Industry Content & Media

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Influencers and KOLs at Events


Key opinion leaders and social influencers can boost your event-marketing plan, connect with attendees, and support overall brand strategy.

Engaging with influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) can make a real difference to event marketing — impacting not only how your event is perceived but the lasting impression it will make. Social Influencers, for example, can harness the power of FOMO (fear of missing out) to encourage their followers to sign up to attend your event and also get them excited about what to expect.

Laura Howell, client services coordinator at agency FreemanXP, says a prominent influencer can add appeal and credibility to your event. “A keynote delivered by an influencer who is considered an expert in their field, or panel sessions featuring top brands that delve into pressing industry issues can help draw in the crowds,” Howell said. “Importantly, they’ll also leave attendees with a sense of satisfaction that they’ve learned something new or feel inspired as they head home for the day.”

When considering KOLs, it’s important to understand their individual personalities, beliefs, and what they stand for. According to Zoe Cheng, business development director at agency X2 Creative, having the right influencer for the right type of audience is equally important.

Cheng recommends event specialists research those brands with which influencers have engaged previously, and check their social rating and fan engagement. For example, are they influencers who interact with their fans? How do they interact with them? Who are their fans? Once you have found the right influencers for your event, it is also important to ensure they are well briefed so they understand what you are asking of them.

“Always discuss the style of post that they can curate and ways they can help uplift the brand/event” prior to it taking place, Cheng said, “so everything is clear with each KOL. Get them to spread word of the event and give their followers a little teaser.”

During the event, Cheng suggests creating experiences that surprise and entice — and are shareable. The key is making the event a unique experience for attendees and influencers to capture via photo or video. With Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook stories, creating special moments for video is vital. As these influencers are likely to attend many events, being more than relevant and exceeding their expectations is important too.

To harness the value of influencers and KOLs, Oscar Cerezales, COO, Asia-Pacific at MCI Group, suggests defining the criteria of what an influencer means to the conference.

For Cerezales, influencers fall into four key categories: Alphas, who help in positioning the conference via the “credibility” factor; Platforms, who are able to connect stakeholders such as delegates, non-delegates, members, sponsors, media, and government; Amplifiers, who are needed to boost the content-marketing plan; and Thinkers, who support the overall brand strategy.

“Agree on the right number, probably no less than three,” Cerazales said. “Don’t go just for one, and no more than five. Come up with a strategy and tactical plan from them based on content (what), platforms (where and how), timelines, and specific performance indicators. Remember that free is not always ‘good’ — you may need to remunerate them and it’s also vital to track their progress.”

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