Six tips for marketers on how to host a successful influencer relations event
If you walked by the Quincy Street Kitchen in Minneapolis a few weeks ago, you’d have seen guests enjoying dinner featuring Armenian holiday grilled chicken served with guasacaca sauce, along with Venezuelan pulled chicken empanadas and seasonal panna cotta. But that was no restaurant at the invitation-only soirée at Quincy Street. In fact, our PR agency teamed up with client Just BARE® Chicken to host an influencer event to build relationships between the brand and influencers in Minneapolis, a key market for Just BARE. As you can see from these photos, the atmosphere was festive and fun – influencers had the opportunity to interact directly with the Just BARE brand via an exclusive, celebrity chef-led experience, and the brand was able to engage with influencers in person.
Interested in hosting your own influencer event? Below are our top six tips that will help any marketer create a successful event:
1: Be clear about your event objective
Influencer events can be expensive to produce, so be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish for the brand. Are you building relationships between key influencers and your brand? Are you previewing a new product and want it teased to the public? Are you creating brand content that can be shared on your brand’s owned communication platforms? Whatever you’re trying to achieve, make sure the activities you’re including in the influencer event help you accomplish your goal, which will allow you to measure the return on investment (ROI) more effectively.
2: Think beyond your product category
When considering which influencers to invite, make sure the invitees make sense for your brand. And don’t be afraid to think beyond the immediate category. If your client is a food brand, don’t just invite food influencers. Consider other categories of influencers such as parenting and lifestyle, who can help amplify your brand message to a broader audience.
3: Give influencers a reason to attend, and make it easy for them to come to your event
Influencers get invited to many events throughout the year. To help cut through the event invite clutter, make your event exclusive to influencers and other VIPs and incorporate experiences they aren’t able to get anywhere else – such as seeing a new product first or the chance to meet a celebrity.
#3.5 Mini tip: Little tricks such as arranging car service or sharing an Uber or Lyft ride code can help turn an invited influencer’s “no” into a “yes.”
4. Create an experience and make it interactive
At our Just BARE influencer dinner, brand spokesperson and Food Network star Chef George Duran demonstrated Venezuelan pulled chicken empanadas. But instead of just stopping there, the influencers had the opportunity to make their own empanadas, enabling them to learn first-hand from an expert. Not only did the influencers get excited about learning a new culinary skill, they loved being able to get in on the action. Not surprisingly, social sharing increased considerably during this time frame.
#4.5 Mini tip: Speaking of social sharing, have your event hashtag, brand and spokesperson handles displayed throughout the venue for easy (and trackable) reference.
5: Think through your brand story and how it comes to life in your influencer event
From the décor to the food and music, make sure the event elements represent your brand and look cohesive. During our Just BARE event, we worked with the brand spokesperson Chef Duran to create recipes that would be integrated into the three-course dinner, which was paired with organic wine from family-owned farms, both of which matched the Just BARE brand philosophy. The décor featured organic materials, with touches of the Just BARE brand colors. And to tie everything together, we had upbeat ambient music playing in the background. All of these elements lent themselves to a memorable and Instagrammable event.
6. Hangry is a real thing
It doesn’t matter what type of influencer event you’re hosting, make sure to have enough food and beverages on hand. Even though this advice seems obvious, you’d be surprised at how many influencer events come up short in this area. Offering a beverage and having food available as soon as an influencer walks through the door ensures a good first impression. At our Just BARE event, influencers were greeted with a choice of beverage options, and we set up a separate area for appetizers, which included locally-sourced cheese and charcuterie. Pro tip: Always ask if there are any food intolerances in an RSVP follow-up to make sure every influencer has something they can eat and enjoy at your event.
Below, some of the most delectable images taken at Maccabee’s Quincy Street Kitchen event for Just Bare Chicken.
*All photos by Quincy Street Kitchen.
Christine Scherping is vice president at Minneapolis-based Maccabee, a strategic public relations and online marketing agency.