Event Outreach: Questions to Ask When Choosing Social Influencers on Twitter

Apr 15 2013

Many of you have learned about our Mambo methodology for thought leader identification, segmentation and engagement. You may even have read my previous blog post on event lead nurturing. This week, I have been managing thought leader (social influencer) outreach in Twitter for a client event, and I wanted to share how we approached event influencer identification.

It’s easy to make the recommendation to someone else that they should “reach out” to everyone on their thought leader list. Unfortunately, there’s a fine line between outreach and annoyance. I’m always sensitive to the possibility of people (and yes, “social influencers” truly ARE people, not just numbers in a spreadsheet) feeling like they’re receiving spam in Twitter, especially when it comes via their email Inbox. Building relationships before an event is the best way to improve your outreach comfort level.

Why Share Event Information with Influencers?
Your reasons for contacting social influencers to share event details will depend on your goals. Before an event, you may hope for increased registrations from your target audience. During and after an event, you may want to share announcements made or assets created (photos, videos, etc.). You may want to:

  • Give influencers the event hashtag, and ask them to retweet any tweets that catch their eye
  • Share the URL to your event registration page, and ask them to write a blog post about it
  • Give them early information about an announcement that will be made at the event, so they can begin to write a blog post or article
  • Send them the URL to an event video, and ask them to share it with their networks

Questions to Ask

List the Twitter thought leaders who typically tweet about the topics of your event, and then ask these questions about each influencer:

  • Is he/she following our Twitter account?
    • If so, the influencer will be more open to hearing from you directly
    • Reach out to most of your contacts via DM (those who are following you) to avoid sending more than a few personal tweets per day and making them visible in your public feed
    • If you must send tweets to people who aren’t following you, please avoid copy/pasting the exact same tweet to multiple influencers. Take the time to vary tweet content, even if the meaning is the same.
  • Have we had previous Direct Message conversations with that influencer?
    • When you open the window to send or receive a DM, previous DM conversations are visible. You may see that you’ve previously sent DMs to social influencers to thank them for a blog post or comment on something they had promoted. In these cases, influencers will most likely be more open to receiving a DM from you about your event.
  • How much regular daily interaction do we have with that influencer?
    • You may notice that the more frequent your daily interaction with a certain influencer (retweeting or tweeting about his/her content, linking to influencer content in a blog post), the more comfortable you’ll feel about sending a DM to him/her
    • Don’t hesitate to remove someone from your list if a quick study of their tweets shows a negative response to others who reach out to them

How to Determine the ROI of Event Outreach

Keep an eye on your social influencers after you contact them to determine:

  • How many of them responded in some way (RTs, tweets, blog posts, comments, etc.)
  • Of those who did respond, what is their reach? For example, if an influencer tweeted about your event, take note of how many followers he/she has
  • Did you receive any negative responses from your social influencers who didn’t want to be contacted directly? If so, be sure to put them on a DNC (Do Not Contact) list for future announcements.

As you’ve likely realized, event outreach doesn’t only require effort at the time of an event. Everyday engagement with your thought leaders helps pave the way for those moments when you hope they will be willing to share your event content with their networks.

What other questions do you ask when you’re choosing influencers to contact about an event?

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