Effective Influencer Strategies
There has been a subconscious shift in the way consumers purchase products and services. Gone are the days where a generic print ad across various mediums was enough to seal the deal. We’ve moved to a market where the perceived value is based on much more than what is on the surface. Call it the “millennial mindset” if you will, but it has very little to do with demographics at all. Millennials and Gen Zer’s are driving the demand for value-driven purchases rather than brand loyalty. As the appeal and success of meetings and events increase, so do the number of events being offered. So how do our audiences determine the value of an event (thus justifying their attendance)?
The answer to that question is mostly social media or simply word of mouth. What is more important, however, is the who?
Influencer marketing is nothing new but its significance has never been more important. A common practice of influencer marketing in the past relied on celebrity spokespeople, but just like any marketing practice, this has been reevaluated. Celebrities often aren’t relatable and their followers are a vast mix of people with few commonalities.
We’ve discussed best practices for identifying influencers for your event previously. And yet, in a rather short amount of time, we’ve learned quite a bit more information on how influencer marketing for events works.
The New Do’s and Don’ts
DO: follow federal regulations and guidelines.
First and foremost, remember that this is a marketing tactic. There are rules and regulations that the FTC has in place to ensure that “truth-in-advertising” remains and with the increasing popularity of this marketing method, it’s a good idea to understand the in’s and out’s before pushing forward.
Business2Community recently published a fantastic Q & A resource and webinar that discusses FTC compliance as it relates to social media and influencer marketing. Any event professional that is considering an influencer strategy should do their due diligence and check these out.
DON’T: ignore micro-influencers.
I assure you that “micro-influencers” are anything but micro. Though their following may be smaller than those we’d traditionally seek to promote a brand, their numbers mean more. Markerly found an interesting trend when looking at engagement rates on Instagram: “as an influencer’s number of followers increases, their number of likes and comments from followers decreases.”
The audiences that follow micro-influencers are typically hyper-focused on a vertical and have like-minded interests. They’re authentic, which correlates with the “millennial mindset” we referenced earlier. We’ve seen similar trends when we look at other advertising methods (like PPC) as well. Though we are targeting a smaller group, they’re much more likely to follow or participate because the information is more relevant. It’s important to focus on influencers that have meaningful engagements with their followers and those that match the values and messaging of your show.
DON’T: impede on their persona.
Influencer marketing is incredibly unique. There is often a challenge when it comes to balancing an influencer’s authenticity with your brand messaging. Many brands find it difficult to let go of full control of media regarding their brand, however, you cannot dictate how and when influencers post. That removes the legitimacy of the post. It is worse for a brand to come off as inauthentic than it would be for them to not have an influencer impact at all.
Of course, it’s more than understandable to provide basic guidelines for your influencers to follow. But, it’s essential to treat influencers as creative professionals and content curators; they’ve gained their following because of who they are, don’t try to change that.
DO: get influencers involved early!
Recognizing and approaching the most appropriate influencers for your event isn’t something that happens overnight. You have to be proactive in monitoring their activities and the conversations that they’re having within your space long before you approach them. It’s that generic and organic interest in your event that makes them well-suited to represent your brand in the first place. Once you’ve recognized their interest, getting their input early on in the planning process creates a true partnership with understanding and a sense of mutual advocacy.
REMEMBER: influencers are part of a greater holistic marketing strategy.
There are many stages and touch points along the journey to your event. Influencers are an outlet for you to gain credibility in the value that you present and your ability to deliver on those promises.