food for thought

Hosting a successful influencer event

Pictured from left to right: Alexa Morr, Bre Patterson, and Leanne Ray

You probably already know that having several Influencers talking up your company on social media would be a fast and hugely impactful way to raise awareness about your offerings, but what’s the best way to set that up and put your best foot forward? Read on to learn about how to host an impactful influencer event:

An Influencer’s #1 Priority

The bread and butter for most Influencers is their Instagram feed, their other social media, and if they have one, their blog. The ability to take their own great photos for that eye-catching Instagram story or post is essential. Unlike traditional media, who are often writing longer, more in-depth pieces, Influencers like to get in and out quickly, and don’t need a lot of in-depth detail and backstory on your company. If you can make this work for you, the best case scenario is to hold an Influencer event in addition to a (traditional) media event, so you can adjust the format and schedule, to offer what each are looking for the most. (Check out our blog post on “How to Hold a Successful Media Event”.)

Timing is Everything

Influencers often have “day jobs”, so we like to hold our Influencer events on the weekend – a late brunch can be the perfect thing!  We recommend setting a 30-60 min period at the beginning of the event just for photograph taking, so Influencers can walk in, grab a cocktail, and freshly prepared food comes out immediately (and is refreshed often if necessary,) while they click away. After the dedicated photography session, if this is a tasting/meal, everyone can sit down and eat in a more relaxed way.

The Guest List

Knowing whom to invite can be overwhelming, especially when there are always new influencers on the scene. First, decide how many influencers you’d like to host, and if you will allow “+1s” (their guests.) We always encourage our clients to allow a +1: it makes the event more fun for the Influencer, and therefore they are more likely to attend; often their guest is an influencer of sorts themselves; and it allows the influencer a DD, which can be helpful when we’re serving several cocktails that we want them to try!

If you are not hosting a grand opening, then we recommend keeping your event intimate, so you can spend a little quality time with each attendee. Choosing may be hard if you don’t have a previous relationship, or an influencer directory to rely on. Connect with us at ROOT, here, to help you sift through the influencers that fit your company and event the best.

For our most recent Influencer event, a patio brunch launch event at the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant in Boulder, Colo, we kept things intimate with a guest list of 10 influencers. We chose food-focused influencers, each with different areas of specialty. For example, our guest Leanne of Leanne Ray, RD takes a healthy angle, and focused on local ingredients and vegetarian options, whereas Alexa with World is My Menu likes to share a restaurant’s ambiance, and her favorite dishes.

Save the Date

Using Evite and Eventbrite to send out invitations allows you to track who received their invitation, who opened it, and who RSVP’d. Evite provides a more personal touch, while Eventbrite is more professional. Both programs allow you to see when someone opens the invitation, and alert you if there are any bouncebacks.  We like the way Evite allows you to message guests individually.

Send a Reminder

This might sound like no big deal, but it’s actually really important. When your company is competing with other influencer events, it is smart to remind influencers of your upcoming event a few days before the big day. Send an automatic reminder 2-3 days before the event. This is also a way to nudge the influencers who have not yet replied to your event. Evite and Eventbrite provide an automatic reminder setting for your guests.

Sanctioned Stalking

Before your guests arrive, thoroughly research your guests online. Make sure you know who they are, and what interests them (both within and outside of their influencer work,) so you can ask about the things they’re interested in and have been doing recently, and point out things about your company to them that you know will interest them, specifically.

Pretty As a Picture

Make sure to have a staging area set up by a window for the best natural light possible. Also, consider decorating the table with attractive “props” that echo the theme or feel of your company. The more choices you give them for their photoshoot background/surrounding, the more each Influencer can adjust the look of the photo to their own liking, so they don’t feel like they’re getting the same shot as everyone else.

And you are all set for success!  Need more help? We’ve got you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions on how we can assist you in hosting your own wildly successful influencer event!

For more best practices for working with influencers, check out our “Top 6 Best Practices For Working with Influencers” blog here.


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