Want to Rev Up Your Event Marketing? Leverage Influencers
In the midst of an increasingly noisy meetings and events marketplace, event marketers are constantly being challenged to get the right people (not to mention the right amount of them) to attend their functions. Savvy pros know that doing so requires a strategic recipe: They’ll need to tightly target their audience, sharply hone their content plan, and seamlessly sync efforts between their organization’s events and digital marketing teams.
But what about Influencer marketing, the practice of leveraging well-known subject matter experts to drive a brand’s messaging to a particular audience? In a world dictated by social media channels and celebrity sound bites, more and more mainstream marketers are looking to influencers to drive home their campaigns, with excellent results. Could event marketers realize the same benefits?
To get answers, we went straight to an expert — and influencer herself — Find Your Influence’s Tami Nealy. Read on for insights into how influencers can impact an event marketing plan of any size and budget, as well as actionable tips on how to get started.
TEAM ATTENDIFY: Hi Tami! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today. For those readers who aren’t familiar with you, tell us a bit about your background in public relations, event planning and the marketing arena.
TAMI NEALY: I’ve been working under the communications/public relations/marketing umbrella for *cough* twenty-one years now! Yikes. I’ve spent time working with professional sports franchises (WNBA, Arena Football League and NASCAR) as well as a handful of technology startups. I thrive in an environment of “controlled chaos,” and that’s really how I view event marketing — a fully-planned chaotic experience!
TEAM ATTENDIFY: Now you’re the Vice President of Communications and Public Relations at Find Your Influence, the nation’s leading influencer marketing firm. Let’s back that up a bit…what exactly is influencer marketing, and why is it important in today’s overall marketing landscape?
TAMI NEALY: Like many marketing tactics, influencer marketing is both an art and a science. It’s the art of connecting brands and the powerful voices of digital creators to drive real conversations around a product message. The science is in selecting the right creators, or influencers, who can drive the most authentic message to their audience. With the right balance of art and science, influencer marketing is an effective tool to increase a brand’s awareness and engagement.
Find Your Influence is an all-in-one influencer marketing platform powered by proprietary technology. The technology allows brands to identify influencers, launch campaigns, track performance and report results.
TEAM ATTENDIFY: So let’s put this in the perspective of the Meetings and Events industry. You know from experience that as events grow in number and scope, today’s potential attendees are being bombarded with messaging from event marketers. How can savvy event pros use influencer marketing to get their content in front of the right audience, enhance the attendee experience and thoughtfully grow their event impact?
TAMI NEALY: Great question! The power influencers carry at live events is tremendous. When a brand engages an influencer partnership to attend an event and highlight the product in person, it magnifies the promotion in a new way. Influencers can even begin promoting their attendance at an event in advance of the event to help drive ticket sales or traffic to a specific booth/session/location.
Smart brands really recognize the value of including content creators in their event marketing strategy. When partnering at live events, influencers are able to reach a larger audience — not only their current followers but the larger group of event attendees too. Brands can also negotiate up front with influencers to repurpose the influencer’s content on the brand’s social pages. When content creators attend live events, it creates a different dimension to the product and the content.
TEAM ATTENDIFY: Can you give me one to two specific use cases where a client leveraged influencer marketing to breathe new life into their event promotion strategy?
TAMI NEALY: In 2019 Find Your Influence worked with Pizza Hut here in Scottsdale, Arizona, to promote a one-day event. Pizza Hut was promoting a new plant-based meat as well as a round-shaped, sustainable pizza box. Because it was a one-day event, Pizza Hut leveraged social media influencers throughout the Phoenix metro area to promote the event in advance and offered them complimentary pizza on event day. The influencers not only drove significant traffic to the Pizza Hut location, but also created a surge in Pizza Hut content across Instagram and Twitter.
TEAM ATTENDIFY: So is influencer marketing meant to be used in tandem with other event marketing vehicles like social media, email promotions, digital advertising and video?
TAMI NEALY: Absolutely. Levering influencer marketing as a stand-alone tactic can be effective, but when you include it in your overall marketing strategy, that is where you see the real power of influencers.
TEAM ATTENDIFY: Event planners are constantly being asked to do more with less. Give me an idea of what an average influencer marketing campaign might cost.
TAMI NEALY: That’s a tricky one. Like most things, the more you invest, the greater your results. In influencer marketing, the cost of engaging influencers varies based on their total number of followers (across all platforms). Micro-influencers generally have less than 10,000 total followers and yet have the highest engagement rates. Less followers are easier to engage with more consistently. And because micro-influencers have less than 10,000 followers, their rates to create and post content are often the lowest.
Influencers with larger follower counts can charge more to work with a brand on an influencer campaign, because their audiences often are composed of the people that brand is looking to reach. Sorry that’s not a simple answer, but honestly, successful influencer marketing campaigns can be executed with budgets of any size.
TEAM ATTENDIFY: Okay, so how can event planners and event marketers show ROI from influencer campaigns? Is there a way to view it within a single dashboard, or integrate the data into popular CMS/CRM applications?
TAMI NEALY: Another great question! I’ve worked plenty of events myself to know that if you can’t prove ROI, you can’t do that event again! With Find Your Influence, our platform includes a dashboard that pulls KPI in real time. Within the Find Your Influence dashboard, brands can see live campaign performance with insights into campaign media value, number of views, engagement rate, CPC, CPM, total URL clicks and more.
TEAM ATTENDIFY: Say an event organizer is taking advantage of event technology to boost their event impact. How could they integrate their influencer campaign into, say, their mobile event app or online registration solution?
TAMI NEALY: Well of course, if you have influencers who will be attending the event as part of your stable of speakers, sponsors or exhibitors, you’ll absolutely want to highlight them on your event website and online registration page to drive conversions from the get-go. Be sure to call out exactly how attendees will be able to interact with them at the event, as well as any other special offers associated with their attendance.
Event marketers should continue the momentum by strategically drawing attention to influencers within their event apps. A primary area to do so is within your mobile app’s activity stream, where influencers can drive excitement about the entire event and specific sessions or promotions in their own words. With the power of the app’s private social network, they can also post photos and like/comment on attendee interactions. The great thing about an event app is that you can leverage influencers even if they’re not able to attend the actual event, and they can interact with attendees from before the event starts until long after it ends.
Bonus tip: You can contract with your influencer to specifically cover different types of content in their mobile app posts. If your event app is backed by a solid backend data analytics platform, you’ll be able to track which type of posts and topics held the most interest for attendees, then use this knowledge to optimize future nurture campaigns!
TEAM ATTENDIFY: Tami, thanks so much for the fantastic insights. Where can folks reach out to you for more information?
TAMI NEALY: Thanks! Anyone interested in learning more about Find Your Influence can find us online as well as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We’re more than happy to offer demos of our platform to show just how easy and effective it is to work with influencers. Or shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how influencers can help your event strategy.