Just in time for #SMMW15, whether you're participating, attending or listening from home, we have an influencer strategy for you. From engaging in conversation, to connecting with new communities, to promoting registrations, influencers can help your event strategy in many ways. By working with influencers you can create more lasting value with your in-person events, and cultivate relationships to reach new audiences, even from afar.
The first step to any successful influencer marketing program is to set goals. It goes without saying that your marketing program goals should support your overall business goals in a measurable way. However, identifying those goals and metrics can easily be overlooked in the early stages of an influencer program. Address this topic first, but rather than searching for the ways others have measured influencer marketing, ask key questions about your business:
- Who are our influencers?
- How do we engage with them now?
- How do we want to engage with them?
- What impact will these relationships have on our business?
Then determine the secondary goals for your event project specifically.
Once you have identified your goals (which may be long term or campaign-specific), the first step to quantifying results is to establish a baseline. This baseline is the measure against which you will assess performance. Then you can get started on an event strategy with influencers.
Influencer Marketing Strategies and Ideas for Events
Promoting an event
The first way to involve influencers in your event strategy is for event promotion to drive awareness.
90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, and only 33% of consumers trust ads. Suffice it to say, influencers are an invaluable resource for building trust, and thus increasing leads - in this case, event registrations. To create or raise awareness, you need to discover who has the greatest ability to support your messages and relay your news to the right audience.
- Use event themes and conference tracks to determine groups of keywords that will be relevant to your attendees. This first key step will help you find relevant influencers.
- Influence is inherently authentic, contextual and, in many cases, geographical. Keep your themes and keywords in mind, and also consider geo-targeting your search to find influencers near the event venue.
- Now that you’ve found your influencer list, try out a referral program. Offer a discount for their audience or create a referral program to drive registrations - e.g. have influencers help direct them to relevant sessions based on their specific audiences’ interests.
Here’s an example for you. For Content Marketing World 2014, Lee Odden used Traackr to fuel a content marketing/influencer strategy that promoted the event and increased registration.
We always recommend building a long-term program for growing influencer relationships, and when it comes to event promotion, that’s no different. Remember that the time to call on an influencer is not the week before your event. Carefully develop authentic relationships over time, then you can begin a plan to create influencer content that will help promote your event. Have you already built your relationships? Looking for an example of content outreach? Here’s how Lee did it:
Attending an event
To maximize your return on attending an event, consider reaching out to some influencers while you are there. This can serve a few relationship-building purposes. Firstly, events provide a unique opportunity to connect face-to-face with influencers you’d normally only engage with online.
Secondly, you can use this event opportunity to take your relationships to the next level - it could be by solidifying partnerships, making meaningful introductions, or creating content from your conversations (check out my SXSW example), among many other tactics. Here’s how to do it:
- Start as early as possible! This will give you an opportunity to build relationships first. For events, it often depends on when the conversation starts, because you’ll find attendees through hashtag listening.
- Create a list of influencers attending the event - I usually start with the list of speakers. Then listen and engage when the opportunity arrises. A goal metric for me, and a hugely valuable outcome, is to get an influencer shout-out during a session. You can achieve that by building relationships, showing value and helping influencers solve problems.
- Identify any influencers with whom you already have relationships, and make note. You can invite these influential friends to a private get-together, grab a coffee meeting with a few to introduce a new community, or now you can even host a Meerkast live interview right from the event with them!
- Identify influencers with whom you want to build relationships. Find out if they’re speaking, listen for opportunities to reach out during the event, and be bold - ask them to meet up to chat about the event, something they spoke about, or an interview for your blog.
Listening to an event
This year some of our team members are attending Social Media Marketing World - But I’ll be listening from home. One of my first steps to listening was creating a list of influencers speaking at the event (our team members attending #SMMW15 are also using this project). Creating this project within Traackr makes things easier, since we can collaborate within the platform.
Once you have a list, here’s what you can do:
- Listen to influencers using the hashtag and relevant keywords. You can gather lots of insights just from listening that can be useful across your marketing strategies.
- Create content from the event. Your influencers are always a great resource for creating content. Work with any team members who are present at the event to take pictures with influencers, get video footage, and collect any live content that can be repurposed. Listen to your influencers for quotes and content inspiration (here’s an example). Creating content around an event is a great way to jump into the conversation and reach new communities, even from afar.
- Just because you’re not there, doesn’t mean you can’t facilitate introductions. Introducing like-minded individuals or helping spark a potential business opportunity is a great way to provide value for your influencers and build stronger relationships.
- RT, reply, follow and engage. Your influencers will be sharing lots of knowledge during events, especially if they are speaking. Use this opportunity to engage and widen their reach by RTing, adding your POV, and joining conversations.
There are so many more ways to practice influencer marketing during an event, and this is just a few ideas to start with. You can involve your influential audience at the planning phase, during promotion, at the event and post-event.
If you’re interested in the influencers at #SMMW15, Social Media Examiner shared the speaker list on Twitter!