Working with social media influencers is an intriguing prospect for any company or global meeting planner looking to tap into new networks of prospective patrons. As an event host, this can be a great way to expand your marketing strategy. With the right social influencers promoting your event, you and your corporate meeting planner could see significant uptick in interest and sales. Of course, like any promotional strategy, you could also end up spending a lot of money and seeing very little ROI if you don’t have a solid plan in place to ensure successful outcomes.
What can you do to make sure you find the right social influencers for your brand and your event? How can you recruit them and create a message that will speak to their audience? Are you better off cultivating brand ambassadors or simply paying for the services of social media influencers? Here are a few things to consider if you want to properly utilize social media influencers to drive attendance at upcoming events.
The first step to adding social influencers to your marketing and promotional efforts is finding the right people for the job. Says Annie Fernandez, Director of Marketing at American Meetings, “While a Kardashian might be the ideal choice to hawk weight-loss waist cinchers, shiny lip gloss, or gummy vitamins, you’ll probably want to choose a popular influencer in your own wheelhouse when it comes to promoting your upcoming event and boosting interest and attendance.”
How can you and your global meeting planner find these ideal candidates and tap into their audiences of devoted followers? It could start simply enough by searching for popular accounts on social media platforms that fit in your industry, field, or niche.
For example, if you’re hosting a flower convention, look for popular Facebook accounts by individuals that love sharing gardening tips, tricks, and pics with their audience. If you’re in the food industry, seek out accounts that get a lot of attention for their many food-related postings, especially those that match your niche, whether your focus is fast food, organic products, or vegan fare, just for example.
You want to look for three main things when scouring social media for suitable influencers: accounts that are authoritative, high numbers of followers, and frequent posting that is in line with your own industry and ideals (in other words, relevance). This will give you and your corporate meeting planner the best chance to recruit a like-minded influencer to your cause and connect with an audience that already has an interest in what you’re offering. Don’t forget, tools like SocialRank and Scrunch can also help you to pinpoint suitable influencers to connect with.
Once you have a platform in place to connect with new followers via a trusted influencer, you need to make sure the message you deliver has maximum impact and delivers positive results. Naturally, your goal is to encourage the audience to sign up for your upcoming event, but you don’t want to hit them with hard sell.
Keep in mind that your message will be delivered by the influencer, not directly by you, so insisting on specific copy or messaging could be detrimental. You and your global meeting planner may be better off creating a general messaging strategy and then letting the influencer filter and deliver the message in his/her own words, making the final delivery more natural and compelling to a specific audience.
It can be difficult to hand over the reins, especially if you’re paying for social mentions. However, you have to remember that you’re tapping into someone else’s network of followers, and that audience follows, likes, and trusts the influencer – not you. If you want to make the most of this outreach opportunity, you’ll have to place some amount of trust in the influencer to deliver an appropriate message that speaks to his/her audience.
Many social media influencers are happy to hawk any product or service if the price is right, but this isn’t necessarily the route you want to go. It may be easier, but it’s also likely to deliver lukewarm results. What you and your corporate meeting planner should focus on instead is building long-term relationships with social influencers that are picky about who and what they promote.
Invite your top picks to your events (on your dime) to show them what it is you do and endear them to your brand and your events. This way, when they decide to work with you and promote your events to their followers, their messaging will be detailed and genuine, portraying you in the best light and helping you to meet both short-term and long-term goals.