Many companies turn to influencers to promote their events, but attracting them to a random event can be tricky — particularly if the product or cause being marketed isn’t of significant public interest. Even so, strong event planning can turn a launch party, conference, or fundraising event into one that is the talk of the town and perhaps even earn the converted “viral” title. Aja Bradley, Founder and Chief Experience Officer at Conversate Collective, says that certain steps can be taken to attract the most desirable influencers to any event.
1. Determine a budget, and maximize it with the small details
The first thing that an event organizer must do before beginning planning is to determine their budget. Although the exact dollar amount an event will cost may fluctuate by when it happens, knowing a range of how much there is to spend will be necessary to gauge what is within and outside of range. Don’t try to overspend — expensive does not necessarily mean quality, and a great event can be put on even when stretching the budget thin.
Event organizers should not forget the small details when determining their budget for the event. Things like the event’s dress code or decorations might seem insignificant, but these are integral to the event’s “shareability.” The goal of getting influencers to attend events is to have them post about them on social media, and the more exclusive and upscale the event looks, the more likely an influencer is to post about their attendance. In other words, strive to make the event look as exclusive as possible, as this will help get more — and better — influencer coverage.
Of course, it is also essential to coordinate staff attire. “Remember, the staff reflects the organizational image of those putting on the event,” explains Bradley. “A professionally-dressed waitstaff will lend an air of authenticity and legitimacy to the event. And for events with a higher level of production, hiring a professional staff of audiovisual technicians will go a long way in making it memorable.”
2. Pick a great venue
Another tool that event organizers can use to make their event stand out to influencers is a great venue. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box about where to host an event. Don’t pick the same popular bar, hotel, or restaurant everyone else chooses. Some of the most memorable events make innovative use of their space, creating an experience that is unlike any other attendees have experienced before.
3. Plan unforgettable experiences
Once you have a venue and the details ironed out, it is time to create an inspiring program for attendees. Create an event with high-profile speakers hosting discussions and workshops on exclusive topics people want to learn more about. The result will be a more engaged conversation between attendees and, hopefully, that will extend to the conversation between the attendees and their followers.
4. Hire a great event coordinator
Event organizers should not underestimate the value of an experienced event coordinator. The organizer of an event has a million things happening in their mind — from promoting the event to focusing on the event’s purpose, be it to garner donations, announce a new product, or more. Focusing on ensuring the event runs smoothly can be an added headache.
An experienced event coordinator will do all of the work behind-the-scenes to ensure that the organizer can focus on the more outward-facing responsibilities of putting on the event. From handling audiovisual needs to managing the event’s waitstaff, an event coordinator will ensure that all operational needs of the event are met so that everything you have planned can run smoothly.
5. Set a clear promotional strategy
It is also essential to have a clear promotional strategy for the event. “Although carefully selecting the guest list is an integral part of promotional strategy, simply inviting people is not enough of a strategy,” Bradley asserts. “An event organizer should know how they plan to drum up coverage leading up to and during the event and ensure that the right opportunities are in place to get that coverage.”
However, also remember that promotion does not stop when the event ends. Organizers should make a continuous effort to continue to highlight their event on social media in the days and even weeks after the event. This ongoing promotion can continue to bring attention to the organization’s mission and build further demand for future events.
With these steps, it is possible to ensure not only a healthy influencer turnout but also that those influencers provide the scope and quantity of coverage desired. “After all, an event isn’t just for fun — there is some promotional purpose to hosting an event,” says Bradley. “Implementing these strategies will put an event’s budget to good use.”