Influencer Marketing: Give ‘Em Something to Talk About

People tend to trust the recommendations of people over a commercial or marketing message from a brand. Don’t believe this? When you purchase anything online, how important are user reviews to you? At the very least, you skim them, look over the star ratings, check out the lower reviews to see if they seem credible.

Amazon was recently hit by a scandal where employees were accepting bribes to delete negative reviews. Other employees took money and, in return, gave companies the personal email addresses of people who had written negative reviews, so they could be persuaded to change them (these companies would usually offer the reviewers free or discounted products).

This practice, which Amazon is working to quash, showcases the importance of online reviews and the lengths that companies will go to maintain a high ranking. It highlights the power that we give to other people’s “unbiased” opinion.

Think of influencer marketing as an online review that carries even more weight. An influencer conveys your brand’s message to a wide audience of viewers – viewers that the influencer has worked hard to earn their trust.

But, once you’ve begun an influencer campaign, you have to give them something to discuss. This is where your live events and experiential activations become increasingly important.

 

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Photo Credit: Philly Voice

 Growth of Influencer Marketing

According to a recent survey from Influencer Marketing Hub, influencer marketing was the fastest growing online customer acquisition method at 28 percent, topping organic search (15 percent), email (13 percent), and paid search (11 percent). At the time of the survey, 37 percent of the marketers surveyed had a dedicated influencer marketing budget. Yet, that number is likely to increase because 67 percent of marketers expected their influencer marketing budget to rise while only 4 percent thought it would decrease (16 percent were unsure, and 13 percent anticipated no changes).

Another survey, this one by Tomson, found that the average return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent on influencer marketing is $6.50. They also found that more than half of all marketers believe that utilizing influencers attracts a higher quality of customer to their business. This is because the influencer fuels the interest of potential consumers, essentially “priming” them for engagement with your company.

All in all, 84 percent of marketers feel that influencer marketing is effective.

 Who Is the Ideal Influencer?

An influencer is anyone with a specialized niche that makes him or her an expert in a particular area. Originally, the focus of influencer marketing was geared toward mega influencers: celebrities, models, and people who were famous for being famous (those with a following between 501,000 and 1.5 million). Lately, however, the tide has turned away from these big fish.

According to research conducted by software and data insights company Launchmetrics, a person’s follower count is the least important aspect when deciding to work with an influencer.

The study found that micro influencers – those with a following of 10,000 to 100,000 – are actually the most effective partners. Next are macro influencers, who are people with an audience that ranges from 101,000 to 500,000.

Working with a micro-influencer is essentially the same as targeted marketing. It gets your message in front of an audience that is actively engaged in your area of expertise and interested in what your brand has to say. Plus, micro influencers have worked for their audience, which gives them the perception of being more authentic than mega influencers. And, because followers trust the content that is distributed by a micro influencer, your message has more of an impact.

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Photo Credit: Builtvisible

 Live Events and Influencers – A Perfect Match

With so many brands utilizing influencers, how can you make sure your content rises to the top. One way is to combine influencers with your live events and activations, especially ones that are full of activities and photo opportunities. Suddenly, a local event for a few thousand can become a global event for millions of online participants.

This combination ensures that your influencers have amazing content to share and more people are able to experience your activations. By creating innovative, engaging, and eye-catching activations, you are giving influencers the story to tell. Live events have always been about creating engaging experiences that bring brands and their consumers closer. Now, thanks to technology, it is easier than ever to share these experiences.

Take, for example, HBO’s 2018 South by Southwest activation to promote season two of Westworld. Attendees were transported, thanks to a collaboration with Lyft, to a recreation of the western world from the show known as “Westworld: Life Without Limits.”

The replica was stocked with actors each playing a part that felt as if it could have walked off the screen. In fact, 444 pages of scripts were written for the 60 actors, six stunt people, and five bands (and six horses) playing the roles. Guests could interact with the characters, get a shave from a barber using a straight razor, go to the post office and pick up a letter personalized for them, and collect numbers spread throughout the park that opened up a hidden room with a surprise from the upcoming second season.

While the number of people who actually got to experience this event in person was extremely limited (people had to sign up in advance and the park was a 20-minute trip from the SXSW fest), this activation wasn’t just for them. Thanks to a fair number of influencers who attended, this event was heavily covered and live streamed.

In fact, the rise of live streaming technology may be one of the best things to happen to influencer marketing – especially when it is merged with live activations. An influencer performing a live streamed walkthrough of an event carries an air of unpredictability and excitement. The possibility for an impromptu interview or other unexpected occurrence is always around the corner.

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Photo Credit: Arab News

And audiences are more engaged when content is streamed live. People watch videos on Facebook Live three times longer than they watch a pre-recorded video. Viewers respond to the off-the-cuff and authenticity of live streamed video.

Plus, live streaming is a very cost-effective way to add video to your marketing efforts. No one expects for a live streamed video to look polished. In fact, when mistakes or unexpected events do happen, they are welcome occurrences as opposed to something that needs to be edited out. 

Influencer activity also makes it easier than ever to quantify ROI for live events. In the past, an event like “Westworld: Life Without Limits” would have been measured in earned media and/or foot traffic. While those are still valuable, they can now be combined with social media impressions, a digital metric that is extremely easy to calculate.

Combining influencer marketing with live events is a natural arrangement. Your event will bring your brand closer to your audience, while the influencer will bring your event to a wider audience than was possible in the past. But you have to give them something to promote – photo ops and activities are a must if you want word to spread.

For more tips for creating an influencer-worthy live activation, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.

sofia krsmanovic