“Influencer marketing at its core is about developing real relationships to ultimately champion your influencers to market with you.”– Amanda Maksymiw, content marketer
It was more than 80 years ago when Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” first landed on bestseller lists. And, despite the decades that have passed, the self-help book continues to guide those seeking to win business or make friendships. In fact, at the end of 2018, the book still sat among Amazon’s “Top 20 Most Sold & Most Read Books.” In this day and age, its success may come as a surprise since some believe Carnegie’s principles to be basic knowledge. Show genuine interest, smile, and be a good listener are among some of his tips. Yet, perhaps, Carnegie imagined a time would come when personal interaction would take a back seat to other mediums, such as digital.
When it comes to wooing consumers, brands are increasingly looking to online influencers to get the job done. But, influencer marketing, though estimated to become a $10 billion industry by next year, had some hiccups in 2018. A Forbes article highlights some of them. For one, it says, “social influencers are inherently inauthentic.” This is because they deliver a “modern form of paid advertising and content creation.” Following the Federal Trade Commission’s crackdown on influencer marketing, the article does have a point. Influencers must disclose brand relationships, prompting those in compliance to label social media posts as “sponsored” or an “ad.” In turn, their content seems less authentic and otherwise undesirable by consumers.
Other issues are the “prevalence of social bots and the purchase of fake followers.” These not only skew ROI. The article says they’ve “sowed mistrust among consumers and brands alike.” In a time when trust reigns supreme to win consumers’ business, brands can’t afford to work with dishonest influencers. And, influencers won’t survive without the trust of their followers. Still, the foreseeable future of influencer marketing is bright. And, this gives influencers the upper hand. So, how do brands beat other brands to score the best influencers, while making “real relationships” in the process? It all gets back to Carnegie’s principles. And, it’s all possible via influencer marketing events.
Consider the following reasons for making influencer marketing events a cornerstone of your influencer marketing strategy.
Research shows the rise of event and experiential marketing is in part due to consumers’ needs for emotional connections. Marketers shouldn’t neglect the fact that, at their core, influencers are consumers, too. This makes events a great opportunity to build bonds with them. Plus, the one-on-one attention and perks of an event show you value their partnership, which encourages their loyalty.
Almost 95% of marketers say “transparency and authenticity are key to influencer marketing success.” But the issues prove big obstacles to achieving these – to being able “to tell whether an influencer is genuinely influential.” Meeting influencers in person and listening to them can help you qualify influencers. This is in verifying their claims, passion, and professionalism.
Consistency is crucial as consumers choose to do business with brands that are authentic. This allows them to trust the brand and what it’s telling them. It’s why the messages influencers communicate about the brand must be in the same vein across all. Yet, in an effort to keep influencers’ voices and their own authenticity, they should never follow script. With influencer marketing events, subtle messages shared throughout can be engrained in influencers’ minds. This will allow them to share your story in their own words.
For 2018, 92% of marketers named Instagram “the most important social network for influencer marketing.” And, that isn’t destined to change for 2019. The photo- and video-sharing darling hit one billion monthly active users last year. It may not be the most used social network. But, it’s popular among Gen Z, which accounts for $200 billion in buying power, the most of any age group. Plus, with 400 million accounts using Instagram Stories every day, influencer marketing events make a great opportunity to indirectly encourage influencers to post there while using your brand’s backdrop.
Instagram Stories of influencer marketing events allow for transparency with consumers. But, let us not overlook the transparent look at the brand these events give influencers. The chance to truly experience what a brand stands for adds value to influencers’ efforts. Being able to interact with brand ambassadors provides that transparency while fostering emotional connections, too. The key is in finding the best brand ambassadors to personify the brand and improve influencers’ experience. This is what results in the most authentic relationships.
When it comes to Carnegie’s principles, there is some truth to what makes up the best brand ambassadors. They must be friendly, interested, and be good listeners. But, still, these conditions are basic. Look for these other key criteria when staffing influencer marketing events and using brand ambassadors to “champion your influencers to market with you.”
Influencers are who they are because of their social media savvy. You can help improve results of influencer marketing events when you choose brand ambassadors who also have a thorough understanding of the sector as a whole. Their know-how can assist influencers in creating and sharing content while on-site, ensuring no opportunity goes wasted.
Some influencers, such as lifestyle bloggers, may not be focused on one thing. Yet, there are others who will be experts in their fields. Take beauty influencers for example. Many of them have built their reputation and following based on tutorials they provide. So, when they attend influencer marketing events, they will expect to interact with people of the same, if not better, caliber of skills. Without them, beauty brand ambassadors may not appear reliable. And, earning credibility is critical to building trust with influencers.
No matter the industry, whether or not skilled brand ambassadors are needed, your best staff will understand your market. They will need to hold intelligent conversations that, again, build credibility. The information they share will be used to educate influencers on your brand’s differentiators and benefits. It’s these details that will carry forward in the content created.
Your guest list may include celebrity influencers, micro influencers, or both. And, it doesn’t matter. The best brand ambassadors will have the confidence to interact with any influencer who walks through the door. Without the self-assurance to approach them, hold conversations, or demonstrate skills, emotional connections won’t get formed. But, when you seek the best brand ambassadors, you can rest assured the focus is on the job. Professionals won’t be distracted by influencers’ celebrity, Internet or otherwise.
Last year, more than three-fourths of marketers named their top challenge the measurement of influencer marketing programs. But a Forbes article tells how live experiences provide the perfect storm to not only increase results. They also allow stakeholders to get the numbers they need in order to assess the value of influencers. It says, “Once at a live event, the social amplification through influencers is exponential and can be measured in real time through social posts, brand activation and word of mouth.” The best brand ambassadors will assist in influencers’ efforts and guide them to success, whether through offering incentives, use of hashtags, or content creation. Further, they will gather feedback from influencers related to the event and the brand. This innate ability of the best brand ambassadors gives marketers the tools they need to foster real relationships and champion influencers to mutual success.
At Elevate, we have access to the best brand ambassadors across the globe. Let us help you make the most of your influencer marketing campaigns.