If people love your event, they’ll definitely talk about your brand. It’s as simple as that.
Look at the events that The Next Web (TNW), a future-proof tech media company, is planning.
Every year, big names from marketing, technology, and entrepreneurship announce their presence at the TNW conference.
Attendees share their excitement for the event on social media. There are ticket giveaways and buzz all over the internet.
Tech or marketing professionals (as well as other professionals) decide to attend or follow the conference via social media thanks to hundreds of other brand advocates, who are happy to talk about all the amazing stuff this media company is doing.
And how about the Hodinkee events?
As an online magazine, Hodinkee became famous thanks to featuring in-depth reviews and critiques on watches of a particular high quality.
To build a platform for like-minded people and increase brand awareness, Hodinkee decided to hold events.
From evenings with famous watchmakers and exclusive launches to soiree meetups and private dinners with important watch producers, Hodinkee increased its fame through exclusive events.
Although different from the TNW conferences (considering the format, content, and type of attendees), Hodinkee also managed to gather an important group of brand advocates who are more than delighted to talk about their experiences with the media brand.
There’s no shortage of reasons why a company should run events.
Whether it’s to attract new leads or increase sales, if executed well, these face-to-face meetings with well-defined target groups have an impressive potential and conversion rate.
That’s why, when planning your next event, you should forget all of your other goals and focus on one thing only: generating as many brand advocates as possible.
Why should you turn your attendees into brand advocates?
So what’s so special about brand advocates, and why you should care about them? Because of the one truth you have to admit: No matter how many Facebook ads you pay for or how skillfully written your company’s website is, nothing will beat the excitement of your brand advocates promoting your events, services, or products.
As the entrepreneur Chen Wang indicates, brand advocates “are your most faithful and intense customers.”
He highlights that these people are eager to talk about their experience with your brand, basically giving you free advertising.
They can also influence their peers to pay attention to your company or consume your products and services. Brand advocates are people who get the word-of-mouth going, rewarding your marketing efforts.
Whenever you build an event strategy or plan a brand event, consider increasing the number of this type of influencer by winning their loyalty.
How to transform your guests into brand advocates
When managing an event, you must deal with multiple planning and marketing challenges. As you probably already know, logistics can’t wait.
However, make sure to schedule some time to plan your strategy for turning attendees into brand advocates.
Here are some tips you may want to consider:
Tip #1. Use a narrow-content strategy for your event
When your company has multiple services or products, it’s often difficult to come up with just one event topic. You may tend to go general and try to cover as many topics as possible; however, this is a mistake you must avoid.
First, it will keep you from attracting high-quality guests (nobody likes to waste time on generalities).
Second, since you won’t be able to gather qualified guests, you likely won’t gain many brand advocates.
To attract high-quality guests, you must identify a desirable attendee persona. Subsequently, your responsibility is to find a narrow-content strategy for the event that will actually interest the people you want to invite.
A narrow-content strategy will let you channel your planning efforts into generating valuable solutions for your attendees and actually help them overcome certain challenges.
Use this strategy to help you attract the right people and convert them into brand advocates.
Tip #2. Run exclusive events
For a greater impact, think about planning top-notch events for a smaller number of attendees.
Excellence is something that will always attract potential brand advocates and make them want to talk about your company. Think about planning exclusive interviews with important leaders, themed breakfasts, or even a VIP reception for a reduced number of guests.
This will make your attendees feel special and important to your company, which will make them want to be your brand advocates.
Tip #3. Invite extraordinary speakers
There’s one aspect you might overlook when designing an event program: the speakers.
They play a big part in how many people attend, the success of your event promotion, your industry positioning, and how many brand advocates you’ll generate.
If you can wow your attendees with star speakers, your brand will instantly become more attractive and truly memorable (and loved) in their eyes.
Tip #4. Solve problems during events
Don’t invite people to your brand events and just offer them educational content. Although this information may be valuable or interesting, if the content’s not adapted to your guests’ needs, it won’t have much impact.
What you want from your events is to gain more brand advocates, meaning you’ll have to find a more efficient way to show your commitment to providing them the best. Instead of channeling all of your efforts into facts or figures, plan your event around the problem-solving concept.
Identify a series of burning pains your attendees might have and find a way to help them overcome these challenges. This strategy will guarantee you a few loyal brand advocates.
Tip #5. Keep the brand experience going after the event
If you think your job stops after the event, you’re wrong. On the contrary, to provide a truly coherent brand experience, you must constantly engage with your attendees, post-event included.
Your attendees won’t become brand advocates out of the blue.
You’ve got to work to emphasize your brand’s commitment to your attendees’ wellbeing outside of the event environment.
For an efficient follow-up strategy, apart from the standard thank-you emails or post-event surveys, engage with your audience by sharing relevant content that was discussed during the event, discounts or coupons off products or services, free trials, or invitations to future exclusive gatherings.
From a marketing perspective, there’s nothing stronger than the emotional connection between your attendees and your brand.
So instead of running events where your only focus is to sell your products or services (which is always a very bad move), design an authentic experience for your guests, highlight the added value your company can provide, and show your honest desire to help your attendees overcome their most burning problems.
By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to building a community of dedicated brand advocates.