Influencers play an essential role in the planning and execution of great events. For one, an industry influencer can make an awesome event speaker. They develop engaging content for our general and breakout sessions, and some can draw crowds of new registrants simply by showing up.
Identifying the right influencers for an event – and then getting the most value from that relationship – can be tricky. I recently met with Marketo's Senior Social Media Manager, Lisa Marcyes, to discuss influencer marketing, what it is, and how it's woven into the fabric of any good event.
Lisa helps Marketo to leverage influencers within the marketing industry for the company's Marketing Nation Summit, and she's absolutely fluent in social media. I am not. But something she told me was very encouraging. She said that getting the most value from influencers at your event doesn't have to be intimidating. Sometimes, you just have to know who to ask for help.
You can hear our full conversation on Cvent's events and marketing podcast, Don't Forget Your Name Badge. But here are 3 ways to leverage your internal stakeholders and improve your event content by harnessing industry influencers.
Get to know your corporate communications team
Your organization's PR folks know key industry partners, media figures, CEOs and executives with whom you're trying to build relationships. And because they often work closely with the C-Suite, they can be a crucial ally in getting executive buy-in.
Corporate communications professionals can help you navigate the many speakers bureaus where you can find potential keynote speakers and subject matter experts – and they play an extremely important role in gauging the reputation of a potential speaker, ensuring that those speaking at your event will be a good fit for your audience.
If you have a celebrity or other high-profile speaker at your event, it's likely that your corporate communications team will be the ones working with the speaker's manager or handlers while onsite, which you definitely want, since you'll be busy managing other aspects of the event.
Engage the social media squad
Social media is a great avenue for finding potential speakers. Your social media team can help you search your followers' feeds to see who the influential though leaders are within your industry. But to really get the most out of social media, you need to think ahead.
Lisa Marcyes recommends that your leverage your social media team three to six months in advance to build a reciprocal relationship with potential event speakers – before you ask them to commit to your event. She says that influencer relationships build value over time, especially with content creators. Have your social media team engage with them by "promoting their content, commenting on their content and liking their content. The more that you show respect for what they're doing, the more likely you'll build quid-pro-quo relationships with them."
Partner with your content marketers for year-round value
Having engaging speakers in your general and breakout sessions is a wonderful thing, but it's only the beginning. To get the most value, you need to take the content from your event and amplify it globally. For that, you need content marketing.
Your organization's content team can transform breakout sessions into e-books, whitepapers, infographics, videos, blog posts, and other media, so your event will keep producing dividends year-round.