Today’s consumers rely heavily on word-of-mouth when making purchase decisions. Consumers don’t just turn to their closest friends and family members for recommendations—they also trust influencers. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from others more than brands, even if they don’t personally know the person giving the recommendation.

The fact that consumers are turning to influencers for recommendations is not news to marketers. Countless companies are already partnering with influencers to promote their products. Last year, it was estimated that brands spend around $570 million per year on influencer marketing. But, instead of simply asking an influencer to post a photo of one of your products on Instagram, brands should be using influencers to enhance their experiential marketing events. Here’s how:

Choose the Right Influencers

Be selective when choosing influencers to work with. Start your search by looking for influencers who are already using your products. If an influencer is already a customer, they will be able to speak about your brand more naturally, so it won’t seem as if the influencer is being paid to read a script.

Some brands won’t be able to find influencers that are already customers, so it’s perfectly fine to reach out to other influencers about a partnership. However, be sure to research their audience prior to reaching out. If their audience does not match the audience you are trying to target, it won’t make sense to partner with them.

There are a number of tools that brands can use to identify influencers in their industry and analyze their followers. For example, the Deep Social tool will tell brands about the interests, location, gender, and age of an influencer’s followers. This is an easy way to analyze an influencer’s followers to determine if the influencer is a good match with the brand.

It’s also important to note that an influencer should not be crossed off the list simply because they do not have millions of followers. Sometimes, micro-influencers, which are influencers with under 100,000 followers, are more effective than celebrity influencers. Plus, it is much more affordable to work with a micro-influencer than it is to hire a celebrity influencer.

Collaborate With the Influencer

The partnership between the influencer and your brand should be a collaboration. This means you should not tell the influencer exactly what to do and say about your event. Instead, you should work with the influencer to determine the best approach. Influencers know what types of content their followers want to see, so trust their advice.

For example, an influencer may suggest letting them host a live stream of your event instead of simply posting photos and videos from the event. This suggestion could be based off of the fact that the influencer’s followers respond better to live streams than they do to traditional posts.

Don’t miss out on an incredible opportunity because you think your way is best. Your influencer should be empowered to share their ideas. Let the influencer be a part of the process so you can make the most out of this partnership.

Use Influencers Before, During, and After the Event

Marketers often make the mistake of only using an influencer during the event. But, the best strategy is to incorporate influencers before, during, and after experiential marketing events. Before the event, influencers should be using social media to generate buzz. This could mean tweeting about how many days are left to the event or even posting behind-the-scenes videos of the planning of the event. During the event, influencers should be creating content that can be shared with all of their followers. They could also take over the hosting of the event, depending on your budget.

After the event is over, it’s up to the influencers to keep the conversation going. For example, a blogger could post a recap of the event that includes photos, videos, and a detailed description of what happened.

Host an Influencer-Only Event

In most cases, brands partner with influencers to promote events for the general public or a specific group of consumers. However, a lot of brands also host influencer-only events. The goal of this type of event is to introduce your brand to a group of influencers. If the event is memorable enough or if the influencers fall in love with your products, they will then introduce their followers to your brand.

This may be the right approach for brands that are fairly new or trying to rapidly build brand awareness. By investing heavily in this type of event, these brands may be able to quickly spread the word about their products.

Quid Pro Quo

Influencers are paid to partner with brands to promote their events. But, many brands cannot afford the steep prices that a lot of influencers charge. If you’re working on a limited budget, there’s no need to give up on influencer marketing. Instead, ask influencers if they would be willing to accept another form of payment. For example, some influencers are willing to work with brands in exchange for free products.

Influencers may also be willing to work with a brand that offers to promote the influencer’s accounts as part of the partnership. Encouraging your brand’s followers to check out an influencer’s page could help the influencer gain new followers. In turn, this could help them attract new partnership opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask some of the smaller influencers you reach out to if they would be willing to consider one of these arrangements.

If you are interested in incorporating influencers into your next experiential marketing event, contact Factory 360 today. Let our team of skilled experiential marketing experts plan an event that your guests will remember forever.

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