Influencer marketing strategy and webinars? It’s a combination with huge potential. However, it doesn’t mean it’s flawless and easy to implement. What steps do you need to take to team up with authority from your business sector? How to organize a webinar with an influencer valuable to your target audience? And mostly – will this online event leave a smile on your face or a grimace of disappointment and frustration?
Can you imagine this scenario: another day waiting for a response to your e-mail, dozens of missed phone calls, never-ending agreement signing process, and last – nervously checking your inbox hoping to receive a webinar presentation?
Unfortunately, organizing a webinar with a renowned influencer has its dark side. What are the traps on this path and what do you need to do not to fall in any of them?
Let’s find out:
Step 1 – How to search for influencers
At this stage, there are two options:
PR agency. If you cooperate with a professional PR agency regularly, there is a significant chance they will have contacts with the opinion leaders regarding your business niche. They might as well have ready-made packages in terms of collaboration with a social media influencer. In this case, it’s best to arrange an online meeting with the account manager from your agency and discuss their suggested solutions. If you see a portfolio with specific names, you can at once rule out those who have nothing in common with your industry. Pick a few candidates and ask for their prices.
Search with your resources. You don’t have to limit yourself to the offers pitched by your agency. Following this scenario, you go for your independence. Either by yourself or with the help of your team, you can try to track down an influencer, who will have not only the knowledge and experience but also will be able to trigger the changes within the industry. You’re going on a search for someone who knows your niche inside out. To save your time and effort, make the most of tools offered by BuzzSumo or Brand24.
Now, whichever above option will be closer to your heart, you will have to do some homework and deeply analyze your potential webinar guest hosts.
Take a closer look at how such influencers present themselves on the Internet:
How many people follow them in their social media channels? What kind of stuff do they tweet about? Is the content they publish even vaguely close to the knowledge you want to share with webinars?
What about their Facebook and LinkedIn posts? Are you sure they don’t ignite controversies you wouldn’t like your audience to associate with your brand and product?
How do their followers behave on their profiles? How active are they in terms of commenting and sharing posts? Or maybe fan pages look like one-way communication channels with no feedback from the followers?
How do such influencers perform using audio and video materials? To be more specific, have your candidate for a star of your online event already tried hosting a webinar?
If yes, how it worked out for them? Was their tone of voice and style as a presenter helpful or distracting in consuming their webinar content?
Let’s make a pause here:
Try to look for a past webinar hosted by this influencer; it’s worth it! If the event was recorded, there’s a chance to see the material as an on-demand webinar.
It’s a fantastic way to check the quality of his presentation. If it were just a PowerPoint slideshow sprinkled with random comments from the presenter, you would know to let go of this candidate already at this stage.
On the other hand, if you see that the webinar host knows how to make good use of the interactive features and multimedia that a professional webinar software offers, it’s a solid reason to start your cooperation with the candidate.
This is crucial: have your future influencer already worked as a webinar guest host? In other words, have any other company before you hired him for hosting their webinar?
If yes, ask him for a piece of evidence. For starters, references from the customers, or the agency.
Second, ask for a recording and check how the presentation itself matched the customer’s visual identity, and if the webinar content precisely covered what the client asked for.
Right there you will have a chance to save your webinar from a disaster.If you see that the influencer exploited his customer’s webinar to promote himself or his commercial offer, your instincts will shout to you: abort the project!
Step 2 – How to start working with your influencer
High-five! You have found your dream influencer! Now, you ONLY have to establish your cooperation with him.
If you have decided to acquire this expert on your own, then the entire magic of the first contact will be on your (and your team’s) side. That will also mean presenting him an attractive offer, and – most importantly – underlining WHY you want his face to be a business card of your upcoming webinar.
The expert you decided to get on board, must feel that the cooperation is not a coincidence and his presence in your online event and teaming up with your brand makes sense.
If, on the other hand, you have let the agency to hire an influencer, it will be their account managers’ job to do all the initial steps. It doesn’t, however, set you free from all the bright and dark sides of direct communication with this expert (or his assistant).
After all, you call the shots.
In both scenarios, it will be essential to write down an agreement with all the terms and conditions of your cooperation. If the influencer is not satisfied with that, pull back at once, before you drown in further costs and stress lasting till the very moment of starting a webinar.
Without a signed contract, you will not be sure whether the project will fall into pieces five minutes before the event.
Step 3 – Signing up a contract
Let’s face it: the agreement is life insurance for your project. It doesn’t matter who found the influencer – your team or an agency. Putting down the terms of cooperation is unavoidable.
What should your contract include?
Date of your event. You should be super specific about it because you will schedule all the advertising campaign regarding this particular day. By that we mean all the digital marketing creations, sending e-mail invitations, content for a blog post, ads and remarketing campaign.
Content. Overestimating it is hard. We will say even more – describing your webinar content requires a mathematical precision from you. After all, it’s about your brand and webinar. So, you need to be in the process right from the start and have a final word when it comes to the presentation. The webinar content needs to correspond with your niche and offer.
Visual identity AKA corporate identity. You certainly have one. Hence the entire presentation needs to be created in your template which of course includes your logo and brand colors. It will be for the best if you deliver your template to your influencer and he will fill it with knowledge and insights.
Use of personal image. All the advertising creations, including a campaign landing page, will make use of the influencer’s image. Your contract with him has to precisely regulate using of his image in all your digital marketing creations.
- Terms and conditions.
Step 4 – Preparations and the campaign
OK, you’re all set! You have agreed on the date and signed up the contract – hurray!
You can now sign in to your webinar account and schedule an event with a specific date and hour. The next step will be about planning and deploying your entire campaign. No worries, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – on this infographic you will find an intuitive webinar promotion timeline.
Creations. It means producing the whole set of coherent marketing materials. From a graphic header for invitations and the rest of e-mail marketing activities, through a landing page, social media and video ads.
Campaign. Have you set the dates and decided on the target groups? Great! It’s a green light to deploying the campaign. Don’t miss out publishing a blog post about the webinar! It will entice your audience to join the event (don’t forget about putting a winning CTA at the end of the article).
Video. Yes, video content is a cosmic emperor; we all know that. That’s why producing at least one video clip will power up the campaign. One might be dynamic footage with stunning animation and the second one might work as a video invitation with your influencer encouraging viewers to join the webinar.
What should you remember about when creating a video invitation?
- Date and hour of the webinar
- Webinar topic
- Compelling Call-To-Action
Video. Let the agency or the presenter know that you will need a high-quality video clip (with adequate lighting, sharpness and color saturation) and professional way of presentation (aiming directly to the camera, with no reading from a piece of paper – seriously, it really HAPPENS).
Presentation. Make sure you receive it early enough to get to know it in detail. If you find anything that doesn’t come in line with what you have agreed on, you will still have time to react and send feedback asking for an improved version.
Step 5: Your webinar with an influencer – a success or a nightmare?
The campaign has come to an end, and last e-mail reminders landed in the inboxes of registered attendees.
It’s time for a big countdown. Do you feel stressed? It’s completely normal, but if everything goes according to the plan, there’s no reason to panic.
On the other hand, if your road to the webinar was winding and bumpy, it would give you justified reasons to be anxious.
Let’s take two scenarios under the microscope: a positive and a negative one.
Positive scenario – an epic win
There are almost as many attendees registered as you have planned in your moderately optimistic variant. It’s not bad at all! Your presenter sent you the presentation two days before the kick-off, which maybe could have happened earlier, but still – after a few tweaks the presentation was to ready to go. The document itself included your visual identity and the content also meets the agreement.
Right before starting the event, your presenter logs into the webinar room. You’re doing a quick dry-run to check if everything is OK. Attendees are waiting in the webinar waiting room, where they have access to the event agenda and the information about the presenter.
Ready, steady, go! It’s time to say hello to the attendees. You, as a host, are doing an introduction and then hand it over to your presenter. As the presentation goes on, you’re answering the questions in the chat window, and your influencer can focus on passing on his knowledge and valuable insights from your business sector. He wisely juggles with tools like Whiteboard or Screen Sharing.
The Q&A session. Your attendees can ask your influencer questions. It’s a perfect time for building a relationship with the audience. All sides are winners here – attendees, the influencer, and your brand as the event host.
Success! You have expanded your lead base, enhanced your brand’s image as an expert and set new trends. Last but not least – you have powered up your digital marketing with high-quality content, which you can repurpose later on as an: long-form article, blog post, e-book, or some data for a white paper.
Negative scenario – an absolute nightmare
The attendance is maybe not the worst, but it’s also far from the number of attendees you were expecting to get at the beginning.
That’s not your biggest problem, though. It’s been a couple of days now since you have been impatiently asking to get the webinar presentation. Neither the presenter, nor his assistant, is answering their phones, and your e-mails are going to the nowhere-land. It’s getting nervous because your webinar is about to start soon.
Five minutes before the event kick-off. You are logged into the account panel, there are attendees already in the waiting room, and finally, you receive the presentation, and – oh, thank goodness – you see the presenter logging into the event.
But wait! You open up the presentation, and your heart stops beating. Panic and horror. You discover there isn’t even a single pixel of your visual identity in the presentation. Under time pressure, you eventually decide to upload the file to the webinar room. Start!
After welcoming your attendees, and doing an intro for the presenter, your webinar starts. If you think it can’t go any worse, the influencer begins to promote his own commercial offer.
The painful event finally reaches the Q&A session stage, and all of your attendees (your leads you wanted to nurture with your content) are asking ONLY about the influencer’s offer. You’re going out of your mind.
The final effect – the influencer on the back of your marketing tool promotes his brand, receives qualified leads for free, and at the end – gets paid for the whole thing. From your pocket.
Webinar with an influencer – yes or no?
The above real-life scenarios are polarized, and there can be lots of differences between them.
Is it worth to invest your time, effort, and marketing budget for running a project which can be that risky?
Yes, it is! However, you need to prepare for it precisely:
- Choose your influencer wisely.
- Protect yourself with strict terms and conditions in the contract.
- Arm yourself with radical assertiveness.
After all, this is your webinar and brand.