This is a guest post from Philip Brown, Head of Influencer Marketing & Brand Advocacy at Come Round – the Social Influencer Marketing Agency. You can connect with Philip on Twitter @philipvdbrown.

Finding and engaging with influencers has become a hot topic – and big business over the past two years.

And the trend has definitely caught on for event organisers too, who realise in particular that ‘micro-influencers’ (aka social ringleaders) and thought leaders on social media, can have a big impact on ticket sales.

However each and every time we talk to a client I get the same question ‘’which influencers do you have on your database’’ ‘’ who do you work with ‘’ etc. I always to try to tell our clients that whilst this question makes sense from a PR-perspective, and can show our credentials, I always suggest starting with a clean sheet when it comes to your own influencer marketing.

From a strategy perspective, there are several questions that need to be asked to determine what the target audience is. This will help us create a clear picture of which influencers should be targeted.

1. What do you want to achieve?

Before you start discussing which influencers you want to engage with, you need to clarify what you want to achieve.

Awareness & content

If you’re a product/small business that is looking to create some buzz online, awareness is probably going to be your go-to goal when it comes to influencer marketing.

The influencer marketing route to generating awareness is engaging influencers to generate content/stories that feature your brand. This will help create a social footprint that you need to build further awareness on.

For first time events, this is probably going to be a key goal, as you need to get the word out, generate excitement and have people talking about it before you can start generating ticket sales.

Brand advocacy & longevity

Word of mouth is consistently polled as the most trusted form of advertising (Nielsen – surely no source needed anymore, right?) and influencer marketing can be utilised in to create brand advocacy in the long run.

Rather than engaging a paid content creator to push out content, consider exclusivity and allow them to create content in the long-run that tells their story about your brand. In addition, in order to cultivate real brand advocacy, existing clients should be targeted and provided with exclusive opportunities to spread their word.

This is where event organisers have a real advantage in influencer marketing because you sell such an engaging and interesting product! Make sure you don’t keep your influencers on the peripheral…invite them to your events so they can tell their own story – about their experiences at your events – to their network, and just see what a difference that makes to your future ticket sales.

2. Who do you want to work with?

In our experience, there are three tiers of influencers:

A) micro-influencers (1k-100k followers) these influencers are known to have a good mix of reach/engagement and are excellent content creators.

B) macro-influencers (100k+) these influencers have more reach than micro-influencers, but often less engagement

C) celebrity-influencers (1m+) this is a very popular option amongst brands (with deeper pockets), that want to aim for broad awareness.

Once you’ve established what you want to achieve, and who you want to work with, there are two main ways of discovering influencers.

1. Using a platform

There are many paid platforms that will help you identify influencers that are the right fit for your campaign. The platforms tie into the algorithms of the social networks so they’re a great way to quickly and effectively find and reach out to influencers.

The advantage of a platform is that they often incorporate Instagram, Twitter & Blogs in one platform. So you have a one-stop shop for all of your influencers. There are also niche platforms that focus on one specific social channel (looking at you, Instagram!)

2. Using social listening tools

You can also use paid social listening tools and input relevant keywords that relate to your event and the influencers that you are trying to identify.

I would suggest this route if you are looking to engage with consumers/influencers that are already engaged with your event or business. For example – if you’re Panasonic – then you should monitor keywords that relate to your products and the brand in general.

Take a look at what people are saying and use social listening tools to identify their potential to influence. Influencer marketing is most powerful when a happy existing consumer with influencer potential is turned into a brand advocate.

Once you’ve discovered the right influencers for your event, the next step is getting in touch with them in the right way.

Reaching out to influencers:

Influencer outreach is essentially business development – you’re trying to sell your event to an influencer, and you want to get them excited. So here are some tips to help you do a better job.

1. Don’t start an e-mail with ‘’I’’

Let’s start with the basics – and this goes for all e-mails. Please stop trying to get someone’s attention starting with:

‘’ Hi, I’m Jack, I am an influencer outreach specialist and I would like to…’’

Instead, focus on the person you’re writing to – do your research. Read their blog thoroughly, find out what makes them tick and focus on creating a personal connection. Reading their blog bio will help you on your way. Do they have a dog? Comment on that, do they have the same name as you? Use that.

2. Build a relationship

Before you reach out to an influencer, why not take the time to familiarise yourself with their social channels? Follow them, leave a comment here and there. Engage with them so that when you reach out to them, they already know who you are, and will be more likely to reply.

3. Do not use templates!

Influencers will notice your template a mile away – so please try and avoid using the same format that everyone else is using for your outreach efforts.

Use their first name in the subject header and make sure you focus on the advantages a partnership will have for the influencer (remuneration/free product/attending an event). And make sure to keep it short. You’re trying to get their attention first and foremost, you can hash out the details at a later stage.

Conclusion

Influencer marketing can be a really powerful channel for event organisers and promoters, and the scale and transparency of social media actually makes it accessible for just about every shape and size of event.

If you take the above tips into consideration, then you’ll find that you start to get more positive responses, and in turn you should start to enjoy an increase in ticket sales too.

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