If you want it or not, we are all influencers, that’s a fact. We are all influenced by our surroundings, friends, family, or neighbours. We called it word of mouth and it’s nothing new. The old-fashioned word of mouth is now multiplied through the social media channels.
Influencers have an immediate impact on our perception, the way we think and our decision making. The MICE industry is no exception here and we can already see a lot of tech forward companies and governmental organisations using these opportunities to get ahead of the competition.
15th century charm on the outside & modern 5 🌟 style on the inside Whilst in Bruges I popped into Hotel Dukes’ Palace for a snoop around 🏰 (we all do it right #eventprofs?) Head to @meetinflanders stand at #IMEX18 to learn about their meeting space for 140 #MeetInFlanders #ad pic.twitter.com/q9QwR6EpoE
— 𝐀𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚 𝐓𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐥𝐨𝐰 (@AmandaThurlow) May 3, 2018
Some people talk disgracefully about influencers, please don’t. If so, you have no idea how much dedicated work it is to create a real audience online, and every step they make is being visualised. To become an influencer as a fulltime job is a ton of work… and yes it’s a job, a passion, and requires a lot of patience, dedication and perseverance. It might look like a dream job and in many ways it is, but it’s no walk in the park. They are very commited to their work and their audience. Doing what a devoted influencer does, often requires a lot of know-how, experience and skill.
To be honest we have a hate-love relationship with the word ‘influencer’ because it doesn’t cover the whole job description. It’s become a catch-all term that no longer receives the recognition it deserves. The meaning of the word KOL= Key Opinion Leader, that’s being used in China, seems to more adequately reflect the correct description of the ‘influencers’ our company is working with.
So what are the characteristics of the Key Opinion Leaders in the world of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events)?
- They’re focused on a specific topic : the MICE sector is a huge industry and therefore you need to have a niche. this might be an event agency, tourism office, trends & development agency, large conference organizer or incentive specialist. These KOL’s know all the ins & outs about their topic.
- They have professional experience or training related to their chosen topic. To create a valuable audience of followers and decision makers, you must show that you have a proven track record, by working in the industry, taking courses or another credible source.
- They have a distinct voice and content style. KOL’s are very deliberate about which content they publish because it’s their personal brand. They tread carefully and make sure their content is created with their audience and topic in mind.
- They’re community leaders who strive to provide value to their audience with the content they create. If you want to stand out from the market, you need to be value driven, this is something KOL’s understand perfectly. They want their posts to be seen, their blogs to be read, and their videos to be watched. If you don’t add value, if you don’t speak about a topic that your readers care about, why bother?
- They’re strategic and have a plan for the development of their personal brand. A good KOL knows that they shouldn’t just communicate at random. They create a plan up front and stick to it. Everything from a post schedule, to key message points to tone-of-voice is strategically created. We still learn a lot from our KOL in how consistent and value driven some of them are.
- They’ve developed their audience gradually. If you’re a professional KOL, buying followers is completely out of the question. You want to build a relationship with your followers, create a community, and you will not reach this by buying your followers.
- They value their reputation more than money. Depending on the industry, KOL’s receive offers from companies to work with. They are careful in choosing the right partner to work with and are usually looking for a partner with similar values. If you as a company want to approach a KOL directly, do a thorough background check, or ask a, agency to support you in this process. It will save you time and frustration. Know that an agency already has a lot of pre-existing relationships or at least knows the best way to approach a KOL.
Interested to work with KOL’s in the MICE industry? Word of MICE is dedicated to the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events industry and will support you during the entire process from searching the right KOL, setting up the campaign, contracting, and reporting during and after the campaign.
Or interested, curious to become an influencer in the MICE industry?