It’s no secret that influencers have become an integral part of many of today’s top event marketing programs. When leveraged properly, they have the ability to spread a brand’s message with an unmatched level of credibility and authenticity. For brands looking to partner up, the key to unlocking the power of influencers is aligning with the right people on the right platforms at the right time. Here’s a look at how to make it happen:
Brands first need to determine which type of influencer makes the most sense to partner with based on their objectives. Micro-influencers generally have about 1,000 to 100,000 followers, are adept at content creation and have more time to engage with their audience. Meanwhile, macro-influencers, who typically have a few hundred thousand followers, have more reach than their micro counterparts, but may have less room for engagement. Finally, celebrity influencers with one million or more followers are a good option for brands looking for broad reach, but offer little in the way of interaction.
After determining which level of influencer best aligns with your program’s overall goals, it’s time to distill the wide world of influencers down into a smaller group of candidates. There are a number of ways to do it, but the easiest method is to explore those already posting about the brand, its competitors and/or the industry at large. A simple hashtag or keyword search is often the key to discovering existing brand advocates.
What some companies fail to realize is that, upon establishing relationships with these tastemakers, the brand must relinquish any control over them. It’s paramount to grant influencers complete creative freedom over their content in order to generate the authenticity that makes them so valuable. What’s more, influencers have already made a name for themselves by doing what they do best, so taking marching orders isn’t going to fly.
And while it’s the tastemaker’s job to take on the heavy lifting when it comes to amplifying live experiences, brands can do their share by creating inherently shareable moments throughout their events, especially for influencer-only affairs. That’s precisely what The Macallan did to promote the launch of its Double Cask 12 Years Old single malt Scotch whisky. “We didn’t invite influencers for the sake of inviting them,” says Sam Leotta, senior brand manager at The Macallan. “The goal was that the 1,000 [influencers] would amplify their message to their social networks and through word-of-mouth to their friends and people that they know. Just throwing an event won’t do that. We presented moments that were shareable versus asking them to share. Every moment resonated with them.”
Of course, like many other facets of event marketing, leveraging influencers is useless if their impact on a campaign can’t be measured. An effective influencer strategy begins with specific goals that can later be easily and accurately measured with metrics like website hits and social media impressions. And a word to the wise, YouTube influencers are highly effective, but their impact can be difficult to gauge. The best solution is to include links within the video that are specific to that influencer.
Finally, make a concerted effort to stay in touch. Partnerships between brands and influencers can extend for as long as both parties see value in the relationship. Brands can stay connected by monitoring and mentioning these partners on their social channels, and in turn, mentioning and sharing links to the influencers’ own creative content. The approach will keep the brand relevant and top of mind, and paves the way for future collaborations.
Bottom line is, effective influencer campaigns are fueled by authenticity. So, align with like-minded partners, let them create freely and, whatever you do, don’t repeat the deceptive influencer tactics leveraged during the Fyre Festival fiasco—relocating an island full of angry rich kids duped by their favorite celebrities probably isn’t in the budget anyway.