Ultimately events are all about motivating a group of like-minded people to come together. So it is essential that as event designers, we understand what influences people to come together.
And, the most critical, the number one influence – is the influence of people, on other people.
More often than not it is the people around us that determine whether we will sign up and show up.
The Power of the People – the influence of the people around us
We set it up, and ask them to come. But it is not always easy to get their attention, to get them to come, and then to come again.
“People like us, do things like this” is a great mantra from Seth Godin, one of the world leading marketing thinkers and authors. In this statement Seth reminds us that our audiences actions are primarily driven by one question –
‘Do people like me, do things like this??’
This is the #1 question that you need to answer.
And so, there is a simple formula we can apply. If your event looks like it is for people like me – I am more likely to come. Plus, the more these people look like me, (or the people I want to be), then the more likely I am going to come.
Yes, some people like to be different, to be the outliers. But most people like to fit in. To be part of something.
When you need them the most
Interestingly, studies show that the influence of others is at its most powerful when you are uncertain. So if your event is new, has a new element, or involves some risk, then providing evidence that ‘people like us are doing things like this’, should be your primary tactic.
So how do we use this?
First we need to be clear on who we want to come. And why. Who is important to us, and how many do we need. Do we have a ‘minimum viable market’, that shares the same interests, the same purpose as us, as an event organisation?
Then, to attract people, we must showcase the type of people you know your audience will want to be with. Whether you’re trying to influence fans to attend, people to participate or raise funds, we must tell stories about people like them.
We can do this in many ways, but fundamentally we need to make sure your content, and the experience itself, embraces and showcases people like them.
Make sure that the people you place on your website, your social channels, are symbols of the people you want to target. They should represent what you are as an organisation, and, represent the type of people that your attendees want to be.
Some of us want to be football fans, some don’t. Some people want to identify with a team, their team, because it is people like them.
Or when we see 10,000 people running through the city, some of us see that as people like me, and realise we can actually do things like that!
So as event managers and marketers it is critical we segment our audiences into likeminded groups, to make sure we provide personalised comms and experiences, to give each person what they really want to be. We can inspire them not by their demographics, but by their psychographics. By how they see themselves, and with who they ideally see themselves with.
Sometimes as consumers we pick the events to attend to reinforce our self profile. As ticket buyers, we can ‘self segment’ ourselves, to place ourselves in a peer group that we see as being people like us. Or at least, how we want to be seen!
More tactically, we should encourage people to share that they are going, online and physically, so tell people the types of people who are coming. Social posts, facebook events, published guest lists, or similar things that you can easily set up will show people who is coming, to be a public display of ‘people like you’ are coming. ‘Influencers’ and ambassadors are also a common tactic, but work best when people see these people as people like me (or the type of person they want to be!).
The influence of people is powerful, and an immense topic. This influence can be applied when you’re looking for more fans, more participants, and more partners. Or even when managing ourselves, and our teams behind the scenes. ‘People like us, do things like this’ influences what we do in every part of our lives.
I’m currently sharing ideas on how you can influence people, via the influence of others. So to chat more about how you can influence, for more fans, participants and partners, just let me know…
If you find these thoughts useful, I’d be grateful if you can share this with ‘people like us’!