Influencer marketing is fast becoming a “must do” for all consumer-based companies. Whether a local coffee shop, a national toy company, or a global automaker, marketing departments are spending more and more money on influencers—and for good reason.
- 80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% say it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels.
- 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
- Tomoson has found that influencer marketing has been able to proffer yields of $6.50 ROI for every dollar spent.
So now that we understand why influencers are important to your marketing, let’s talk about a way to scale their impact—hosting an influencer event. This is a great idea if you’re opening a new location or rolling out a new product. An influencer event is often less costly than a traditional marketing campaign, and they can be quite effective. Events can also be used in conjunction with a traditional marketing campaign (See #4 below!).
Planning an Influencer Event
While the details of each influencer event will look different, depending on the industry and product, there are a few best practices to ensure marketing success—and ultimately increased revenue. To help us out, we talked with two Orlando food influencers, Michelle (@MadeinOrlando) and Lisa (@TasteCookSip), both of whom recently attended one of our influencer events (a new store opening for Tijuana Flats).
1. Create a Guest List: Similar to building traditional media lists, finding the right influencers for your event means doing your research. Find people who are a good fit for your brand. For Lisa, a little research can go a long way in getting an influencer to attend an event.
“I often get hit up to partner with products completely out of my purview, like make-up or watches,” she said. “The form email says, ‘We love your feed and think you’d be a great fit!’ … No, you don’t. If you knew my feed, you’d know I talk about food.” Lisa’s advice is to seek out influencers that work in your space, then start to interact with them. Start by liking their page or commenting on some posts.
Think of your influencer list like a media list. You should update it regularly and build relationships with the people on it. This will pay off for your upcoming events and ones you throw in the future.
2. Set Clear (Reasonable) Expectations: Whether you’re looking for a full blog article, 2-3 social posts, or video content, be honest from the start. Then be prepared to pay for that content. For Michelle, clear communication can make or break her decision to attend your event.
“I don’t like it when people beat around the bush about what they’re looking for. It can be tedious to go back and forth a bunch,” she said.
Another key thing is to understand both the workload and value of influencer posts. As fellow content creators, we know it takes more than 30 seconds to set up, take and edit a beautiful photo, then craft a clever, effective post. When making an offer, think about how much time you’re asking the influencer to take give you. For example, are you asking them to drive an hour, try out a variety of products/menu items, then write a 500-word blog post with a slideshow of pictures? That’s worth a lot more than $50 or some free product samples.
3. Create a Hashtag: Social media is all about momentum—we know this. Multiply your influencers’ effectiveness by creating a hashtag. A hashtag for your blogger event should be creative, related to your brand or product, and relatively short. Interested followers will use it to search and find additional content and reviews. The more time someone spends engaging with content that promotes your product, the more invested they are in your brand.
4. Follow Up and See it Through: Sending invitations is just the first step. Treat this event like you would a press release—follow up! Remember, each influencer is unique, and it may take several emails and some negotiating to confirm their attendance at your event. We communicated with bloggers before, during and after our event, ensuring they had everything they needed.
Lisa encourages marketers to remember that the post is not where things end. Social media is just that—social! “Brands should be engaging with posts, sharing posts, commenting on posts and participating in the conversations they wanted in the first place,” she said.
With these four steps in mind, any brand—large or small—can throw an effective, engaging influencer event.