Influencers and events: An opportunity (usually) lost

events + social

We recently had an in-depth brainstorm with a client about how best to engage influencers outside the virtual realm, via real-world events.

In our view, the goal was not just to engage the influencers, but to go one better and meet business objectives by compelling those influencers to publish content supporting the company’s current offerings.

Too often brands expect an influencer to come to them, requiring the influencer to orient his/her schedule around where and when the company is available.

In the end, however, the in-demand commodity is company exposure on the influencer’s site — not the other way ‘round.  IOW, the influencer is more sought-after than the brand at these events, and if the goal is to garner content bearing third-party endorsement, the brand is best served by catering to the influencer’s schedule.

This may seem counter-intuitive – and not long ago, it was anathema – but it’s merely how things work nowadays.

What we did with our client was to reframe the question in terms of current business objectives.  Their business didn’t directly benefit from teaching an influencer about their product or showing them a good time afterhours. Rather, the goal at the event was the same as it was prior and would be afterward:  Publication of earned content.

Once we both saw eye-to-eye on this point, it was easy to modify our client’s current event plan to focus not just on knowledge transfer, but to ensure that the time-bound activity occurring “on the ground” at the event actually resulted in something that would benefit the company (and the influencer, to be sure) post-event.

How, you say?

It’s easy:  Think like your influencer’s audience.  What do they care about?  What do they want to know?  How do they define their problem?

From there, keep in mind that the audience isn’t terribly interested in reading your website describing product speeds and feeds — or worse yet, press releases.  They’re far more solution-oriented in that they merely want to know how you can make their problem go away for a reasonable exchange of value.

And much as you may not want to hear it, you’re not best positioned to provide that.

But:  An influencer, telling the story of your satisfied customer, IS.

(And what satisfied customer doesn’t want to crow about their smart decision to choose your solution?)

So at your next event why not use everyone’s time wisely by matching your best customer to a market influencer, and letting them chat frankly (detached from your presence, of course).  If there’s a compelling story to be heard, you can be sure it’ll make its way to light publicly.

If you do, I guarantee that everyone will thank you for respecting their time and attention.

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