On Monday, February 15th, at SUSHISAMBA West Village, a stylish set with a combined reach of 1.2 million Instagram followers were seated in the rooftop lounge for the first Blogger and the Brand event. If you haven’t heard of Blogger and the Brand, that’s fine. The goal of these events are to connect New York City bloggers with brands in an organic way while educating influencers on the fundamentals of legal disclosure, analytics, tracking and new collaborative tools such as Shopping Links (one of our event sponsors). While no agency plans any event without doing research, here are a few things our event planning research failed to highlight. With these tips and a little creativity in your side, hopefully, you will be a little more prepared for your next blogger event!
1. Instagrammable space
Instagrammable should definitely be a word. Or if it isn’t, let’s all join together to make it a thing. When dealing with bloggers, especially in fashion and beauty, it’s sometimes hard to remember that they are extremely creative people who want to let that creativity shine through visual content shared back with their followers. The concept of Instagrammable space goes far beyond having a beautiful venue. It’s also about providing design elements for bloggers to create their own capture of the space. Our team laid out tables of cut roses, Vodka Mariette (our lovely non-GMO drink for the night), candles and collateral. Within minutes of arriving, attendees were creating the perfect collages for their social channels.
Takeaway: Ensure that multiple elements of the room can be configured or arranged to be photographed, as bloggers will move a chair and add a pair of heels to get the perfect shot. Make it easy (and encouraged) for them to do so.
2. Don’t skimp on the lighting
Unless your goal is to have paparazzi flashes and heads down fiddling for the perfect filter, ensure the room is very bright. Most cell phone cameras focus amazingly well in bright rooms (and aren’t great in dim lighting). Using the flash also means lower-quality pictures, which means your event won’t look as good as it could when shared online.
Our litmus test for brightness were out gift bags. One of our sponsors, Ecru New York, had packaged their product in white organza bags with a satin lace. If the camera had to flash to recognize the product against a similar marble tabletop it was too dark.
Takeaway: We definitely wish we had turned up the lights even more. When it comes to blogger parties, the brighter the better.
3. More is more is more
We didn’t stop accepting blogger RSVPs until the day of our event. As luck would have it, our event fell on a cold, slushy Monday night, but attendance was still strong, boosted in part by our willingness to accept those last-minute decisions.
We planned to have 40 bloggers in attendance and reached that goal, but our final RSVP list included well over 90. Don’t even ask how large the initial invite list had to be to get 90 RSVPs.
Takeaway: When in doubt, more is more, especially when hosting a blogger event mid-winter.
4. Make room
It’s not only important to have “Instagrammable Space,” but a venue large enough to allow for the mini blogger entourage. The most successful bloggers will want to bring a photographer or manager or someone else who can assist them with capturing the event. This means that event management needs to consider more bodies, more more equipment, coats and cords to contend with. Due to space limitations, we were unable to provide room for extra persons, yet the venue was still near capacity despite the snow. This is definitely a key learning for next time.
Takeaway: When planning your blogger-focused event, be sure to consider room for extra photographers, particularly for more prominent influencers who will only post a perfectly curated and styled image. While it might be a little extra hassle, it’s well worth the return in earned media.
5. Make sponsors happy with interactive exhibits
We didn’t actually have the space to implement this one, but create interactive displays or sectioned-off spaces that provide sponsors with an opportunity to engage directly with bloggers is a great way boost sponsor ROI, while providing a sneak peek and speculation around the almighty goody bag. goodies they will receive. Whether this means having a display stand with a sample fragrance bar or a mannequin with a beautiful gown, giving bloggers a peek at their goodies definitely “peaks” their curiosity and leads to more excitement and photography surrounding the event.
Takeaway: Always have the gift bags somewhat visible, as this assures bloggers that there is a reward for their time.
There were quite a few other learnings that we discovered during the blogger event, including the need to repeat and encourage the use of the event hashtag – all night long! But these are simple line-items and nothing that cannot be managed with proper planning.
So when considering your next blogger event, we hope you keep the above in mind and let us know how it goes!
About Marcus Campbell
Marcus is the founder of Ombre Digital, a digital fashion marketing agency focused on helping emerging brands develop or augment their online presence through proven digital tactics in advertising, content, email, PR, search and social. Ombre Digital seeks to level the playing field by sharing “big brand” marketing strategies to small fashion and beauty entrepreneurs wherever they go.