By Emily Greenberg
Hosting an influencer* event is a great way to bring a company culture to life and introduce a brand to an audience in a simple and shareable format. Plus, influencer events are an effective way to generate content that can extend beyond the activity and reach a larger audience. Below are five suggestions to keep in mind when planning an influencer event for your client.
- Authenticity is key. Avoid the inevitable pressure of renting out the trendy new bar, or gifting people with extravagant swag in order to lure them to join. Stay true to your brand and host an event that will highlight and compliment the culture of the company. You can do this by partnering with another likeminded influencer or business to act as host, or lead an activity, by finding a venue that enhances your brand message, and by inviting influencers and guests to take part in an activity that showcases the brand ethos.
- Quality, not quantity. Identifying the right people to attend your event takes time. Like, a lot of time. You may have a group of influencers in mind already, or in some cases, you might be hosting an event to introduce your brand or product to a new group of influential people. In either case, invest the time upfront in researching the appropriate attendees. There is no designated method to the madness – cross check your target invite list by researching Instagram, Twitter and blogs. You’ll get a real feel for who people are and what they stand for by looking at social feeds. Tap into the people that follow your client: who are they following and liking? Who do they interact with, what do they comment on? Chances are, you can find a great group of influential people right at your fingertips with a little social sleuthing.
- Over prepare, but don’t overprescribe. With any event, all good publicists know to anticipate and strategize for all sorts of scenarios and possibilities. Have a rain plan, bring extra pens, prepare for tough questions. Yes, yes, yes to all of that! But for an influencer event don’t overprescribe the message. This links back to the idea of authenticity. There is a time and a place for scripted messaging. Board meetings. National broadcast interviews. Tradeshows. But influencer events can, and should, be a little more casual – it’s about creating an ongoing dialogue, rather than delivering a specific pitch. Prepare speaking guidelines and have an intimate understanding of what message needs to be delivered, but don’t feel like you have to stick to a script.
- Have a clear goal, and map towards it. What is your client’s goal for throwing the event? Is it to connect with the local community? If so, focus your outreach and guest list on local influencers. Perhaps your client’s aim is to align with a business that shares the same values. If so, be sure to explore an ongoing partnership with the host or vendor you are working with. Discuss various cross-promotions to build awareness over an extended period of time. What does success look like? Most influencer events allow for guests to share their experience in real-time on their social channels. So don’t be shy about promoting the designated hashtag and politely encouraging attendees to share their experience and photos online with that hashtag.
- Be a good pen pal. Relationships need to be nurtured. With any media or influencer relations, remember to continue the conversation after the event. Thank each attendee for the great post or tweet. Respond to their posts to keep the engagement and momentum going. Provide them with additional images from the event, or more products and information about the company. Offer to do something again soon, and be a resource for them, just as they are for you!
*Influencers are individuals that may or may not be aware of your company, but may be associated with an audience segment that is important to your business. Influencers can be journalists, bloggers, industry analysts, likeminded business professionals, celebrities, individual brand advocates and/or super-fans.
What’s your favorite thing about living in San Francisco?
Emily: I love the accessibility to great hikes, scenic views, secret fishing holes… Essentially, my favorite thing about living in San Francisco is everything outside of city proper. J
What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
I’ve always been drawn to astrology – and astronomy for that matter. There are so many stories in the stars. I’d like to tell some of those tales.
What’s your favorite quote?
It’s a long passage from Christian D. Larson. I’ll paraphrase, but encourage everyone to give it a full read. “…give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”