Blogger events are a fantastic way of marketing your brand and gaining online coverage. Here’s how to make the most of your event…
1. Mix strategy with fun
If you’ve decided to host a blogger event, you obviously have a business reason for doing this – perhaps you want more online coverage, or to increase your social media following. But there should also be a clear benefit to the blogger for attending – on receiving the invite, the first thing the blogger will want to know is ‘what’s in it for me?’ and if you want your event to be a success you need to be able to answer this question.
Successful events are those in which the benefit is mutual. Why should the blogger promote your products? (FYI ‘because they’re great’ is not the answer; there are loads of great products out there!) What your event needs to do is give the blogger an experience they might not be able to get elsewhere. Inviting them in store for a preview of your products is fine, but they’ve probably had several preview invites from different brands. Why not make yours different by adding a little fun?
I once attended an event for a shoe brand where they provided bloggers with samples from their new shoe line and asked us to customise them. The invite was so different to anything else I’d received and it sounded like a lot of fun, so of course I said yes. At the event, they displayed all the customised shoes and the winning design was featured on their website. The winning blogger also received a free pair of shoes. The bloggers loved it and got quite competitive. Not only that, but we spent the whole night touching and getting to know the products, as well as posting pictures of them on social media while we worked on them. It was a win/win for both brand and bloggers. The best events are those that take a much more collaborative approach, allowing bloggers to do what they do best – be creative – whilst also providing you with the coverage you’re after.
2. Allow online registrations
Most brands organising events tend to send individual invites to bloggers via email, but by allowing bloggers to register online via services like Eventbrite you can collect a bit more data about your attendees and make it easier for them to share it with fellow bloggers. Eventbrite is great because it allows you to set a limit on the number of tickets and create mandatory fields in the registration process (e.g. tell us your email address, blog URL and Twitter handle). You can also set it to send out reminders to bloggers before the event to ensure they attend, and follow up with them afterwards in a thank you email.
3. Hashtag it
Make it easy for bloggers to share your event by creating a specific hashtag for it. A good hashtag is short, unique to your event, and ideally mentions your brand name so that those searching for it knows who is organising it, e.g. #StyleTribeBlogMeet. Having a hashtag means posts about your event can be easily grouped together and you could even include a widget on your website that pulls in all tweets that use your hashtag, providing great live content.
It also offers you a great way of measuring the social media impact of your event – tools like Tweetreach or Hashtracking will be able to tell you how many mentions your hashtag received and the potential reach of this.
4. Provide reasons to share on the day
To maximise the social media impact of your event, you’ll want bloggers to post as much as possible while they are at your event, but how do you get them to do this? It helps if you make it fun for them – for example, if you’re having a cocktail party, why not create a branded ‘photo booth’ area with props that they can pose with and post selfies? Or if you want them to feature your products, you could turn it into a competition and set them a challenge – e.g. the most creative product pic taken on the night wins a prize?
5. Follow up
After the event, don’t forget to measure the impact by looking at your social media stats – things like hashtag mentions and reach and @mentions for your brand by date will give you an idea of how much of a boost the event has given you. As well as quantitative research though, make sure you get some qualititative information too – read the blog posts and see what impressions the bloggers came out with. You could even create an online survey and email it out to them to see if their opinion of your brand has changed as a result of attending the event. Events are a great opportunity to learn from customers and drive your brand forward, so don’t waste them.
Still new to working with bloggers? Watch my video, five ways to engage with bloggers to help get you started.