A variety of industries has adopted influencer marketing with positive results, so it’s not surprising that professionals in the meetings and events sector are considering using this strategy. But how exactly can meetings and events executives get started? In this post, we discuss the power of influencer marketing and share practical insights on how to make it work in the meetings and events industry.
Influencer Marketing: What It Is And What It Isn’t
Some event organisers may be reluctant to mix marketing and influencers. This is often due to the misconception that influencer marketing is about working with celebrities who are followed by millions of people and who have very high booking fees. Another thing that contributes to the reluctance are some high-profile cases where influencer marketing has failed – and in the worst cases, backfired – damaging the credibility of both parties.
These misconceptions take away from the real definition of influencer marketing: a form of digital marketing that involves the collaboration between brands or organisations and people who have an audience of their own in a related or the same field. Influencers are experts in their subject matter and can help consolidate the voice and authority of those they collaborate with. If your goal is to give unprecedented visibility to your day conference or event and present yourself as a thought leader, influencer marketing is a strategy to consider.
Why Influencer Marketing Works
One of the reasons behind the power of digital influencer marketing is that it works as word-of-mouth marketing, which, according to industry experts, is one of the most trusted channels and a critical contributor decision making. As several studies show, consumers are more likely to trust a message coming from an influencer than from a company so that it can be more effective than advertising.
Moreover, influencers are real people who have already attracted an audience due to the image they project. They have already demonstrated their power to build a brand around themselves and connect with an audience at a personal level, so it makes sense for event organisers to leverage that in their favour. The first thing to consider is how to use influencer marketing at events within a compliance framework.
Approaching Influencer Marketing Within A Compliance Framework
Following the growth of influencer marketing, some countries have attempted to regulate the best industry practices officially. The details vary from country to country, as you can see in this overview, but overall there is a requirement for disclosure, transparency, and integrity so that the audience is aware of the influencer – organiser relationship. You can do this via in-post hashtags, videos, or written content. As an event organiser, it would be helpful to be proactive in applying compliance requirements, even if they’re not strictly enforced in your country.
How To Implement Influencer Marketing In The Meetings And Events Industry
Moving into the basics of influencer marketing campaigns, the first thing you need to know is that much of their success revolves around the issue of fit between the influencer and the event. The fit must exist in terms of voice and audience so that the campaign comes across as relatable and genuine. Also, consider how the influencer’s voice and interests match your event objectives. Fit should be the guiding consideration throughout the entire process. The following steps are:
1. Finding Influencers
If you don’t work with marketers agencies or a marketing professional, do research online to identify the influencers that can attract a targeted audience for your event. The easiest way to get started is to identify a few keywords associated with your conference or event and do a search for influencers who rank high for the same keywords. You can do this using social listening tools like the ones listed here.
Also, remember that not all social media platforms draw the same type of audience. The most suitable platforms for events are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but depending on your audience profile, you may want to look for influencers with an active LinkedIn or Snapchat presence.
2. Look For Engagement Metrics
Follower numbers don’t tell the whole story. Some macro-influencers have over 1 million followers, and yet their engagement rate is below 1 per cent, and algorithms only show their content to a small percentage of their audience. When looking at their profiles, check for influencer-audience interactions in the form of comments and shares. After all, influencer marketing it’s about interpersonal connections.
3. Choosing Influencers
Ideally, you should gather a list of 20 or 30 influencers, depending on the size of your event. Narrow it down to 10-15 and contact them directly, specifying why you think they’re a good match for your event. You should expect that the more well-known and the bigger their audience, the less receptive they might be, so maybe a bottom-up approach is best. And remember that you don’t need to limit your choices to a single influencer: choosing more than one means you maximise your chances of getting an excellent influencer-delegate fit.
4. Put Things In Writing
Since you’re entering a business relationship, you need to put all terms and conditions in writing. Be sure to leave room for creativity, so content appears authentic. Some suggestions on what to specify include:
– Inclusions and exclusions (accommodation, event tickets, comp tickets to give away, etc.).
– Guidelines when referring to sponsors.
– Platforms you want or need to use.
– Hashtags to use and to avoid.
– Content schedule.
– Whether you need to review the content before publishing and what’s the review process.
– Engagement metrics to be reported (likes, comments, direct messages, face-to-face interactions, etc.).
5. Experiment With New Formats
Instead of having influencers promote traditional presentations, you could try conversation-oriented formats like fireside chats, which are a useful resource for meeting planners. These are informal chats between two parties, a less intimidating and more relatable version of panel discussions. During a fireside chat, you could have the social influencer acts as a moderator drive the conversation between two speakers.
You can also integrate the influencer’s presence with your content marketing strategy using popular formats like pre-event videos, or having them co-host a webinar or a podcast after the event.
6. Make Influencer Marketing Measurable
Influencer marketing can generate ROI up to 11 per cent higher than other marketing strategies. Quantifying results is getting more comfortable, as there are new channels and tools developed all the time. The most important things you should track are:
– Engagement levels: Is content being liked, shared, and commented on? Does it generate conversations among your audience?
– How many people take action as a result of the influencer marketing campaign? Here, “taking action” would be directly linked to the event goals, whether they are getting new members, generating interest in future events, or finding sponsorship leads.
Influencers have their place in event marketing and industry events since they can boost organic growth and give voice to an event in ways that resonate with your audience. As long as partnerships are built with a focus on genuine advocacy, influencer marketing has a phenomenal ability to reach broad audiences and establish personal connections that drive loyalty,
Get in touch if you’d like to implement influencer marketing at your association marketing, your conference, event, or as a complement to other marketing strategies.