How to Leverage New Social Media Influencers for Your Event
Do you want to reach a new demographic for your event or do you just want to extend your reach? Influencer marketing is a great way to do it. Here’s how you can get started with influencers from YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.
It’s hard to believe that social media is old enough to have an “old” guard and a “new” one but that’s exactly what’s happening. There are the formidable, shall we say “established”?, sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn that most of the population is on and trendy ones like Instagram and Snapchat. Marketers and event planners have long laid claim to the first three and are quite adept at reaching their audiences on those platforms but what about Instagram and Snapchat or even YouTube?
While YouTube has been around for a while and Instagram and Snapchat are relatively new (2010 and 2009 respectively), the influencing royalty that has come from these platforms is just starting to gain footing in the larger social media world. Still, if you’re hosting an event, you shouldn’t discount the growing power of those influencers.
Instagram once felt like a site that only teenagers were using to post selfies and pictures their parents may not be proud of, but guess what? It’s far from that now. With over 400 million active users, it is a powerful tool and the top visual marketing platform for people trying to get attendees to their events. Instagram attracts all sorts of businesses and influencers from floral designers and travel photographers to health coaches sharing exercise videos. This site is no longer a place to share just pretty pictures.
You probably know that YouTube is the second-most used search engine in the world, outside of Google, but if you haven’t checked out the followings some of these influencers have, you may be surprised. Some of them have follower counts the population size of small countries. But follower counts aren’t the big draw for YouTubers. These people interact with their fans in a large way and probably have some of the strongest engagement despite the one-way direction of video.
Marketing kings Ogilvy & Mather put together a SlideShare about top influencers and their ability to build community. If you’re looking to work with YouTubers, your goal should involve active participation.
Snapchat is one of the most misunderstood “new” social platforms. The original idea behind the site was to create a place to post photos that were self-deleting. As marketers saw its popularity with a younger crowd, the site became an interesting mix of private messaging and public content. Users saw brand networks, publications, and even live events move in. The main demographic here remains 18-24 year olds, which comprises 64% of the sites active users and the overarching tone of fun throughout the space.
How to Create an Effective Influencer Campaign for Your Event
According to Shopify, 84% of people will take action based on the opinion of others, so get influencers on board early (and often).
Assess the Environment
First, take a look at what others are doing. This starts with the big events out there. Check what they’re sharing and what gets the most engagement. Next look for popular people, products, and services that serve your ideal attendee demographic. Instagram also has a blog for business where it announces new features and posts case studies, as does YouTube, and Snapchat. Keep an eye on those for ideas.
Approach the Influencer
If you have your heart set on working with one of these site’s top influencers, they’ve been there, done that. Chances are they’ll already have agreements they use, but if you’re approaching someone who hasn’t been involved in working with an event you’ll want to have a conversation about the details of their following and whether that demographic matches the one you’re trying to attract.
If they can’t tell you anything about their audience, move on. Most of these influencers are highly engaged with their community. They know what they like and what they don’t. They should also have an idea about the demographic they are most popular among. If they don’t, that’s a sign they’re either not paying attention or they’re not that engaged.
Still wondering how to find the right influencer? If you don’t want to crawl through hundreds of profiles, use technology. Apps like Whalar (for Instagram) and Followerwonk allow you to search a database of influencers who are all interested in working with marketers and planners. Here are a few additional tips on locating the right influencer and getting the relationship started. This article was written for Instagram but a lot of what’s here can be applied to YouTube and Snapchat as well.
Convey Your Goals
There is no point in approaching an influencer if you don’t know what you want him or her to do. Most likely you want help with attracting a particular demographic to your event but whatever you do make sure this person knows what you’re looking to achieve. Influencers understand their audience so avoid giving them directions on how to affect the outcome. Instead, tell them what your end goal is, how you plan to measure it, and educate them on your event as in who attends, what they like, and how you present yourself. You want that to be consistent with what they are presenting to their community.
Once you’ve figured out how they will help you (i.e. giving their followers a special attendee discount), and negotiated the terms in doing so, you need to give them the materials they need to share with their group. Most often this is a landing page that is personalized to their efforts but it could also include video, logos, graphics, and other things.
Give your influencer some creative leeway as to how they share the materials and information with their tribe but, as mentioned earlier, you also want them to know how you’ll be tracking results (click-throughs on your landing page, sign-ups, etc.). Don’t forget hashtags, and conveying clearly what content output you expect and what you would like to hold rights to.
Influencer marketing is one of the hottest trends in marketing and can bring in big numbers but rarely do influencers do it for free. Whatever you agree to with them, it’s important that both sides are transparent about it. If they choose to create content that will influence their community or they’re given super discounted rates to your event to share, don’t pretend to know nothing about it. In today’s world of transparency, it’s important to be honest about any relationship you have with industry influencers, especially if they are transactional.
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