The Key to Influencer Marketing: Winning the Heart and Minds of Influencers
Social media provides so many opportunities for a brand to reach out to its supporters, respond to comments, and answer questions. Used properly, social media allows brands to engage in a true conversation with the consumers who like and share a brand’s content in addition to its products and services. It also makes it easy to locate any mentions a brand’s products and services in posts and begin an engagement with those users.
This is the basis of social marketing, and it’s a great way to nurture a brand’s champions. The issue with the style of marketing arises when you want to reach beyond this insular group. Most social media users do not have a follower count that is large enough to make much of an impact. So, while this engagement is effective on an individual level, it is largely occurring in a vacuum.
Influencer marketing solves this issue. It lets you use all the skills you’ve developed in your social marketing efforts and basically combines them with the time-honored concept of a celebrity endorsement – and it can have a big impact on your event marketing.
Why Use Influencers
People tend to trust the recommendations of people more than the marketing messages they receive from brands. Think about it like this: if you need to convince a stranger that you’re a trustworthy person, would you rather have to approach them to tell them how awesome you are, or would you rather have a friend vouch for you?
That’s what an influencer is, someone who personally validates your brand to other people – on a large scale. Plus, when you work with an influencer, you are not only communicating to their audience, you are sending your message to their audience’s audience. And then that audience has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media presence, and perhaps increase your sales all due to them sharing their experiences with your brand.
Influencers give consumers an opinion from a source they trust. It is one of the most effective ways to reach new customers. Not only will influencers create content about your brand, they also promote your brand to their following and make sure that can inject themselves into the conversation whenever your brand is concerned. This can have a huge impact on the positive representation of your brand and how it is perceived in comparison to your competition.
Photo Credit: CNBC Arabia
How to Launch an Influencer Campaign
The first step in any influencer marketing campaign is to create content that appeals to the influencers. It may seem counterintuitive to start so small, but by generating interest from this specific group, they will help expand your reach. Since you have an understanding of the influencers you are trying to reach, their likes, dislikes, etc., start your campaign by marketing directly to these influential people. If you have specific people in mind, comment and engage with them on social media. While their following may be the ultimate goal, you can’t have that until you have the influencer’s interest first.
So, who are these influencers? For B2B events they are people with substantial buying power, retail stores’ merchandise teams, event professionals, manufacturing facilities’ engineering teams, etc. – basically any individual or team that is in a position to influence others through their actions.
For B2C events, you want to track down the “taste makers” – the people who consistently share their event experiences over social media and other channels and seem to be at the forefront of all new trends. These folks are especially good at generating FOMO (fear of missing out), a key aspect to sustaining interest in any limited-time engagement.
If you need help locating potential influencers, your customers and clients can be a great resource. They will likely have people within the industry that they follow. Industry associations will also be able to connect you to board members. In addition, trade magazines and articles are a great resource. Browse these periodicals to see who is being prominently featured and frequently quoted.
Obviously, you will want to research their online profile, but be aware that some accounts use “bots” to increase their follower count.
Photo Credit: NewsCred Insights
Benefits of an Influencer Campaign
You get something from an influencer that is difficult to come by through other, more traditional marketing efforts: authenticity. Which is also why it can be a little unnerving to work with an influencer.
Influencers have spent a great deal of time building their audience and reputation. They value the brand they have built and are protective of their autonomy, which means the message they deliver can’t be crafted by you or your marketing team (attempts to do so are usually pretty obvious, anyway). You have to let influencers tell your story in their way. It’s more authentic and will resonate better with the influencer’s trusting audience.
You can gauge the effectiveness of your campaign by using software to track where your registrations come from. You will be able to specifically target exactly how many sign ups accounted to which specific person. This will add a level of validity and accountability to your influencer efforts.
Remember that many of the decisions people make regarding events is based on the actions of colleagues or clients. Their employers and the C-suite also play a big role in these decisions. If you want to boost registration, an influencer will promote an event he or she is attending to his or her entire list, including colleagues and friends. If you have an interesting speaker attending, this is another element that influencers can spread around.
Pay attention to registration spikes that occur after an influencer’s social media mention of your event. You might notice some unexpected demographics registering for the event. This is because influencers reach people with similar but tangential interests to your brand and event. This means that by reaching out to influencers, you are also likely to uncover previously unknown reservoirs of potential attendees – which could also translate into new exhibitors and sponsors.
Slow and Steady
An influencer campaign will likely not yield earth-shattering results immediately out of the gate. This is a measured campaign that is designed around brand building. It may take a while for that message to resonate and blossom into greater attendance, but, done correctly, it will happen.
For additional help tracking down the right influencers for your market or help setting up the perfect event, give one of our Event Architecture experts a call at 972-323-9433.