The Key: Social Team Formation, Training, Coaching and Willingness to PLAY!
The Challenge: Help us fill our event in three weeks!
So many of you saw the previous Blog post on the Informs IMPAC 2017 show here in Chicago. Well, the INFORMS people came to us about three weeks before the show and said they needed a short, low-cost campaign to fill their event with paying event attendees at the Notre Dame Chicago Campus. We viewed this as the ultimate Social Influencer challenge: with a small budget and very little time, could we use our core network to make this event pop and possibly put some butts in seats? We took a close look at our network and talked briefly among our team; then we decided to take on the challenge and thought we would give it a shot with our Social Influencer Event System. Spoiler alert: it was a dramatic success! I have outlined the highlights of our steps below.
Strategy: Look at the impact and influence of the network
We faced the challenge of two networks coming together. FinTech Analytics and Sports Analytics are two different groups, with two entirely different networks. Keep in mind we look at every event like a sporting event, so we assemble networks and sub-networks like “Social Teams”, where there are levels of talent and groupings based on each levels’ commitment to the organization and desire for it to succeed, i.e., corporate championship. So, our typical method is to run what we call our “Inside Out” analysis. It might be easiest to follow along with the diagram below:
Prep work: We make sure first and foremost that we connect all of our teams and brands to the teams associated with the event. We also score all Team Players on the diagram above, both professionals and brands, so we know who the strongest players are – and consequently the ones most likely to participate. As much as you’d like for everyone to participate, we find we mostly get a 50% participation rate; however, some groups surprise us with a higher level of play.
Get the Teams Ready for Play
1. Core Team (Level One) – these were the Board Members. We were able to get agreement ahead of time for willingness to play. This is critical; without this buy-in, it does not work. So, a big shout out to the Board Members listed below who allowed us to start this machine rolling. A special shout out to Andrea Leiter who was our initial content and spark to get the troops assembled and have them agree to play with us.
They agreed to allow us to train them on how to play on social media and how to interact with our content. Our Social Jack™ Influencer Team Training purposely keeps it simple and easy for busy people to play the game with us and it’s proven to be highly effective. Board Members also agreed to connect us to the next level of the network, the Speaker Team.
2. Speaker Team (Level Two) – The Speakers were all connected to the Board Members (Team One), so we worked to have them reach out and ask the Speakers to play with our content. We then also provide weekly online coaching sessions for all clients and subscribers so they have a place to go. Don’t forget to also include the Speakers’ brands as part of the game! On our Social Jack™ Platform, we also record all training and coaching sessions for review. We then reach out to all Speakers and invite them to participate. When we have more time, we offer our training and coaching program for Speakers; unfortunately, for this run we could not organize our training for all Speakers.
3. Sponsor Team (Level Three) – Sponsors typically are invested; however, many do not know how to play socially. We had the Board Members with the best relationships personally contact the Sponsors and ask them to participate; some even sent email blasts in addition to social posting and engagement. Most are typically invested as they too want the eyeballs on their brand — or they would not be Sponsors. We watched and helped the Sponsors boost their message as part of the process. Reciprocity is part of the success recipe here!
4. Connected Influencer Team (Level Four) – This is our “secret sauce”: so, we find the Influencer Players in our network, depending on the type of event, audience, etc. Sometimes we have more and sometimes less. In this case we reached out to everyone — from media contacts related to sports and everyone we knew in FINTECH. We wound up with a team of about 35 people of which about 20 played nicely. There was a great variety of participation, ranging from emails to social media placement of banner ads to attendance. Too many to mention here, suffice it to say however that we could not have done it without these players in this process.
Time to Play
Once we have team connections and agreements in place, it’s really time to play! As soon as we had the board trained, we then mapped out our messaging with emails, social media and advertising. We had to move fast since we had a super short promotion window, with very little time for testing. We had to lead out with our best guestimates for the message and tweak on the fly as needed.
We created content calendars and sent those out to all the team players that were trained and those that had agreed to play with us online. As always, some jumped in right away and some needed a little nudge and still others did not show up. No-shows are a hard fact, but in this case, most showed up to play with us online and some even went the extra mile with sending extra emails and even posted their own supply of social media. The most important thing is for all team members to understand what and when you will be posting so they can interact with you, so the best bet is to have your content done in advance, let speakers and sponsors know when they will be featured and where, and then communicate like crazy on approach.
Ongoing Coaching Support
In our weekly Social Jack™ coaching sessions, we provide unlimited support for all clients and students. This means if they want to understand LinkedIn more, we teach that; if they want to play more on Twitter, we teach that. Whatever they need we are there to help them. This way they never feel alone in the game, and for many this is a new game for them. We understand that many of these people are new to this game and we want them to succeed just by being part of the event.
That Extra Reach
To continue this thought, think about if you have a speaker that only has 50 followers on Twitter, then you show them how to get another 20, then how to attach to their brand and other influencers in their world. You are now changing the game one person, one network at a time. We literally received many inquiries and orders just from this method alone.
In this case we had:
8 Board Members
20 Connected Influencers
The total estimated “targeted” social reach ended up being over 75 million connections, and that is a very conservative estimate.
The Outcome: 85 attendees for a paid event within 20 days!
One More Thing
Always think of the “one more thing”: what is one more tweet, post, share or like that can be done and where. We went into LinkedIn Groups, Alumni Groups and other areas, and in the home stretch that also helped. So, remember when doing this, stick to the plan and — like you do at the gym — always go for one more thing!
There were many more things that we did behind the scenes as part of our process, but I hope this brings you ideas and thoughts of how you can bring more people to your events through Influencer Marketing. We are all Influencers and have a powerful network once it is activated, it’s just that some of us are new and just starting out. Remember that the largest Influencers started with just a few followers at some point and built up to what you now know. The cool thing is that it is never too late to start.
For many of you this seems way out there, it is new, it is growing, it is changing all the time. If you want to know more or want to get a walk-through of our system, I encourage you to visit our website or our Coaching and Training Platform.
Oh — one more thing, remember as you start your journey, you are never alone as long as you follow the Social Teaming methodology described earlier in this blog post. Please let us know how you do as you grow your brand and yourself as an influencer, we would love to feature you or maybe refer to you during one of our upcoming events. After all, our event clients are always looking for the next up-and-coming influencer!
We will see you online…. Influencing! 😊