Influencer marketing is a hot topic for Fortune 500 companies and SMBs alike.  In a November 2016 study by Linqia, 48 percent of the 170 marketers who were polled said they intended to increase their influencer marketing budgets this year.  Event planners have long relied on word-of-mouth referrals to promote their events but for many, true influence marketing remains something of a mystery.

What is an Influencer? defines influencers as “Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship.”

crowd in an event venueWhat is Influencer Marketing?

On April 26, 1997 Studio 54 opened in a former CBS soundstage in midtown Manhattan.  A few days later, the owners were contacted about serving as the venue for a birthday party for Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger’s wife Bianca.  Legendary fashion designer Halston hosted the party and the guest list was a virtual who’s who of fashion, music, art and entertainment luminaries.

Urban legend has it that Bianca Jagger entered the party on horseback and the rest, as they say, is history.  Literally overnight, the upstart club became the Mecca for nightlife in New York City solely due to the power of influencer marketing.

 “When you align with an influencer, not only do they bring their audience, but they also bring their audience’s network as well. Because of the loyalty of their audience, an influencer has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure, and flat-out sell your product through their recommendation or story about their experience.” – GroupHigh Marketing and Community Manager Kristen Matthews 

How do I find influencers?

Fortunately, you don’t need Halston’s little black book to find influencers, and you don’t need Bianca Jagger on horseback to generate buzz for your events.

As soon as the venue, speakers, entertainment or exhibitors for your event are confirmed, promote them on social media, on your blog and in emails.  Be sure to include their Twitter handle and the event hashtag and ask your talent and speakers to do likewise.

As search for venues for your upcoming event, be sure to check their social profiles for possible influencers you can connect with.

Tap your current and past attendees to promote your event and offer them incentives, like free upgrades or discounts if they agree to promote your event to their social networks.

Use influencer discovery tools to expand your search beyond your immediate connections.  Followerwonk, Klout, Brandwatch, Upfluence, Traackr, Kred and Buzzsumo offer premium services that help you identify influencers within your niche.  Google Alerts is another way for budget conscious planners. You can also use Social Mention to discover mentions of your business or event on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social platforms.

Keep in mind that for influencer marketing to really be effective, you need to connect with people who are truly passionate about your events and who have a legitimate sphere of influence, aka engaged followers and fans.  According to Certified Professional Speaker (CPS) Jay Baer “True influence drives action, not just awareness.”

Guide to Finding The Right Social Influencers

Infographic from Visually

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