can help amplify your content within their communities and evangelize your products with positive recommendations. Influencers can also drive trust in your brand, which is increasingly important when 88% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know.
Influencers have the potential of becoming your greatest brand ambassadors. By ignoring them as part of your communications strategy, you might be missing opportunities to boost your brand’s exposure, promote executive thought leadership, drive event attendance, and increase attention from customers and new audiences.
Let me give you an example:
Your company is announcing a major product enhancement. Your customer marketing and social media plans are underway, you’re developing an outreach list of key journalists, and you’ll distribute a press release targeting industry media. All efforts are focused on driving attendance for your live streamed event.
- Before your event: Research relevant influencers in your industry. Understand the opinion-leaders and subject-matter experts who talk about your company and your products, and what they like about your brand (or don’t). An influencer marketing platform can provide you with a wealth of information―detailed profiles to understand the depth and breadth of an individual’s influence; their recent posts and social activity, areas of interest and expertise; reach by social network; and more. A good influencer marketing platform will also give you insight on the social footprint of your influencer i.e. who is influenced this influencer and as importantly who influences this influencer.
- After your event: Share your news and your on-demand event with your influencers. Provide them with information that will interest and educate them, and that they will want to share with their community. Start to develop relationships based on common interest and shared experience, and establish yourself as an industry leader. Influencer marketing is not one and done but rather an efficient way of cultivating these relationships for the long term.
This strategy is not just relevant for product announcements―a similar approach to influencer engagement can be appropriate for your investor relations webcast or annual general meeting, executive announcement, or upcoming marketing webinar.
If you’re new to working with influencers, here are 3 best-practice tips:
- Do your research: To effectively build an influencer relationship, show that you know what’s important to your influencer, make sure your brand or product is relevant to him or her, and personally tailor your approach to his or her interests. Like any good outreach strategy, make sure you understand who you’re talking to, and why. Don’t just barge in and push your content to them. Engage with them on their channel using a voice they will understand.
- Look for quality, not quantity: It can be tempting to look for people who have the biggest, broadest reach across social networks. But the size of someone’s network doesn’t necessarily correlate to the extent of their influence, or how engaged their community is. You want to uncover the relevant people leading conversations and shaping opinions about your company or brand, even if those influencers are leading smaller social groups.
- Don’t blast; build relationships: There’s no substitute for good relationships to drive loyalty and advocacy. Just like with journalists and analysts, engaging with influencers takes time and attention, and trust plays a critical role. And when it comes to outreach, don’t just pull together a list of influencers and send them your press release or webinar invitation―take the time to personalize and contextualize your outreach, and engage your influencers through their preferred channel, whether it’s Twitter, their blog, LinkedIn or other.
Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept. Getting the right people excited, engaged, and talking about your brand has always been one of the best ways to improve brand recognition, expand your customer base, and ultimately drive more sales. The ability it gives you to tap into a network trusted by consumers, turn fans into advocates, and generate both insights and leads makes it a necessary part of any marketing plan.
If influencer marketing isn’t already part of your game plan, it should be.
Learn more about influencer marketing by contacting our team via email.