Using Influencer Marketing to Drive Attendance

Author: Cristi Kempf       

Susan Sweeney

Internet marketing specialist and author Susan Sweeney, CSP, will lead an influencer marketing session on Jan. 6 at PCMA Convening Leaders 2020 in San Francisco.

Social-media influencers have moved far beyond the Kardashians. A recent study by InfluencerDB found that Instagram alone has more than 500,000 active influencers, and influencer marketing spending on the platform totaled more than $5 billion globally last year.

How is influencer marketing affecting the business events industry? “There have been 300 new influencer marketing agencies … in the last 12 months,” Susan Sweeney, CSP, an internet marketing specialist and author, recently told Convene. “The meetings industry will see more [influencer marketing], get more comfortable with it, and [use] it more.”

Sweeney, who has written eight books on internet marketing, including Social Media for Business, will lead a “Media” studio session titled “Influencers 101: Who Are They and How to Make Them Work For You” on Jan. 6 at PCMA Convening Leaders 2020 in San Francisco.

At her Convening Leaders session, Sweeney, who is also the dean of the education portal, said she will help attendees determine if influencer marketing would work for them and will discuss such things as whether to compensate influencers and how to measure results.

While influencers’ role in marketing, including for business events, is growing, eMarketer reported that a recent Cision and PRWeek survey found that only 39 percent of marketers in the U.S. feel confident about their ability to identify the right influencers.

Broadly defined, a social-media influencer leverages their authority, knowledge, or relationship with an audience or industry to persuade people to buy a product or service. That does not just mean celebrities and big-name keynote speakers, Rachel Stephan, DES, senior event marketing strategist at sensov/event marketing, previously told Convene.

“If I influence one person to go [to] or to learn more about an event, I’m an influencer,” Stephan said. “Imagine you have 4,000 attendees, and everyone influences one new person to go. It’s as simple as that.”

To learn more about PCMA Convening Leaders 2020 and view updates to the program, visit

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