Under the Influencers: Top 8 Takeaways from VMG Symposium

VMG Influencer by ImageThink

Social influencers have proven to be valuable resources for companies around the world, but is there a strategy to finding the right digital marketing partner? Are you a small business and experiencing sticker shock when you approach social influencer marketing? Do they even like being called influencers?

ImageThink was a proud creative partner with VMG at their recent Symposium in San Francisco, which gathered thought leaders and top influencers from various industries to talk about marketing. We were there to create visual stories of the content discussed, it was one of the most inspiring events we’ve ever attended. Here are our top 8 takeaways…

Tell your story with ImageThink graphic recording

1) Advertising has Evolved into Storytizing

Bob Pearson (W2O Group, author) kicked off the day with an engaging overview of how marketers must become experts in “audience architecture” in order to see alignment with our customers. We found his perspective interesting because it has a strong human element, captivating the attendees right away.

Immersive storytelling through graphic recording

2) Immerse Your Audience with Moment Marketing

When it comes to defining your strategy with marketing influencers, legacy builder Martin Morse opened with Walt Disney’s vision about creating experiences. He gave a nice timeline of how far we’ve come in the realm of sponsored endorsements (including a hilarious cookie-cutter tweet from Justin Bieber). He talked about having a tribe of influence and how it’s all about the moment you tell your story.

Micro influencers graphic recording by ImageThink

3) Think Outside the Box by Utilizing Micro-Influencers

Denise Lambertson (LMS) continued the discussion about defining your strategy and focused on the power of micro-influencers. If you are a startup or small business, this is beneficial because it’s based on mutual growth between you and the social influencers and you can focus your message to the right people.

Amplify your message

4) Careful Vetting of Social Influencer Marketing Will Activate Your Campaign

Stefania Pomponi (Clever) took us through her process of building an influencer campaign by picking the right match for your brand and audience. What we found most interesting was that after vetting, you do not need to control everything they post. They will create the magic for you!

Thought leaders with passion

5) Go to the Professionals and They Will Match a Influencer to You

Beca Alexander (Socialyte) presented something that we found very unique and interesting at her company. They have a collective of social influencers that provide unique authentic content to specific industries and themes. Their InstaBomb is also an extraordinary way to make a huge impact in a very short amount of time.

digital earned media, graphic recording by ImageThink

6) Digital Earned Media is Key

Conor Begley (Tribe Dynamics) discussed third party/user generated content: why it matters and how you should track it. His perspective is that organic beats out paid marketing every time. Start with a great product (a must in this day and age!), let your audience tell your story, and track their engagement to see results. His talk was referenced by other speakers throughout the event – very interesting!

Influencers graphic recording

7) What Influencers Really Want

This panel moderated by the great Alexia Tsotsis, featured Leandra Medine (ManRepeller), Matt Segal (Pro Climber), and Sarah Dussault (SarahFit). It was so entertaining and informative because every question you’ve ever wanted to ask an influencer was brought up.

The following is a bunch of takeaways rolled into one… The term “influencer” can be a little loathsome, Leandra suggested calling them a “person with a large following.” Sarah talked about the differences between a celebrity and a social influencer: “we aren’t celebrities or actors, though our journey might be similar. We are also more approachable.” Matt talked about how brands need to trust them, “we know our own followers, don’t be too controlling or make assumptions.” They all emphasized the importance of collaboration. There was a lot of laughter throughout this talk, we loved it.

Creative investment in influencers, graphic recording by ImageThink

8) Be Invested in Your Influencers

Mehdi Mehdi (NYX) talked about his company’s journey and their dedication to the people they work with. He discussed the mutual value that comes out of their collaborations, and how a small business can grow using simple methods. We really appreciated his passion for the creativity of his audience.

Would you like to see more? Here’s a gallery link to all the images.

imagethink graphic recording

Ready to change your thinking?

Inquire for Pricing