Having trouble growing your brand? Combining experiential and influencer marketing strategies might just be what your campaign is missing. Marketers have long segmented events and social, allotting each a distinct budget and entrusting the roles to different teams. But they are even more powerful when combined.
According to a study by Activate, 62% of marketers are planning to expand their influencer marketing budgets this year. At the same time, a report into event marketing trends says that experiential marketing is also receiving a boost, with 41% of marketers judging it as their top channel.
Imagine a perfectly integrated brand experience. Influencers are powerful, with the potential to bring millions of impressions to your campaign. Influencers connect with event activations, generating excitement before, creating buzz during, and continuing the conversation after an event.
By combining experiential and influencer strategies, you don’t need to partner with one stellar celebrity. You have the maneuverability to combine microinfluencers with your unique activations to build a multifaceted marketing plan that can amplify the effects of each.
5 Ways to Implement a More Integrated Brand Experience
Experiential activations are the ideal opportunity for influencers to work their magic. With the ability to capture video, gather user-generated content, and share continually on digital platforms, your brand is missing out if it’s not working to bring experiential and influencer marketing into closer partnership.
But how to go about it? Here are five tips you can use to implement an integrated approach to your next campaign:
1. Set goals to achieve objectives. If you and your influencer don’t know what you’re trying to achieve with your campaign, the results are likely to be vague and disappointing. Outline a set of goals that define what success means for your campaign. Are you after brand equity? A bigger social following?
Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to achieve all your goals at once. It’s important to create a hierarchy so you’re focusing on the ones that are most important to you.
2. Investigate influencers to find your match. In order to form healthy working relationships with people who will represent your brand right, it’s vital that you properly research your potential influencers. That means exploring their social media accounts to make sure their tastes and interests are a great fit for your brand identity.
If you fail to do your homework, you could end up with a relationship that alienates your consumers. People are acutely attuned to authenticity, and they’ll instinctively know if a partnership has been formed for the wrong reasons.
3. Find brand glory with a smaller following. It can seem wise to strive for the biggest following when trying to make the most of your event activation. But if you can get over the temptation of immediate scale, you’ll find that partnering with microinfluencers will lead to deeper, longer-lasting, and impactful connections with event participants. Plus, they will be more affordable than the large celebrities.
For example, microinfluencer Angela Davis, creator of the food blog The Kitchenista Diaries, has more than 60,000 followers on Instagram. And she has managed to get her 80,000-plus Twitter followers to respond to her by the hundreds simply by using the hashtag #KitchenistaSundays, inspired by her Sunday dinners.
4. Make notes to minimize misunderstanding. When working with an influencer, especially in the context of a dynamic live event, the opportunity for crossed wires is high. Minimize this danger by putting your agreement in writing.
Make notes after speaking with your partner on the phone, and ensure you form an outline of the actions you’ll take together to make your activation a success. That includes setting clear, written expectations for the numbers of posts you’d like, as well as which channels, hashtags, and other details you will be using to maximize the reach of your campaign.
5. Have a zero-tolerance policy for fakery. As the popularity of influencer marketing has soared, so have instances of inauthentic influencer posting. These are influencers who appear to have thousands of followers but some followers may have been purchased.
These fakers aren’t necessarily malicious, but most want to raise their own credibility. However, these are not the people you want representing your campaign, so make sure you investigate potential candidates’ activity. If they have celebrity-level follower numbers but very few actual engagements on posts, that’s a red flag that they’re not the authentic influencer you need.
Jason Wong, founder of Doux Lashes, said a surprising number of aspiring influencers have jumped at the chance to promote his brand for free with the intention of making it seem like their posts are sponsored.
When looking at potential influencer partners, keeping an eye out for these tricks goes a long way toward making the correct choices for your campaign.
There is a lot to consider when combining experiential and influencer strategies, but following these steps will put you on the path to creating a campaign that gives your brand the boost it needs. So go ahead — break outside the norm. Your influencers will take your event where it needs to go.