This is a guest blog by Georgina Rutherford, Head of Marketing and Communications at IMA, a full-service agency that helps leading international brands to engage with and activate audiences through the power of influencer marketing. 

Long before social media, event marketers would pay for celebrities to promote their events and add credibility. As social media channels continue to gain popularity, consumers are more wary of what they believe when it comes to brand messaging. 92% of them trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement.

Enter influencer marketing: a way for organisers to leverage the social capital of influential individuals to promote events to an engaged audience and drive attendance. But as the industry matures, the price of working with influencers is on the rise. Especially when we’re talking about follower counts in the millions.

It may seem logical to think that larger social followings mean a higher return on investment, but marketers are beginning to understand that bigger isn’t always better. ‘Micro-influencers’ have smaller followings but are extremely valuable for your event. Not just in terms of large-scale exposure, but because of their ability to drive meaningful engagement, making it easier for you to move your target consumer from potential to actual attendee.

Why micro-influencers?

It comes down to the manageability and focus that a smaller following allows for. Micro-influencers are able to maintain more intimate relationships with their audience which encourages higher levels of engagement. This means that more people are hearing about your event from a source they really trust.

It also means that the message will actually resonate. Micro-influencers are perceived as more authentic than larger-scale influencers and are actually 6.7 times more efficient per engagement. They are also much more affordable to work with.

I would recommend working with several micro-influencers to create the best possible reach and impact. That doesn’t mean you have to pay them. In fact, providing micro-influencers with experiences such as VIP passes or exclusive parties is a great way to generate earned media that will maximise the impact of your message.

Not only will working with micro-influencers generate more impactful conversation, it will also help you reach a very targeted audience in a specific niche or even geographical location. Which is great if you’re looking at promoting an event in a specific city or engage fans of a unique music genre.

Ultimately, micro-influencers drive the power of word-of-mouth at scale. They know their audience better than anyone and have the ability to tell stories about your events that will turn their followers into your fans.

Putting your micro-influencer strategy in motion

It is important to pinpoint what your objectives are when it comes to working with influencers before exploring your options. You are most likely looking to create awareness about your event as a stepping stone to selling tickets. But what about increasing online visibility, reaching new markets and encouraging consumer loyalty? Getting these goals down on paper will help you better understand which audience you need to be tapping into before you invest in the wrong one.

The next step is finding the right micro-influencers who are a perfect match for your event. Start by looking close to home: perhaps on your business page, existing social channels, or through relevant hashtags for people who have smaller followings (1-60K) and are already fans. Once you start ‘social listening’ you will be able to determine who your micro-influencers are, what kind of content they’re creating and where they’re sharing it.

There are agencies set up to help you identify micro-influencers, shape your strategy and take the work out of your hands. You can also use social media tools to do so, or even start yourself. Keep in mind that building a personal relationship and aiming for a long-term partnership are important. If a micro-influencer feels they have the freedom to create content and grow with you over time, you will have a much more successful collaboration.

As social media usage shows no sign of slowing down, there will only be more opportunities for event organisers to leverage the power of micro-influencers. No matter what niche, there’s a micro-influencer out there who you can collaborate with to draw attendees to your events.

Georgina will be leading an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on EventTribe on how to do influencer marketing for events from February 20th – 23rd. Head over and ask her any questions you may have!